Remote learning in the time of COVID-19

Today students are faced with many new challenges. But staying at home because of COVID-19, could be one the greatest. For students, teachers, and parents, remote learning has become the new normal.

Schooling at home

Firstly, it’s vital to devote an at-home workspace for schoolwork. Secondly, a fixed schedule – such as the normal school day. Children must get dressed! And should arrive at their desk at an appropriate time. Once “at school” students at home can read, work on maths problems and do essays online. They can answer online quizzes, watch videos, and take part in discussions.

However, it’s important that parents are available (at least part of the day) to guide their children, assist them with their work, and, if necessary (and if they can!) help them understand new concepts. Who knows – maybe the parents will learn something too!

While teachers are available from home to take work questions, or answer an email about online lessons, and so on. It is still important to encourage children that independent, remote learning is a valuable skill. Many schools initially thought that this would last around two weeks. However, we now know that it will probably last a lot longer.

Don’t forget that schools are still making adjustments on a regular basis and adding in ideas that they come up with for families and students.

The place of technology in remote learning

Students can use technology such as learning apps and quizzes to assist them with their schoolwork. Teachers can use learning materials such as Google classroom for those in the lower grades and Canvas for those that are in high school.

It’s important to retain contact – log-in, email questions to teachers and complete their assignments. Some students may even find they enjoy doing their schoolwork at home, even if they can’t interact in person with their friends. This too will be a learning experience for them.

A learning experience for everyone

It’s important that students work at a pace they can cope with. An advantage of remote learning is that everyone is able to work on the material at their own pace. Remember that teachers and administrators are also learning about remote learning, because they’ve never experienced something like this before either! Everyone is going through the same thing, and learning how to cope with the situation as best as possible.

Teachers should remind students that this situation and experience should encourage us all to pause, reflect and become more compassionate. It is helping us to promote a culture where we can all work together. The guidance counsellors and school nurses can also get involved in online classrooms. They can help with the psychological as well as emotional wellness of the students, who might be stressed out because of this ongoing situation.

In the medium term…

It’s not clear how long the virus pandemic will last, so it’s ever more impressive that most students are coping well with this situation. Most reports are seeing that children are diligently carrying on with their schoolwork, even though they can’t be in their regular classroom. In the meantime, we must all learn to be resourceful and to continue learning and educating ourselves.

Remote learning can be a powerful tool to help students learn. It’s helpful in many situations. It also shows that we can all still benefit from education, even if we can’t be physically in a classroom.