For years, education professionals have discussed the future of eLearning. Then, almost overnight, it was here.
With the COVID-19 pandemic spreading, modifications were required, and most school systems in the United States went to a fully virtual setup.
Some districts were set up well for success, while others are still struggling to catch up, even as students begin to return and we understand more about how to deter the spread of the virus in school facilities.
The most successful districts have been the ones that already had a plan for blended learning, especially those that have brought parents and guardians into the process as they’ve taken on an increased role in the learning process, said Angelica Casillas-Wortham, PD Specialist for Istation.
“It has definitely changed the lens on things. Families are now really instrumental in the learning process. They’re having to learn their role, as well,” she said. “I think they try to over-assist on occasions, and, definitely, we see the under-assist, but it’s in the over-assist when we are in the assessment process that has been, I think, a big, challenging factor for our teachers right now.”
Eventually, teachers will see when a student isn’t truly understanding the concepts and had a boost from a parent or older sibling, and those concepts eventually will have to be relearned.
Jennifer Greene Gast, Academic RTI Coordinator for Bastrop ISD, has seen parents struggle with the learning curve but is thankful to be able to rely on resources like those provided by Istation.
“One of the things that parents have learned is that teaching is difficult. One of the resources (Istation has) that I loved and used a lot is you had videos for parents on specifically how to set up a learning environment at home,” she said.
Greene Gast said she helped out with a student who rarely turned on his Zoom camera and, when she convinced him to turn it on in a breakout session, saw that he was outside – for whatever reason, that was the situation where he felt he could learn, focus and access the Internet connection.
An environment is just one of the challenges to overcome, but there are plenty of ways to make blended learning work and perhaps even become the standard going forward since, at times, it can provide the best of both worlds.