Covid-19 has significantly changed the landscape of teaching and learning in Saskatchewan. Rather than going to school everyday, students are firing up their devices to learn and master important learning outcomes via the internet. While some students are thriving others are struggling with this new form of supplementary learning. Some concerns have been raised with regards to ensuring everyone has access to the technology needed to participate in remote learning, how to use all the different online learning platforms and how learning gaps will be addressed.
In his blog Carl Hooker explores different ways Edtech leaders are ensuring that all students have access to the devices needed to learn online. At the school I teach at, we were able to provide a device for any student that did not have access to one, but I do not believe this has been the case for all schools and students in Saskatchewan. Not only has accessing a device been a concern as we move to learning remotely, I have also found there to be a learning curve for teachers, students and parents alike to learn how to access and use educational apps and platforms.
In her blog Laura McClure suggests 25 different apps teachers can use and while there are a lot of great apps out there to help teach online, I feel it is important to keep in mind the amount of different apps and platforms educators are having their students use. Jenna Mitchell a Saskatoon mom points out in the CTV news article that she has been struggling to keep up with all the different online learning platforms her three children are using. As a lower end elementary teacher, one of the greatest challenges I have faced is helping parents learn how to access and use online apps/websites so that they can assist their children with their learning. As a teacher I have grown accustomed to being there in person to help students when they are having trouble with an app or online learning platform. However, I am finding now that I have to rely more on my students’ parents to trouble shoot problems. At times, parents are unable to help with their child’s online learning due to other circumstances such as both parents are working from home. Some parents have opted to not have their child participate in online learning for various reasons and in turn has some educators questioning the impact this crisis will have on learning gaps.
The article posted on Psychology Today, points to the possible impact the Covid-19 crisis could have on learning gaps. The article describes the phenomenon of “summer learning loss” and compares it to the type of learning loss some students may experience as a result of this break in learning due to the pandemic. I agree with the article in that some students may experience a greater than normal loss in learning due to choosing not to participate in the supplementary learning being offered at this time.
Although, access to technology, the vast number of online learning platforms available and learning gaps are all areas of concern as we move through teaching and learning during this pandemic I have personally, found that I miss the social and emotional connections that are established in the classroom and in the school building. I have found that this was an area I was spending a great deal of time on working with my students. I agree with Tim Walker and his article on the importance of social and emotional learning during this crisis. I think it is vital to stay as connected as we can with our students during this time where many students are feeling disconnected.
It has been made official that schools in Saskatchewan will remain closed for the rest of the year, what concerns you most about continuing with remote learning for the rest of the school year? Are there positive experiences or “ah ha” moments you have had while transitioning to this new normal of learning and teaching online?