Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 23rd Jul 2021

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Scaling use of tech in learning at all levels can no longer wait

Before the pandemic, Uganda grappled with low-quality education characterized by low levels of staffing, poor infrastructure, high rate of teacher–pupil absenteeism thus leading to low literacy, numeracy, and high levels of school dropout. The school closures have therefore added to the burden of the already frail systems by disrupting learning and widening structural inequalities. While children from affluent families and a few in urban areas have leveraged technology in learning as they have access to the internet and can afford to pay for virtual tutors, for others, the situation is bleak.
22nd Jul 2021 - Observer.ug

Department of Education reveals distance-learning options amid pandemic

In Hawaii, the state Department of Education on Wednesday unveiled a list of about 100 schools offering a distance-learning option for parents uneasy about sending their child to school during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the department said it will team up with some complex areas where demand is low to provide a distance-learning option, but spots for students will be limited.
22nd Jul 2021 - Yahoo News

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 22nd Jul 2021

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Online and in-person students in university classrooms cause concerns for teachers, teaching assistants and students

Unions representing faculty, teaching assistants and students at the University of Ottawa are concerned about the effectiveness of teaching students attending classes in-person and online. The Inter-Union Coalition of the University of Ottawa says it believes teachers will not be able to properly engage with students, especially in large classes. Robert Johnson, president of the Association of Part-Time Professors of the University of Ottawa , says the university is offering 30 to 50 per cent of all courses bi-modally this fall and he’s concerned.
21st Jul 2021 - MSN.com

Some Parents Pushing For NYC Schools To Offer Fully Virtual Learning This Fall

In New York, there are calls for school officials to have a COVID backup plan before kids head back to school this fall. There's a push to have a fully virtual option available for New York City school students
21st Jul 2021 - CBS New York

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 21st Jul 2021

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How to stop remote working from harming apprenticeships

Restrictions are easing and society is starting to open up again, but many workers and their employers want to keep working remotely. So what does this mean for apprentices and how can employers continue to deliver purposeful and effective training?
20th Jul 2021 - TES News

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 20th Jul 2021

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Tennessee approves 29 new virtual schools

The Tennessee Department of Education has approved 29 new virtual schools for upcoming 2021-22 school year. According to a release, this addition brings the total number of virtual schools in Tennessee to 57. “While research shows that students benefit most from in-person classroom instruction, districts are ensuring families who prefer a virtual education setting for their students have those options and can continue to make the best choices for their children,” said Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn in a statement.
19th Jul 2021 - Associated Press

Boosted by the federal stimulus, these virtual learning companies are fighting to keep their new place in US education

If parents weren't familiar with Canvas or Schoology before the pandemic, they likely are now. The two biggest remote learning providers -- or, more officially, "learning management systems" -- became household names as schools scrambled to help students learn online at home, but they're now fighting to keep their foothold as most districts plan to fully reopen for in-person learning in the fall. School districts nationwide licensed the platforms so that their students could log in to virtual classes, communicate with their teachers and submit schoolwork from home. Usage surged immediately.
19th Jul 2021 - CNN

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 19th Jul 2021

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UAE universities embrace hybrid learning as students thrive during pandemic

Online learning looks set to be a crucial tool for universities long after the Covid-19 pandemic has been overcome as students continue to thrive in a new digital age of education. In May, tens of thousands of university students in the UAE took on-site exams with strict Covid-19 regulations in place. But lessons have been learnt regarding the benefits of digital teaching to university life. According to a growing body of research carried out in the Emirates, the outcomes for students may be better as a result. Heriot-Watt University Dubai, for example, “will continue to offer blended learning,” according to Prof Ammar Kaka, the provost and vice principal. He said the campus had always planned to bring in more digital teaching and insisted there were benefits for the students
18th Jul 2021 - The National

Some parents are seeking out permanent virtual school for the fall

After more than a year of pandemic living, the frustrations and downsides of online learning are well-known to countless households. A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found 25% of parents whose children received virtual instruction or combined instruction reported worsened mental or emotional health in their children, compared to 16% of parents whose children received in-person instruction. They were also more likely to say their children were less physically active, spent less time outside and spent less time with friends. In addition, virtual instruction contributed to emotional distress for parents. But as many school districts forgo virtual learning options and bring students back to classrooms this fall, in line with recent CDC guidance to make it a priority, some parents are seeking out remote-only options from new and existing schools.
18th Jul 2021 - CNN

Funny memes and other ways to encourage students to keep their cameras on

“I can better pace if I can see your face!” “Many students report that having cameras on makes class more enjoyable!” These are two of the reasons we gave to students in our introductory biology laboratory course this past semester to encourage them to turn on their cameras during synchronous remote classes introduced as a result of the pandemic. I often used the above phrases of encouragement in a slide shown at the start of Zoom classes along with an explicit request: “Please turn on your cameras for the entire class, if you are comfortable doing so.” To capture student attention for this repetitive message in lab after lab, I also included a humorous meme of the week relating to student camera use, often created by past students of the course. These slides helped to accomplish at least four things: make an explicit request for students to use their cameras; provide reasons for the request to gain student buy-in; establish the social norm from the get go; and maintain that norm throughout the semester.
18th Jul 2021 - Times Higher Education (THE)

Digital learning is real-world learning. That’s why blended on-campus and online study is best

Social distancing and lockdowns have disrupted university study for the past 18 months. Students are understandably stressed as shown by a dramatic drop in student satisfaction across Australia reported in the annual Student Experience Survey. Federal Education Minister Alan Tudge has drawn attention to this in calling for a “return” to on-campus study. But the world is increasingly digital. Old notions of lecture halls will not help graduates to thrive in their careers. We need university study that supports students to succeed by preparing them for a digital future. Many studies have reported that work will become more blended, with less time spent in the office as working from home increases. The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically accelerated this trend.
18th Jul 2021 - Australian Times

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 16th Jul 2021

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ILEARN data reveals deep learning loss during pandemic, recovery could take years: 'The pandemic really took a toll on us'

In Chicago, spring state assessment data released Wednesday showed a stunning decline in performance, underscored by unprecedented low pass rates in Lake County’s urban districts and charter schools. Secretary of Education Katie Jenner told the State Board of Education the data confirmed what everyone already knew — months of remote learning or returning to schools in COVID-19 pandemic conditions accounted for a staggering academic setback. “This data cannot be an indictment on anyone, on anything, on any school,” Jenner told the State Board of Education Wednesday. “The reality is, all of us had a global pandemic.”
15th Jul 2021 - Chicago Tribune

COVID, distance learning caused major educational harm

The pandemic and the related need for children to do a significant amount of their timetable via distance learning has had a major impact on Italian pupils' education, a report said on Thursday. The report said the damage was especially severe in Italy's high schools, with close to half of the nation's youngsters leaving school this year without the necessary skills. The 2021 report on the 'Invalsi' tests, which are not used to grade pupils but to to evaluate how schools and the system itself is performing, said 44% of high-school leavers did not have an adequate level in Italian and 51% were not up to scratch in mathematics
15th Jul 2021 - Agenzia ANSA

Student watchdog concerned about mental health help

The head of the Office for Students (OfS) is concerned that more than half of UK university and college students feel their mental wellbeing has not been supported enough this year. OfS head Nicola Dandridge said more must be done to look after students. This year's annual National Student Survey, run by the OfS, found only 42% felt enough was done to help them. But England's Universities Minister Michelle Donelan said universities had access to up to £256m to help.
15th Jul 2021 - BBC News

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 15th Jul 2021

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U.N. urges schools to quantify learning losses, implement remedial programs

Only one-third of countries -- mostly high-income ones -- are taking necessary steps to measure learning losses in schools, the United Nations reported Tuesday. During UNESCO's Global Education Meeting, Director-General Audrey Azoulay and UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore issued a statement explaining that 19 countries still have their classrooms closed. The closure affects more than 156 million students, which could result in children missing out on education that can't be recovered. School closures also affected parents and caregivers, they said. The U.N. urged countries to implement remedial programs and get children back into classrooms as soon as possible.
14th Jul 2021 - UPI News

How idea sharing increases online-learner engagement

Sharing ideas in an online learning environment has a distinct advantage over sharing personal details in driving learner engagement in massive open online courses, more commonly known as MOOCs, says new research co-written by a University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign expert who studies the intersection of marketing and digital environments. Online learning engagement can be increased by nearly one-third by simply prompting students to share course ideas in a discussion forum rather than having them share information about their identity or personal motivations for enrolling, said Unnati Narang, a professor of business administration at the Gies College of Business.
14th Jul 2021 - Phys.org

The Times view on the attainment gap caused by the Covid-19 pandemic: Catch Up

Boris Johnson promised at the start of the pandemic that everything possible would be done to help children who missed schooling catch up later. It sounds a hollow promise today. Fewer than one in five schools in England is planning to run summer catch-up sessions. The money set aside for recovery, £1.4 billion, is way below the sum proposed by policy experts and prompted the resignation of Sir Kevan Collins as head of the government programme. The pandemic has also had a disproportionate impact on poorer and disadvantaged children. Not only are many more pupils now missing school in the north and north-east than in the richer south because of high infection rates, but they will need much more help if they are ever to narrow the growing attainment gap.
14th Jul 2021 - The Times

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 14th Jul 2021

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NSW parents and teachers brace themselves for online learning

Term three begins today in New South Wales, and schools in greater Sydney are scrambling to deliver their classes online, as the COVID outbreak forces most kids to learn from home. But while Premier Gladys Berejiklian says she hopes online learning will only be a one-week event, many fear students will be in a virtual classroom for far longer.
13th Jul 2021 - ABC.Net.au

How one-to-one online learning will disrupt the education industry

Last April, a World Economic Forum report suggested 1.2 billion children, globally, had to attend virtual classrooms due to the pandemic. Whilst the UK saw its students move to an online learning system, reports of the loss of learning, particularly by children studying in the public school system, raised concerns. In another report, the NFER stated how students from poorer backgrounds struggled more than their economically well-off counterparts. The report noted the average learning loss for poorer students was 46% greater than a year earlier.
13th Jul 2021 - FE News

Researchers are looking for parents of autistic children for Covid-19 school study

University College London (UCL) is looking for 1,500 parents of autistic children and children with learning difficulties for a big Government-funded study into the effect of Covid-19 on their education. The researchers will investigate the educational experiences of children aged five to 15 across the UK with neurodevelopmental conditions (NDCs) in the past year. Study leader Dr Vaso Totsika, said: “While everyone is debating longer days and extra tuition, let’s take a moment to talk about the elephant in the room.” Dr Totsika, associate professor in intellectual developmental disability at UCL, was referring to the disproportionately high detrimental effects of Covid-19 on the 1.3 million children with NCDs, which she says is not being properly addressed
13th Jul 2021 - iNews.co.uk

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 13th Jul 2021

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Pupils have been going in to space and seeing a human heart thanks to virtual reality

A junior school has helped its students travel in to space and even see a beating human heart thanks to the wonders of virtual reality (VR). With school trips out of the equation thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, Race Leys Junior School in Bedworth has been creative in its solution to keeping children engaged. Race Leys introduced VR headsets at the beginning of the school year and since then over 20 hours of VR lessons have taken place. Children can explore 360-degree photos, videos and even live experiences with pupils currently learning about the human heart.
12th Jul 2021 - Coventry Live

One lesson from virtual learning - kids need their physical textbooks

Everything students use to learn, digital and hard copy, fall under the broad category of instructional materials. And the people in charge of those budgets in Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River counties tell CBS12 News, students are not ready to succeed without physical textbooks. "Sometimes it’s difficult to align what’s on screen and what’s on paper," says Dr. Helen Wild, the Chief Academic Officer of St. Lucie Public Schools. "Our students are really in a place right now where they need to learn both." School districts across the state have spent millions on materials for the new English Language Arts curriculum that starts next month. And a lot of that money went to textbooks students can write in and keep.
12th Jul 2021 - CBS12

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 12th Jul 2021

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We need a revolution in university teaching – and online-only lectures could start it

Simon Jenkins writes: "Lectures are rubbish education. They should have gone out when printing was invented and students learned to read. The vanity of monks and preachers kept them going and set them up for university education ever since. Lectures have nothing to do with teaching, which is an interactive process. They are academic showbusiness. Yet 3,000 Manchester University students have signed a petition to save their lectures after the pandemic and stop them going online under what is called “blended learning”. They seemingly prefer to have to attend a draughty lecture hall at a fixed time and snooze through a ritual hour of note-taking, as if attending high mass. They are sceptical of the university’s statement that a new “online default model of teaching” will not diminish their “contact time”, even if it offers the comfort and convenience of tuning in to lectures wherever and whenever they choose."
11th Jul 2021 - The Guardian

6 Ways to Effectively Use Virtual Reality in Education

Virtual reality technically refers to a computer-generated simulation, wherein an artificial surrounding comes into existence. This realistic environment is accessible to the user in all directions and provides an immersive experience. Naturally, educationists observed great potential in this technology and have, by now, made several attempts to successfully incorporate it into the classrooms and learning modules. Here, in this compilation, we will look into some of the most effective implementations of Virtual Reality in Education.
11th Jul 2021 - FE News

Judge dismisses Yale student's virtual learning lawsuit

A federal judge has dismissed a Yale University student’s attempt to sue the university for partial compensation for virtual online learning during the height of the pandemic last year. The Yale undergraduate student Jonathan Michel filed a class-action lawsuit against the university for the full tuition payment he and other students made to the school in the spring 2020 semester before the pandemic forced universities across the country to switch to remote virtual learning, the Hartford Courant reported. The judge dismissed the suit because the school is protected from giving tuition reimbursements due to regulations that give it approval to close programs and not issue refunds during a “public health or security concerns.”
11th Jul 2021 - Associated Press

U.S. CDC updates school guidance to emphasize in-person learning

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday updated its guidance for U.S. schools reopening in the fall, recommending masking indoors for everyone who is not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and three feet of distance within classrooms. The agency said school administrators can require indoor mask use even for students and educators who are vaccinated, depending on the needs of the community. Reasons would include schools with children under age 12, who are not currently authorized to receive COVID-19 vaccines, or high rates of COVID-19 transmission in the region.
10th Jul 2021 - Reuters

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 9th Jul 2021

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Universities to defy government advice and keep online learning

Lectures will be online at most selective universities next year despite the education secretary’s declaration that they can return to in-person teaching, a survey for The Times has found. Nearly all Russell Group institutions said that they would adopt “blended learning” in the academic year starting this autumn, with a mixture of face-to-face and virtual teaching. Undergraduates will pay £9,250 a year in fees. Most universities said that they hoped to provide in-person contact for small groups, tutorials, seminars and lab work but either omitted to mention lectures or said that these would take place online.
8th Jul 2021 - The Times

New research center to explore future of online learning

The U.S. Department of Education is investing $10 million in a research center to explore what strategies teachers can use or digital tools to offer to help college students better manage online learning.
8th Jul 2021 - EdScoop

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 8th Jul 2021

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Student nurses complete work placements on virtual wards

A Midlands HE institution has been helping remotely train nurses unable to complete work placements because of the pandemic. Coventry University’s simulation team accelerated the provision of virtual simulated placements (VSPs) for students at its School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health, allowing recreations of hospital wards and patients’ homes, as well as scenarios they might expect to face. In some ways, say the people behind the initiative, the virtual alternative is a more useful learning aid than the real thing. “VSPs allow us to provide complex decision-making training that we cannot guarantee our students would get on an actual placement,” said Dr Natasha Taylor, curriculum lead and associate professor for simulation.
7th Jul 2021 - Education Technology

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 7th Jul 2021

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Getting Disconnected Students Access to Their Online Classrooms

Scott Muri is superintendent of the Ector County Independent School District in Texas. He writes about the ways in which his school district tackled moving to remote learning: "We had always known that technology could enhance the learning experiences that teachers provide. That is why, before the pandemic, our team developed a years-long master plan to put devices into the hands of every student, from pre-K through 12th grade, and to facilitate broadband access to all of our families. But in March 2020, we did not have years to solve this problem. At best, we had months. So, driven by this deep “why” to do better for our students, we accelerated that work. We purchased 37,000 new devices within six months. We immediately and diligently searched for quality short- and long-term broadband solutions for our students."
6th Jul 2021 - EdTech Magazine

Teachers warn that school rules already limit phone use, a ban may hinder virtual learning

Iain Rankin, head of drama at a north-west London secondary school, is unimpressed by the Government proposal to ban smartphones in schools. He says there is already a no-phone rule in most schools, so this is a pointless initiative. Mr Rankin says there are also times when smartphones can be useful in lessons. “Schools have been thrust into digitising learning because of lockdowns, and I’ve realised how to integrate that sort of thing into my lessons in the physical classroom and for homework, too. I suspect I am not the only one.”
6th Jul 2021 - iNews

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 6th Jul 2021

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Virtual School & Equity: Why Online Classes Challenge Kids With Autism

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one in 54 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder by age 8. People on the spectrum persistently have difficulty communicating and interacting with others and are prone to restrictive or repetitive behavior. Online learning, with impersonal factors such as having to watch a small screen and not having a teacher present, amplified the problem during the pandemic. The Autism Research Institute, in San Diego, recommended several actions to take with students on the spectrum who had to switch to online learning. They included explaining the situation to the child doing the learning, creating reasonable expectations, setting a schedule, involving the entire family and setting up support that relates to online learning.
5th Jul 2021 - Yahoo News

New report aims to improve VR use in healthcare education

A new report that could help improve how immersive technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are used in healthcare education and training has been published with significant input from the University of Huddersfield. The report argues for greater standardisation of how to use immersive technologies in healthcare training and education. As Professor Peebles explains, "It's about developing a set of principles and guidelines for the use of immersive technology in medical treatment. Immersive technology is becoming increasingly popular and, as the technology is advancing, it's becoming clear that there is great potential to make training more accessible and effective."
5th Jul 2021 - Phys.org

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 5th Jul 2021

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Back to virtual school: How to develop a growth mindset for your child

The second wave of COVID-19 has hurled us into yet another year of virtual schooling. However, this time we are all geared up and well-equipped with a plan and strategies, incorporating blended learning techniques into our teaching practices. We would like to share some of our learnings that will equip parents with adequate measures for the academic year 2021-2022. This checklist will ensure children are positively motivated as they start school and will also build a growth mindset in your children.
4th Jul 2021 - The Indian Express

Parents Plan To Use Learning Apps To Continue Kids' Education This Summer

A new survey has revealed that parents are still planning on using learning apps to continue their child’s education throughout the summer. Summer is meant to be a time for fun and excitement. A chance for families to get out there and spend some time together and have fun. While school may be out for the year, a lot of parents still want their child to learn and grow and a great method to encourage this is by using electronics and technology to your advantage. Since children have now had some experience navigating online learning, they are more familiar with this method of learning.
4th Jul 2021 - Moms.com

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 2nd Jul 2021

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How to Support Student Mental Health in a Remote Learning Environment

Student mental health has evolved as a critical issue in the remote learning process. In a traditional classroom environment, teachers have the ability to observe students directly and interact face to face. This visual contact allows teachers to perceive the early warning signs of their students’ mental health issues. In the online setting, direct sensory contact is significantly reduced. Thus, the dangers to student mental health, as well as the remedies, must be well assessed and consistently worked on. Online teachers need to develop strategies to identify crucial individual or group psychological issues in their classes. Furthermore, a set of institutional policies addressing mental health and student performance should be applied to guarantee a consistent and steady remote learning environment.
1st Jul 2021 - iLounge

‘I don’t think you are ready’: Boys of color fell furthest behind at school amid COVID

In Chicago and across the country, there is growing evidence that this year has hit Black and Latino boys – young men such as Derrick, Nathaniel and Leonel – harder than other students. Amid rising gun violence, a national reckoning over race, bitter school reopening battles and a deadly virus that took the heaviest toll on Black and Latino communities, the year has tested not only these teens but also the school systems that have historically failed many of them. It has severed precarious ties to school, derailed college plans and pried gaping academic disparities even wider. But in this moment of upheaval, educators and advocates also see a chance to rethink how schools serve boys of color. With billions in federal stimulus funds on the way, the crisis is fueling a patchwork of efforts to bring diversity to the teaching cadre, support college-bound teens and more, though a bolder, wholesale overhaul is yet to emerge.
1st Jul 2021 - USA Today

Damage to children’s education — and their health — could last a lifetime

After more than a year of isolation, widespread financial insecurity and the loss of an unprecedented amount of classroom time, experts say many of the youngest Americans have fallen behind socially, academically and emotionally in ways that could harm their physical and mental health for years or even decades. "This could affect a whole generation for the rest of their lives," said Dr. Jack Shonkoff, a pediatrician and director of the Center for the Developing Child at Harvard University. "All kids will be affected. Some will get through this and be fine. They will learn from it and grow. But lots of kids are going to be in big trouble."
1st Jul 2021 - News-Medical.Net

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 1st Jul 2021

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WEA: 69% of students reported that their online course experience was the same when compared to face to face learning

In a new survey by @WEAadulted, the UK’s leading adult education charity, 69% of students reported that their online course experience was the same when compared to face to face learning. Over one in four (28%) felt their virtual course was better compared to face to face learning. These figures supporting virtual learning are impressive considering 61% of these students reported on having none or little experience using virtual learning prior to the pandemic. According to the survey, the top benefit of virtual learning cited by over two-thirds of the students (67%) is the lack of travel, while 64% highlighted the accessibility of courses irrespective of the location and tutor, making it easier to learn than ever before
30th Jun 2021 - FE News

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 30th Jun 2021

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Learning setbacks coming into focus with new testing results

The scores from the first U.S. standardized tests taken during the pandemic are offering an early glimpse of just how far students have fallen behind, with some states reporting that the turbulent year has reversed years of academic progress. Texas education officials offered a grim report Monday as the state became one of the first to release full results from its spring exams. The percentage of students reading at their grade level slid to the lowest levels since 2017, while math scores plummeted to their lowest point since 2013. In total, about 800,000 additional students are now behind their grade level in math, the state said.
29th Jun 2021 - The Associated Press

COVID-19: Virtual camp set up for disadvantaged children

Unable to hold an in-person summer camp this year, a doctoral student has designed a virtual camp where disadvantaged students can not just learn about, but also practice biology, music, programming and more, free of charge. Born in Taichung’s remote Sinshe District, Chou Chiao-chi knows what it is like to lack certain resources and the time to use them.To help students experiencing similar conditions, she spends most summers holding summer camps for disadvantaged children. Many might view the shift to online classes this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak as a blow, but Chou saw an opportunity. “This is a chance to expand the multicultural knowledge of young people in remote areas,” she said.
29th Jun 2021 - The Taipei Times

Brooklyn Teacher Who Made His Own Remote Learning Site Wins $25K

A Brooklyn teacher who built an entire website to help his special education students learn remotely during the coronavirus crisis has won $25,000 for his "teaching excellence," organizers announced this week. Andrew Chiapetta, who teaches second grade at Carroll Gardens' Brooklyn New School, was one of five teachers chosen this year for the FLAG Award for Teaching Excellence top prize, which is awarded to one educator who went above and beyond in each of the five boroughs. Chiapetta's prize comes after he used his self-taught coding skills to build a virtual classroom that is now used by the entire grade. His prize includes $25,000 cash and a $10,000 award for his school.
29th Jun 2021 - Patch.com

How can speech recognition technology support children's learning?

The last 12 months have changed the world in a way that we could never have predicted, and no one can attest to this more than schools. While it was expected that e-learning would play an important role in education in the future, it was completely unexpected that it would replace classroom teaching across the world so soon. Because of this, video conferencing has become an essential tool for teaching, whether delivered through language apps,  virtual tutoring,  video conferencing  tools, or  online learning software.
29th Jun 2021 - Education Technology

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 29th Jun 2021

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New Mexico home schoolers drive drop in enrollment, funding

Home schooling nearly doubled in New Mexico last year as thousands of parents opted out of virtual learning programs offered in public schools. The unprecedented defection from the public school system is putting a strain on school budgets, which are rooted in student enrollment. Parents with the time and patience to school at home said they love the flexibility of home school and have learned how to give their children a more tailored education. The number of children registered with the state as home schoolers nearly doubled from around 8,800 before the pandemic to around 15,400 this past school year, according to Public Education Department data.
28th Jun 2021 - Associated Press

'Giving all kids a go' - Bridging gap between city and country in virtual learning

In Australia, a new Victorian Government online program is helping bridge the education gap between regional and metro students. The program will boost the ability of VCE teachers to deliver best practice virtual learning and teaching Post-COVID schools and students are more reliant on virtual learning so this program will assist teachers advance online education and learning
28th Jun 2021 - Mirage News

Virtual reality can help boost brain rhythms linked to learning and memory

A new discovery in rats shows that the brain responds differently in immersive virtual reality environments versus the real world. The finding could help scientists understand how the brain brings together sensory information from different sources to create a cohesive picture of the world around us. It could also pave the way for "virtual reality therapy" for learning and memory-related disorders ranging including ADHD, Autism, Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy and depression.
28th Jun 2021 - News-Medical.Net

Ambitious tech project brings whole class virtual learning to Shropshire school

An ambitious project to enable whole class virtual learning at a small Shropshire school has become reality following the generous donation of 36 new iPads. Teachers and parents at Tibberton CE Primary School, near Newport, set about raising funds for the new devices earlier this term and thanks to the support of local businesses and others in the community they have reached their goal ahead of schedule. It means, from September, each child in class will have access to their own iPad and associated digital resources to support whole-class learning during lessons.
28th Jun 2021 - Shropshire Live

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 28th Jun 2021

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The Rise of Virtual-Only K–12 Schools

When officials at Fort Smith Public Schools in Arkansas began preparing an online-only option for fall 2020, they expected to have about 500 sign-ups from the district’s 14,000 students. Instead, online enrollment hit 3,500. “As we got closer, we were surprised to see our estimate keep growing,” says Gary Udouj, director of career education and district innovation for FSPS. “We were very quickly training staff and getting our resources together to make sure all of our students had the technology they needed.” The district paid teachers a $500 stipend to complete a virtual training program standardized on a single learning management system, and it implemented a third-party online curriculum. “We were definitely building the airplane as we were taking off,” Udouj says.
25th Jun 2021 - EdTech Magazine: Focus on K-12

4-H Clubs uses pandemic to repurpose training programmes

Jamaica's 4-H Clubs, which have been significantly impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic, say they have used the opportunity to repurpose their training programmes to accomodate online use, adding, a number of its usual face-to-face events are also now utilising a virtual platform component.
25th Jun 2021 - Jamaica Observer

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 25th Jun 2021

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How edtech is facilitating jobs and learning

Edtech’s growth trajectory has been simply unparalleled throughout the pandemic. While e-commerce took several years to gain traction, edtech rose to prominence almost overnight. The last 12 months could well be described as a tipping point for edtech, as the ecosystem has expanded leaps and bounds. The sector has attracted investments worth more than US$2.2 billion and continues to dominate headlines. Compared to 2019, the edtech user base in 2020 had doubled from 45m to 90m across k12 and post-k12 sectors. Average time spent using such services or devices is up 50%, from 60 to 90 minutes.
24th Jun 2021 - Education Technology

This honors student considered giving up when he had to learn on his phone. He is far from alone, experts fear

Schools in Camden, one of the poorer areas of New Jersey, were closed for more than a year while in other parts of the country classes got back sooner. And that could impact students. "What we anticipate is the longer students have been out, the longer they've been faced with virtual instruction, the more severe the impact is likely to be," said Sandy Addis, Chairman of the National Dropout Prevention Center. "The long-term impact of this pandemic shutdown is going to be much more than one year. Students across all grade levels have experienced learning loss. And it's not just the learning loss for this current year. Many of them have lost ground developmentally, particularly younger kids," he warned.
24th Jun 2021 - CNN

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 24th Jun 2021

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Why higher education must evolve to support the hybrid workplace

The global pandemic has impacted all corners of society, but higher education has faced one of the biggest overhauls in its history. Above all, the pandemic has shone a spotlight on the need for universities to offer a consistent learning environment between the campus and those accessing lessons remotely to ensure future success and resilience. Once achieved, this will enable universities to prepare the next generation of talent for a hybrid world of work, that will no doubt be in place by the time they enter the workforce
23rd Jun 2021 - FE News

The Pandemic Accelerated Online Learning, But It Also Exposed Its Inequalities

We talk to Gen.T honourees Anna Alejo, an education consultant for the World Bank, and Henry Motte-Munoz, the founder of Edukasyon.com, about how the pandemic has impacted education. “Virtual learning has great potential, but it is crucial that this does not result in learners being left behind,” says Alejo. She has noticed widening disparities, saying that “students in disadvantaged contexts are more likely to encounter challenges, and this may lead to a worsening of performance among those who were already behind even before the pandemic had begun.” In less developed nations, there is danger that a move towards more online learning could in fact widen the learning gap
23rd Jun 2021 - Tatler Philippines

Virtual training helps middle schoolers hone social skills

Middle school, a time when children's brains are undergoing significant development, is often also a time of new challenges in navigating the social world. Recent research from the Center for BrainHealth at UT Dallas demonstrates the power of combining a virtual platform with live coaching to help students enhance their social skills and confidence in a low-risk environment. In this study, BrainHealth researchers partnered with low-income public middle schools in Dallas. Teachers recommended 90 students to participate in virtual training sessions via questionnaires, testing their ability to accurately identify students who are struggling socially. Importantly, participation was not limited to students with a clinical diagnosis.
23rd Jun 2021 - Phys.org

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 23rd Jun 2021

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Father Asks School If Son Can Repeat Grade Due to Virtual Learning Inconsistencies

A father in North Carolina is asking his son's school if he can repeat the sixth grade due to virtual learning inconsistencies as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Brad Dills said his son Tommy, 12, did virtual learning for the entire school year at Camden County Intermediate School and "struggled" with it despite setting him up with a spot to work online, according to WAVY. Tommy barely passed and Dills is concerned about his son's preparedness for the seventh grade. "Virtual learning alone is not a reason to retain a student," Camden County Schools Superintendent Dr. Joe Ferrell told Newsweek. "We were in school in-person in some way starting in October and every student had the opportunity for in-person instruction/learning."
22nd Jun 2021 - Newsweek

What edtech can learn from Fortnite

The past year has been transformational for the edtech industry. Initially, traditional educational institutions were forced to take their classes online, but many are now choosing to make virtual learning a permanent offering once we fully emerge from the pandemic. One third of Russell Group universities say they intend to continue with blended learning, while the University of Buckingham’s Education MA, for example, at is now fully online. And it’s not only institutions turning to online learning, individuals are too. Polling commissioned by online social learning provider Learning with Experts showed that over half of Brits have started or intend to start an online course during the pandemic.
22nd Jun 2021 - Education Technology

Virtual pupils make for more confident teachers

Teacher training students who practised teaching virtual pupils developed greater confidence in their teaching ability, according to a study from Linköping University. In the long term, simulation can make the students better prepared for their workforce debut. Teacher training programmes often have difficulty offering their students sufficient teaching practice for their future profession. Many teaching graduates feel unprepared when they start working, and some decide to change career path, despite good employment prospects caused by a teacher shortage. A group of researchers at Linköping University investigated whether teaching virtual pupils could make teacher training students better prepared for teaching in a real classroom
22nd Jun 2021 - EurekAlert

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 22nd Jun 2021

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How higher education institutes can deliver a category defining experience

Before the pandemic, for many HE institutes, engagement and attendance were often synonymous: a student’s participation in a course was measured by whether or not they turned up in person to lectures or classes. When no one can be physically present, we were forced to redefine what engagement truly means. As we move forward, the focus needs to be on finding the right mix of hybrid teaching which enables the best of digital convenience with rich face-to-face experiences. Done well, these innovations can also help in other areas, for example, social mobility where a hybrid style of teaching can be more accessible to students with limits to their travel.
21st Jun 2021 - Education Technology

What will public school look like for US students this fall?

As mask mandates are dropped in many public places in the United States and coronavirus vaccines become available for Americans aged 11 and up, many parents are wondering if their children will finally head back to the classroom this fall. There are still plenty of variables. Despite the fact that clinical trials are under way in younger children aged six months to 11 years, there’s no firm timeline as to when vaccines will be widely available for kids — and some parents have been hesitant to have their young children receive COVID-19 shots at all.
21st Jun 2021 - AlJazeera

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 21st Jun 2021

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‘Blended learning has the potential to meet the challenges in nurse education’

The current challenges in nurse education are to make programmes convenient, accessible and attractive to a wider and more versatile cohort of students. The recent Covid-19 pandemic has enhanced this need even more so and has demonstrated that, on many levels, blended learning does have the potential to meet this challenge. Online can offer a very rich virtual workspace in which interactions can occur among students in real time or through discussion boards. Students have reported appreciating the flexibility and convenience of being able to work in their own time and location, and fitting this around the demands of, for example, childcare.
20th Jun 2021 - Nursing Times

From Virtual Spectator to Participant: Engaging Students in Synchronous Online Learning Activities

Students have different experiences for each course they complete in an online environment. We should not assume that students will know what we expect regarding their performance in our courses. Forbes suggests a simple strategy to promote student success is to clearly identify for the student what it will take to succeed in your course (Forbes 2018). This means we should routinely communicate with students what is expected of them for completing all course related learning activities. Explaining expectations will help prevent students from taking on the role of a spectator when they should be prepared to be a participant.
20th Jun 2021 - Faculty Focus

New online syllabus to save teachers hours of ‘opening multiple web pages’

The NSW government will commit $196 million in next week’s state budget to develop a new school syllabus, and that will include money for an online system that will allow teachers - as well as parents and students - to find what they need in seconds. The aim is a syllabus that serves teachers, rather than the other way around. It will let them call up exactly what they need across multiple subjects, as well as provide resources such as sample assessments, advice on lesson planning, and examples of different standards of student work. “The platform will save teachers countless hours of time opening multiple web pages and documents within web pages to access the information they need to teach our children the curriculum,” said NESA chief executive Paul Martin.
19th Jun 2021 - Sydney Morning Herald

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 18th Jun 2021

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How can universities maintain hybrid education across the UK as network demands become increasingly complex?

At the beginning of the pandemic, UK higher education institutions had to abruptly shift to online learning formats to guarantee some form of educational continuity for their students. This process was not easy, with universities confronted with the challenge of how to provide comprehensive learning within the limits of a purely online learning environment. Given the rapid pace of events during the opening stages of the pandemic, universities could be forgiven for any technological teething issues. However, the UK is now over a year into pandemic restrictions and, with partial online teaching set to continue for many universities into the 2021 autumn term, students will expect their education be delivered as seamlessly as possible. The onus is on universities to support the COVID generation of students as best they can, and so they must manage their complex IT infrastructures as efficiently as possible to avoid hampering class time with brownouts and outages.
17th Jun 2021 - FE News

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 17th Jun 2021

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Most educators want to keep virtual schooling for students with long-term illness, survey shows

The idea of virtual schools for students who have a long-term illness seems to have been a very positive experience among educators, with 93.3% of educators agreeing that it should be kept. This emerged from a survey conducted by the Malta Union of Teachers (MUT). Following the reopening of schools in October 2020, a host of new practices were introduced as mitigation measures due to the pandemic. The MUT has evaluated these practices, which were introduced in Kindergarten, Primary and Secondary schools, with the aim of understanding their impact and to be in a better situation to assess whether there are grounds to keep some of them in the post pandemic period.
15th Jun 2021 - The Malta Independent

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 15th Jun 2021

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Consider This: Why Some Black And Hispanic Parents Want To Keep Remote Learning

As the risk from COVID-19 declines, many public school students and parents in Boston are embracing the return of in-person learning. But for some parents of color, remote learning is a matter of keeping their students psychologically safe. A recent survey by the Boston Public Schools found that more than half of Black families would likely send their child to a virtual school next fall. Forty-seven percent of Hispanic families said the same thing. Just 15 percent of white families showed a high level of interest.
14th Jun 2021 - WBUR

Virtual School Opens a Divide That U.S. Parents Fill With Fury

From the moment that Covid forced schools across the U.S. to close and go virtual, warnings rang out about the toll on children. Now, as most school districts promise a full return in the fall, the country’s two largest are testing out contrary approaches. New York City Public Schools, the biggest district with 1.1 million students, is sending students back to school with no alternative for remote learning, which Mayor Bill de Blasio says is “the way education was meant” as he’s promised “gold standard” classroom safety measures. Los Angeles Unified School District, which serves more than 600,000 students, is offering everyone in-person attendance with continued masking and Covid testing, but it’s also allowing students to log on from home if that’s what works for their family.
14th Jun 2021 - MSN.com

Research from Europe points to online tutoring as a potent weapon against learning loss

During the early days of the pandemic, with students around the world shut out of school buildings and many struggling to succeed in virtual classrooms, academics and philanthropies in several countries embraced a novel solution: online tutoring. In recent months, the first research studies on those initial efforts — one based in the United Kingdom, the other in Italy — have emerged, showing significant evidence of effectiveness.
14th Jun 2021 - LA School Report

Socialising is hugely important, but virtual campuses help learning, too

The social elements of university help students succeed academically, so we must start transplanting them online, says Elizabeth Lehfeldt. "We should also encourage students to create their own backchannels for conversation and chat. We know that students are sometimes hesitant to speak or ask questions in class, so group texts where they can exchange ideas, ask questions or even discuss things wholly unrelated to class, without instructor mediation, may provide an outlet for more spontaneous and forthcoming interactions. These can become useful spaces for community building, and we might create other kinds of open-ended spaces within our courses, too."
14th Jun 2021 - Times Higher Education (THE)

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 14th Jun 2021

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How an exodus of young Nigerians spurred a rethink on schools

In Edo State, in southern Nigeria, the extent of human trafficking and irregular migration that peaked in 2016-17 was our call to action. With thousands of young boys and girls undertaking perilous trips across the Sahara desert in the hope of reaching Europe, we were forced to focus on the root causes propelling them to migrate at any cost. One factor was the difficult economic and social circumstances of parents in some rural communities. The breakdown of the education system — particularly at the basic level — also resulted in a significant learning deficit among young people, which made them unemployable and desperate to find a future elsewhere.
13th Jun 2021 - Financial Times

'It Feels like I'm Talking into a Void': How Do We Improve the Virtual Classroom?

The COVID pandemic precipitated a major shift to virtual learning—an unplanned test of whether these technologies can scale effectively. But did they? Researchers in the UC San Diego Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) wanted to look beyond the anecdotal evidence to better understand where remote education fell short and how we might improve it. In a study presented at the Association for Computing Machinery’s Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), the team examined faculty and student attitudes towards virtual classrooms and proposed several technological refinements that could improve their experience, such as flexible distribution of student video feeds and enhanced chat functions. “We wanted to understand instructor and student perspectives and see how we can marry them,” said CSE Associate Professor Nadir Weibel, senior author on the paper. “How can we improve students’ experience and give better tools to instructors?”
13th Jun 2021 - UC San Diego Health

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 11th Jun 2021

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Virtual Learning Helped Push Caltech Physics Labs into Future

Of all the classes to adapt for remote learning, a physics lab might seem among the most difficult considering that its purpose is to provide students hands-on experience with the tools and techniques of a real lab. But even before the COVID-19 pandemic arrived and caused classes to go online, Caltech senior physics lab manager Eric Black had a plan in hand that would allow his students to learn from home.
10th Jun 2021 - Mirage News

Education expert talks challenges of virtual learning for students, mental health supports

Many students struggled with virtual learning and some fell behind. While many focus on academics, Becky Pringle, president of the National Education Association, said children were also impacted emotionally. She spoke with 7News On Your Side's Lindsey Mastis about some of the things parents can do to help get their students the help they need. In some cases, it may mean advocating for additional help. She recommends reaching out to teachers to begin a conversation first by asking how best to communicate and when, and share what works best for parents too. But she warns that holding kids back a grade is often not necessary
10th Jun 2021 - WJLA

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 10th Jun 2021

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Thousands of WRDSB students register for virtual summer school

In Canada, the end of the school year is just a few weeks away, but the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) will welcome thousands of students back again in July for summer school programs. This is will be the second year in a row that the WRDSB will offer summer school virtually, using both asynchronous and synchronous learning platforms. There are more than 2,500 secondary students registered, and just over 1,000 students registered for transition support programs in Grades 6, 7, 8
9th Jun 2021 - CBC.ca

More students than ever will attend summer school this year. That might not be enough to close the COVID-19 achievement gap.

After a school year punctuated by coronavirus quarantines, Zoom lessons and days away from her friends, Caia Rivera, 7, will be spending at least part of her Florida summer back in the classroom. Her classes and other enrichment activities at her Miami-area elementary school come courtesy of her mother's desire to keep her mind sharp – and more than $1 billion in federal funding to dramatically expand summer learning for millions of kids. Millions of children this summer will participate in what's expected to be the largest summer-school program in history, powered by more than $1.2 billion in targeted federal post-pandemic assistance from the American Rescue Plan. But experts warn these much-needed summer enrichment programs aren't a panacea – and worry the students most in need of extra tutoring won't get it.
9th Jun 2021 - USA Today

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 9th Jun 2021

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Here’s how one Philly school kept kids engaged through a long year of virtual learning

This pandemic year has been tough for educators and students alike. But for many Philadelphia schools, which function as lifelines in their communities and largely have not had children back inside buildings for most of the year, keeping connections with families has been especially crucial. That the school succeeded in a corner of the city once overrun with virus cases and despite broad concern that vulnerable children might slip through the cracks amid the chaos is even more remarkable. Sending a large fuzzy mascot through North Philadelphia is just one of the things William Dick Elementary teachers and staff did this past year to help the school’s 450 students and their families survive a year of virtual learning.
8th Jun 2021 - MSN.com

Ontario students are up to 3 months behind in their learning due to COVID-19 lockdowns: Science Table

Ontario public school students are likely two to three months behind in their learning because of school closures brought on by COVID-19, leading to life-long losses in their expected earnings as adults if efforts aren’t made to bring them up to speed, says a new analysis by the COVID-19 Science Table. Citing research from the U.S., Holland and the UK, epidemiologists advising the Ontario government say that pupils are anywhere from 1.6 to 3.3 months behind where they would have been academically if in-person learning was not shut because of COVID-19 starting last March.
8th Jun 2021 - CTV Toronto

Pandemic teaching transitions back to classroom with lessons learned

The COVID-19 pandemic created numerous changes and challenges for many people. In the education field, teachers were asked to re-create lesson plans and student interactivity in a virtual realm, something many had never experienced. During the 180th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, which will be held virtually June 8-10, Andrew Morrison, from Joliet Junior College, will reveal lessons learned by educators during remote teaching caused by the pandemic and what techniques they can use in the return to classroom instruction. Morrison said many adaptations for pandemic teaching likely will not transition to classroom, but he felt some, such as the use of online collaboration tools, should be retained to increase the equity of access to the course or to increase student engagement.
8th Jun 2021 - EurekAlert

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 8th Jun 2021

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How COVID changed schools outreach

Pandemic lockdowns around the world have created challenges for researchers who want to inspire the next generation of scientists. Closed laboratories have prevented them from hosting work-experience students, and emptied classrooms and museums have limited or barred opportunities to share stories and experiments in person. Outreach organizers have been under particular pressure to adopt creative solutions because many programmes are targeted at groups that are under-represented in science, or at schools in deprived neighbourhoods. Students in many such schools have missed out on crucial lab experience because of closures, the challenges of home schooling and cancelled exams. As happened with conference presenters and university lecturers’ switch last year to virtual sessions and classes, respectively, outreach organizers’ adoption of digital formats was abrupt and unprecedented. But they have learnt that virtual outreach schemes can engage participants just as much as in-person activities can, can offer more flexibility and can also draw larger audiences.
7th Jun 2021 - Nature.com

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 7th Jun 2021

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Graduation Rate Expected to Stall This Year at Some High Schools

In the U.S., some larger school districts expect graduation rates to stall or fall because many seniors struggled during online learning, even as states and schools nationwide have dialed back graduation requirements to account for hardships brought by the pandemic. States have waived standardized exit exams and let students repeat 12th grade to make up for pandemic-related learning loss. Teachers and school administrators made home visits to find students on the cusp of graduation who have shown low engagement in class. Projections show that the efforts may not be enough to shore up graduation rates.
6th Jun 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

For some former college students, the pandemic opened a door to finish their degrees

The shift to virtual learning during the pandemic made college more accessible to millions of students who juggle school with full-time jobs, caregiving responsibilities or health issues. When Kelly Martin Broderick, 40, left the University of Maryland Baltimore County in 2014, she was just five classes short of graduating. School stayed on the back burner until the pandemic hit and Broderick lost her job at a Baltimore theater. Then she got a letter from UMBC inviting her back to finish her degree in gender, women’s and sexuality studies. Broderick’s return to UMBC came as some universities began turning more attention to students who left school before earning a degree, in part, as a way to turn around enrollment declines during the pandemic. For some former students, the push came at the right time.
6th Jun 2021 - The Washington Post

After a tough year, schools are axing virtual learning. Some families want to stay online.

As fall approaches, many schools are ending virtual programs and trying to return children to classrooms five days a week. New York City, the nation's largest school district, eliminated remote options for next year. New Jersey's governor announced schools must fully open in fall with no remote learning. Illinois public schools must do the same for almost all students, the state board of education voted last month. Many education experts say in-person instruction is the best way to help hasten an academic recovery for those who fell behind and to address emotional and social consequences after two disrupted school years. But the orders may deny many families, especially parents of color, the choice to continue an education style they say was working for them
6th Jun 2021 - MSN.com

Clinical psychologist offers advice on pros and cons of online learning

With online schooling, some children get aching eyes, headaches, and body aches. They believe they are given too much work, they are having difficulties getting help when they do not understand a topic, and they still have to be on the computer doing homework long after classes are done for the day. Clinical and counselling psychologist Nidhi Kirpalani said, “Kids are craving to go back to school! Go back to seeing their peers, being out of the house, learning to be themselves and playing in after-school activities or team sports.”
6th Jun 2021 - TT Newsday

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 3rd Jun 2021

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Virtual learning helping students living with a disability learn vital skills and gain confidence

Tymekka Locke would love to be a barista when she leaves school, but like many of her classmates at the Mackay District Special School, she is not sure where to start. But a virtual learning program, helping teach vital skills from the safety of a classroom, might just be the answer. Over the past six months, students have been using headsets and screens to learn pedestrian safety skills, how to withdraw money from an ATM and the art of making different coffees. "We do coffees, or road safety, or [go to] the bank," Tymekka said. Mackay District Special School teacher Ria Erlank said the program was giving students like Tymekka the chance to gain skills and confidence for the workforce.
2nd Jun 2021 - ABC.Net.au

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 2nd Jun 2021

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Virtual learners and the impending security risks they face

The pandemic has left behind a level on uncertainty for many, and for students in particular. Schools, colleges and universities were forced to close for extended periods of time. Physical contact hours were replaced with virtual learning, while the university aspirations of many are now in question as institutions are making fewer offers as a result of budgetary constraints. Video meetings and collaboration platforms have been a lifeline over the past year, but this has made educational institutions vulnerable to the rising cybersecurity threat landscape. A single data breach costs £3.1 million on average. The impacts from the pandemic have meant that education facilities cannot afford the severe financial and reputational repercussions from a successful ransomware attack. Students’ learning environments must remain productive both on and offline, as a matter of priority.
1st Jun 2021 - FE News

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 1st Jun 2021

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Calls for virtual tutors to become part of national strategy to combat learning loss during lockdown

Virtual tutors should be funded to help children catch up with learning lost during the pandemic, a leading provider has said. Most children across the UK will have missed more than half a year of normal, in-person schooling, thanks to the pandemic, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies. Government funding to stem the gap should be used for virtual tutors which are cost-effective and can provide help on the mass scale needed, said Whizz Education, provider of virtual tutor Maths-Whizz.
31st May 2021 - MSN.com

We had a year to experiment with online learning. What did we learn?

Before schools nationwide moved millions of students from classroom seats to screens, educators at Highline Public Schools in South King County wanted to expand online learning. Back then, Highline saw an opportunity: Online education might be good for students who want more flexibility and independence than a traditional classroom setting. Now, more than a year after districts nationwide Frankensteined their way through remote instruction, Highline sees even more reason to make good on its initial plan. The district’s first full-time virtual school, Highline Virtual Academy, is scheduled to open this fall as an all-remote option for middle and high schoolers who want to spend traditional school hours working or helping support family at home, or who might need more frequent midday breaks from classes. District leaders promise the school has been better researched and planned than the pandemic-era model they threw together.
31st May 2021 - Seattle Times

Is remote learning here to stay? Many, but not all, Colorado schools will offer online classes this fall.

Thanks to online programs and open enrollment policies, remote learning won’t entirely disappear from Colorado schools next year or even once cohorting and social distancing have become practices of the past. District leaders, educators and state officials anticipate that many schools will continue to offer a remote learning option to students, some of whom have thrived in an online school environment. Educators point to a variety of reasons to keep remote options alive long past the pandemic. Some students are simply more successful learning through digital platforms. Others, shouldering family responsibilities to care for siblings or working a job, benefit from the flexibility that online schooling offers. And some have family members with health conditions that put them at a greater risk for diseases like COVID-19, so they feel safer at home.
31st May 2021 - The Colorado Sun

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 28th May 2021

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Remote learning let some NJ kids log in from around the globe. Is that a sign of the future?

Hundreds of New Jersey students have logged in to classes on their laptops over the past year from the Dominican Republic, Portugal, Bangladesh, Egypt, Australia and elsewhere. The ultra-remote instruction was a concession to the illness and disruption of the pandemic. But after Gov. Phil Murphy announced this month that remote learning would end in the fall, many districts are pulling the plug on the option. With COVID-19 forcing education systems around the world to provide alternatives to in-person instruction, some students from immigrant families chose to go abroad due to family emergencies or because they had no one to take care of them while school buildings were closed, school officials said.
27th May 2021 - NorthJersey.com

As schools reopen, some are keeping all-virtual options

Teaching to the middle has historically been the approach taken by many schools nationwide, where a one-size-fits-all model is the norm and students must figure out how to fit in or fail. When COVID-19 hit and schools quickly pivoted to distance learning, challenges and disparities—many already present but ignored—were revealed for teachers, parents, and students. Yet, as the pandemic raged on, some students actually thrived in this at-home learning environment. One lesson is that many students experience stress due to daily instances of racism. This occurs especially when they do not feel a strong sense of belonging in their school setting, which research shows can lead to reduced academic confidence and performance. Taking classes online eased some of the pressure that students, including Black, immigrant and indigenous kids, felt to assimilate in classrooms and schools.
27th May 2021 - MSN.com

Oxford students reveal preference for virtual learning

In Oxford, college students have expressed a desire to carry on with virtual learning after the pandemic. More than 500 Oxford Business College students were surveyed, revealing a preference for virtual or blended learning (a mixture of virtual and classroom learning). Results from the survey showed 83 per cent preferred virtual or blended options. The remaining 17 per cent would like to see a classroom return.
27th May 2021 - Oxford Mail

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Mexico university designs classrooms for post-pandemic hybrid classes

With intelligent spaces that allow students to interact and feel they are in a classroom, Mexico’s Monterrey Institute of Technology has resumed hybrid classes after almost a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Given the health emergency, the university implemented a program of Hybrid Simultaneous In-Person Remote classes, known as HPRS, with cutting edge technology so that students taking virtual classes can interact with their professors in real time as if they were present in the classroom. The director of academic services at Tec de Monterrey’s Guadalajara campus, Veronica Rangel, told EFE on Tuesday that they had created the learning system using educational platforms with audio and video technology.
26th May 2021 - La Prensa Latina

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 26th May 2021

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States and cities across the U.S. debate the future of online learning.

As the coronavirus pandemic ebbs in the United States and vaccines become available for teenagers, school systems are facing the difficult choice of whether to continue offering a remote learning option in the fall. When Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City took a stance on Monday, saying that the city will drop remote learning in its public schools, the move may have added to the pressure on other school systems to do the same. Some families remain fearful of returning their children to classrooms, and others have become accustomed to new child care and work routines built around remote schooling, and are loath to make major changes. But it is increasingly clear that school closures have exacted an academic and emotional toll on millions of American students, while preventing some parents from working outside the home.
25th May 2021 - The New York Times

Technology can't replace face-to-face teaching, says INTO

Teachers should not be living in fear of being replaced by technology, a union has said. The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) has called for a standardised policy on the use of remote learning to ensure jobs are safeguarded for the future. It follows claims that some teachers are growing concerned that new technologies could potentially replace fundamental areas of their work and potentially jobs. The union’s annual Northern Conference heard how teachers coped with a multitude of problems during Covid closures, but deserve praise for the way they managed to provide continuing education for young people in Northern Ireland.
25th May 2021 - Belfast Telegraph

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 25th May 2021

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New York City to send all students back to school this fall, following U.S. trend

New York City's school system will require all 1.1 million of its students to attend classes in person this fall after more than a year of pandemic-induced disruption, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Monday, joining a nationwide back-to-school trend. The city's plans to abandon virtual learning come as states and cities across the United States ease restrictions designed to slow new coronavirus infections
24th May 2021 - Reuters

Virtual classes proving très difficile for French immersion teachers

Trying to get French immersion students to speak French in school was often challenging before the COVID-19 pandemic, but some teachers are concerned that with everyone now online, the problem has only gotten worse. "I'm not hearing that the kids are always speaking French," said Kim Doucet, who's currently teaching Grade 2 French immersion with the Ottawa-Carleton Virtual School. Doucet, a French immersion teacher for the better part of 25 years, said with the proliferation of Google Translate, virtual meetings and online breakout rooms, it's becoming more and more difficult for educators to enforce language rules during class time.
24th May 2021 - CBC.ca

Microsoft reveals changes it’s made to enable its employees to work both at home and in the office

After sending its employees home last year to reduce the spread of coronavirus, Microsoft has decided how it will operate with some employees on-site while others continue to contribute remotely. It’s part of the company’s new hybrid approach to work after it began to welcome some employees back to its U.S. headquarters in late March. The company recently shared some of the practices it has put in place for its hybrid plan. Governments and companies have been eager for advice on how to approach returning to the office because missteps could cause problems. Simply ditching the tools that workers used at the height of the pandemic might lead to higher costs than necessary, and employees who don’t feel supported in the new way of work might want to take other jobs. So, Microsoft is providing guidance. In doing so, it’s emphasizing how its products can be critical even after the worst of the pandemic is over.
24th May 2021 - CNBC

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 24th May 2021

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We're back to school, but should we go back to business as normal?

Remote learning tools have been used since before the emergence of COVID-19, particularly for alternative provision and SEND (special educational needs and disabilities) students, but there’s now an urgent need for local authorities and educators to consider how the benefits of these platforms can be extended to all students in mainstream education, regardless of their background. Although students and teachers are happy to be back in the classroom, there’s a risk that the positive lessons from remote learning might be lost if there’s not consideration of what has worked, and what has not, during the past year.
23rd May 2021 - Education Technology

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 21st May 2021

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'Just evil': Spotty internet an added stressor to virtual learning for rural Ontario students

Some families in rural parts of Waterloo region and nearby counties in southern Ontario say unreliable internet access has made a difficult pandemic school year even more complicated. Seager Grubb, 15, and his sister Sarene Grubb, 18, who live near Wellesley, often face frozen computer screens and lengthy download times while taking classes online. "It's hard to hear what my teacher is saying … It's just really frustrating," said Seager. "It's really slow and takes a lot more time than it should," said Sarene. Unreliable internet access was also identified as a problem by respondents to a recent CBC questionnaire, which invited educators across Canada, including in Waterloo region and Wellington County, to detail their experiences.
20th May 2021 - CBC.ca

How America failed students with disabilities during the pandemic

More than a year after the pandemic began, officials in school districts across the country concede they failed during the crisis to deliver the quality of education that students with disabilities are legally entitled to receive. The consequences of this failure are likely to linger for years, if not decades, advocates and experts warn. More than 7 million students are eligible for special educational services under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). These children, each of whom follow an individualized education program that spells out what extra or different services they need at school, account for an estimated 14 percent of all U.S. schoolchildren. While some thrived while learning from home during the pandemic — including a boy whose wheelchair left him feeling out of place at school but who became indistinguishable from his classmates on Zoom — most did not, and advocates and educators say many have suffered significant developmental setbacks.
20th May 2021 - The Washington Post

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Metro Vancouver teacher connects to students through TikTok

How do you walk from Hatzic to the PNE? By joining TikTok in April 2020. At least that's how it started for Mykael Koe. Koe is a teacher in Mission at the Fraserview Learning Centre; it's an alternative high school where he teaches 15- to 18-year-olds. As TikTok took off and Koe looked for a way to connect, he turned to the short video social media app to show his students the "other side of being a teacher." In one of his early videos he created a challenge for himself, with input from TikTok. He told them for every like, share and follow he'd walk a certain number of laps. "1,160 laps were given to me," he says. "I started April 4 and finished it October 21, I think."
19th May 2021 - Vancouver Is Awesome

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Researchers discuss the 'cost' of virtual learning

After about a year of virtual learning, researchers are now beginning to publish data on how learning online has impacted students; and their findings go against all expectations. From the beginning, education officials acknowledge that- in general- the benefits of in-person learning far outweigh digital schooling. But, given the unique circumstances, remote learning was a safe alternative for children to continue their education. But what officials didn’t expect was which subject saw the biggest loss: Math. So, what could be causing such a significant drop in learning? Well, one study out of Georgia State University, “Student Achievement Growth During the COVID-19 Pandemic“, is pointing the finger at pacing.
18th May 2021 - KLKN

Teachers in northwestern Ontario emphasize burnout concerns, student issues with virtual learning

Providing technical support, collapsing lesson plans to fit into new timeframes, and building new, interactive activities are just a few of the challenges teachers throughout northwestern Ontario continue to face during the COVID-19 pandemic. A CBC News questionnaire, sent to educators across Canada with publicly accessible email addresses, highlighted concerns over burnout from constant change, as well as a desire for educators to be vaccinated as early as possible.
18th May 2021 - CBC.ca

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UN agencies invest $11.6 million to improve virtual learning in West Kingston

More than 200 students in five West Kingston communities are receiving improved access to virtual learning spaces and equipment under a combined $11.6-million investment in tablets and technology centres donated by agencies of the United Nations in Jamaica.
17th May 2021 - Jamaica Observer

Companies head to the classroom as demand for virtual education grows

The past year of education has been tough for Natalie. The 15-year-old was bullied at her London state school but, even after lockdown kept pupils at home, what she regarded as her school’s poor standard of remote learning left her miserable. In January, she switched — to a fully online private school. Natalie, who asked for her real name not to be used, is now studying for her GCSEs at King’s College Online, an international virtual school launched in January by UK-based Inspired Education. Her new school day consists of recorded lectures and video classes, not with other local teenagers but with pupils in Asia or Europe, as well as walks listening to educational podcasts.
17th May 2021 - Financial Times

Why We Need To Flip The Narrative That The Pandemic Has Damaged Education

Children out of school, months of lost learning and widening gaps between students: it’s become fashionable to see Covid-19 as having been a disaster for education. But perhaps we need to flip the narrative and look at how education will benefit from the pandemic, opening more doors than it closed and providing an opportunity to take a leap forward in how we teach our children.
16th May 2021 - Forbes

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 14th May 2021

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Student survey shows students less engaged in virtual learning

In Virginia, one local student conducted her own survey and found students who are less engaged in virtual learning had lower grades. Cameras off and muted mics are two frustrations all teachers faced with virtual learning this past year. Western Albemarle High School junior Jenna Stutzman conducted a survey among almost 90 of her own classmates about how much they pay attention during virtual classes. Stutzman says those who are more engaged with their teachers, peers, and class material thrived, and those who didn't participate saw their grades suffer.
13th May 2021 - CBS19 News

How the Camera Has Changed the Dynamics of the Classroom

Over the past year of online teaching, instructors and students have struggled, not just with the digital divide but with a tense binary: online classroom work versus privacy violation. A recent study from Cornell published in the journal Academic Practice in Ecology and Evolution found that some students felt it was a violation of privacy (because their personal settings, their homes and family were visible), possible distraction when watching others on screen, self-consciousness, among others. Class, race, ethnicity and appearance were factors in their reluctance, the study found. Another report by Margaret Finders and Joaquin Muñoz, deemed the practice of asking students to turn on the cameras to be a form of surveillance. (Although it seems odd that for a generation of Instagrammers and Facebookers, the camera, of all things, is a source of anxiety!)
13th May 2021 - The Wire

Covid-19 has reinforced China's role as global leader in edtech

What made the transition to online learning in China in early 2020 relatively successful was not only being able to build on the existing edtech ecosystem but years of investing in infrastructure, forward-looking policies and ICT tools for colleges and universities. For starters, there are about 1 billion internet users in China, according to the government’s own figures. And while internet networks across the country are fairly impressive, one of the immediate steps by the authorities was to involve the telecom companies to ensure capacity to provide bandwidth-heavy online education services. In some cases, the universities themselves have negotiated deals with telecom providers to subsidise the data plans of their faculty and students.
13th May 2021 - Times Higher Education (THE)

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'Cold and sterile': Outcry arising among educators over disengaging distance learning

Many teachers and guidance counsellors are feeling like they are lacking motivation and simply trying to survive and get through the pandemic. "School culture is non-existent," declared one longtime educator, who asked to remain anonymous because teachers' contracts don't allow them to make comments on the school board. "Little or no chance to interact with other students leads to very little positive cultural development. The teacher student relationship has been affected the most," the guidance counsellor told yorkregion.com. He worries that schools switching back and forth have caused major problems -- issues ranging from lack of student participation, to poor and inconsistent internet service, to an alarming trend of more students working full-time jobs and disengaging from their studies.
12th May 2021 - Toronto Star

Analysis: As schools begin to reopen, some are developing all-virtual options to meet students' diverse needs. Here are 6 examples

Teaching to the middle has historically been the approach taken by many schools nationwide, where a one-size-fits-all model is the norm and students must figure out how to fit in or fail. When COVID-19 hit and schools quickly pivoted to distance learning, challenges and disparities — many already present but ignored — were revealed for teachers, parents and students. Yet, as the pandemic raged on, some students actually thrived in this at-home learning environment. Who are these students, and why are they flourishing? What can we learn from them?
12th May 2021 - LA School Report

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With school likely to remain virtual for many students this year, focus should be on the fall: expert

Another school year will be coming to an end in less than two months, but it’s unlikely that children currently attending remotely in Ontario will be back in classrooms before summer, experts say. Students in Ontario have been attending classes virtually for more than a month, and provinces such as Manitoba and Alberta have announced recent shifts to remote learning as case numbers climb. Some of these closures have planned end dates, but Dr. Anna Banerji, an infectious disease specialist, told CTV’s Your Morning on Tuesday that while the situation will vary region to region, hard-hit areas such as Ontario will probably remain virtual through the end of the school year.
11th May 2021 - CTV News

Virtual Classrooms: How One Teacher Is Connecting With Her 6th-Graders Via Zoom

Julie Welch starts each school day by heading down the stairs to her basement. Last summer, she turned her guest room into a classroom for the La Crosse School District’s Coulee Region Virtual Academy, an online charter school created as an alternative to in-person classes this year. Welch checks email and opens the day’s online lessons for her 6th grade class before starting their morning meeting on Zoom. “Just like if we were in person when kids arrive, we start the day in a circle, greeting each other and just kind of doing that check in, like ‘Hey, how are you doing? What’s new? What do you have to share?’” Welch said. For some of her more self-sufficient students, Welch said the 30-minute meeting may be the only time she sees them for the day.
11th May 2021 - Yahoo News

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Virtual schooling has been a challenge. But that doesn’t mean we can’t learn anything from it.

As of now, we’ve spent more than a year in quarantine. That’s more than 180 days of harrowing recalibration for teachers, students and families trying to navigate virtual learning. Now, on what we hope is the tail end of a year of remote instruction, there is an undeniable temptation to close the book on a system that has led to increased learning gaps, put more pressure on parents working full time, and led to a host of technology-related health concerns. This has been a year of silver linings and of reckoning. We’ve been forced to ask ourselves where we need to make changes and how. So before we shut the book on virtual learning, we should ask ourselves: What have we learned from it?
10th May 2021 - The Seattle Times

Should California allow distance learning in fall? Lawmakers, educators battle over how education should work

Gov. Gavin Newsom and state lawmakers, both Democrats and Republicans, have been emphatic that public schools in California must reopen for full-time, in-person learning this fall. But that push has inspired a new debate in Sacramento: Should they create an exception for students who prefer to stay remote or who learn better outside the classroom?
10th May 2021 - San Francisco Chronicle

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Seattle Teacher Treats Students to Virtual Field Trips — He Even Taught from the Aquarium!

Hang on, hold tight: Kindergarten teacher Garett Talcott is about to take his kindergarteners — and about 2 million TikTok fans — on the flight of their lives. When the Redmond, Washington kindergarten teacher's school went remote last spring, he wondered how to "take the magic of kindergarten and put it through on a screen," he tells PEOPLE. His solution? Virtual field trips everywhere from the aquarium to the zoo — with a few dance parties, simulated plane flights and roller coaster rides tossed into the mix.
8th May 2021 - PEOPLE

Teachers reflect on educating during COVID-19 pandemic

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the way teachers educate their students had changed drastically. At the beginning of 2020, they were in the classroom. But they switched to 100 percent virtual learning in the spring and then moved to hybrid learning models. This means teachers are chasing a constantly moving target. Beverly Kerr, a third-grade teacher at Carysbrook Elementary School in Fluvanna County, said the pandemic has teachers "changing 100 percent of how we teach, especially at primary level." It's her 15th year as a teacher, but she says it's unlike any other.
8th May 2021 - CBS19 News

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Remote learning is helping some Black students affirm their identities, excel in school

The pandemic is having an undeniable impact on education, as the remote classroom has caused students and teachers to alter their learning methods and philosophy. But for some Black students, the distance-learning environment has brought an unexpected benefit: They can evade the biases and institutionalized racism often found in a traditional classroom setting. In addition, parents of Black students are finding opportunities to observe more and advocate when necessary. Students are also dodging negative race-based interpersonal interactions that may have harmed them emotionally and hindered academic performance.
6th May 2021 - NorthJersey.com

New report provides reality check on virtual schools

Online education has been at the center of the national education discussion since the coronavirus pandemic forced schools last year to close and teachers to find ways to teach virtually — often online. While some students thrived learning virtually, educators and parents around the country have said that most did not. But online learning has been with us for years before the coronavirus pandemic in the form of virtual schools, many of them operated by for-profit organizations. The growth of these schools has been tracked since 2013 by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC), a nonprofit education policy research center located in the School of Education at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
6th May 2021 - The Washington Post

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‘I Used to Like School’: An 11-Year-Old’s Struggle With Pandemic Learning

By one estimate, three million students across the US, roughly the school-age population of Florida, stopped going to classes, virtual or in person, after the pandemic began. A disproportionate number of those disengaged students are lower-income Black, Latino and Native American children who have struggled to keep up in classrooms that are partly or fully remote, for reasons ranging from poor internet service to needing to support their families by working or caring for siblings. Many are homeless or English language learners. Others whose parents work outside the home have struggled in the absence of adult supervision.
5th May 2021 - The New York Times

'Extremely troubling': Ontario teachers' unions slam province for considering permanent online learning option

Ontario teachers’ unions are sounding the alarm after the provincial government announced its holding consultations on whether or not to make online learning options a permanent choice for families once the pandemic ends. Union leaders and parents voiced their concerns during a news conference on Wednesday, saying the plans will undermine Ontario's publically funded education system and will harm students. “Their plan to make online classes permanent means a student could go from Kindergarten to Grade 12 without ever setting foot inside a school,” Sam Hammond, president of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO), told reporters.
5th May 2021 - CTV Toronto

'There's only so much we can do': Virtual learning is taking a toll on kids

More than a year after COVID-19 pushed education online, teachers and students have worked to find their rhythm, though it hasn't come without difficulties. Many people have encountered issues with productivity and an array of mental and physical side effects that have hampered their daily lives. Online exhaustion has caused migraines, heightened anxiety and self-consciousness for many online learners, as Stanford University’s Jeremy Bailenson and Jeff Hancock have learned over the last year. The two psychologists-turned-communications professors published the first comprehensive study exploring the causes of "Zoom fatigue" last month after observing strange behaviors from their ten-year-old daughters.
5th May 2021 - IndyStar

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Some Black parents say remote learning gives racism reprieve

As schools reopen across the US, Black students have been less likely than white students to enroll in in-person learning — a trend attributed to factors including concerns about the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus on communities of color, a lack of trust that their schools are equipped to keep children safe, and the large numbers of students of color in urban districts that have been slower to reopen classrooms. But many Black parents are finding another benefit to remote learning: being better able to shield their children from racism in classrooms
4th May 2021 - The Independent

Harris Poll finds 82% of parents have a greater appreciation for teachers since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically disrupted the education system for all involved: teachers, students and their parents. Learning modalities have mostly shifted online and remote learning has become commonplace. As part of recognizing Teacher Appreciation Week, May 3-7, University of Phoenix commissioned The Harris Poll to conduct a survey of more than 2,000 Americans to better understand their perceptions of the education systems’ shift to online learning for K-12 students, and the job teachers and administrators have done, since the pandemic began. The online survey found that 82% of parents of K-12 virtual learners polled said they have a greater appreciation of the work teachers do to teach K-12 now than they did before the pandemic. Americans polled also agree (81%) that teachers have done the best they can to teach children under the unprecedented circumstances.
4th May 2021 - Business Wire

Ontario will continue to offer option for virtual learning next year

Parents and students in Ontario will continue to be offered the option of virtual learning next year, officials confirmed as they outlined their education funding allotments for the 2021-22 year. Speaking on background at a technical briefing Tuesday, officials said that school boards will be required to continue offering virtual learning next year and promised to release more details at a later date. It is unclear when parents will have to make decisions on whether their children will begin school in September in-person or remotely.
4th May 2021 - CTV Toronto

Forget everything you think you know about online engagement

During the seismic shift to online and blended formats that we’ve all attended to, much of the focus has been on technological capabilities and solutions. Within this, even finer focus has been placed on online behaviours as a way of understanding student engagement. However, lessons from cyberpsychology may be central here. To explain a little, cyberpsychology focuses on the psychological experiences of our interactions with new technology and the internet and seems to be entirely relevant to many discussions about online learning.
4th May 2021 - Times Higher Education

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Comments on: Lessons from a year of remote education

As students head back to the classroom, the framework for traditional education has changed considerably. Schools have invested heavily in digital technology and although the pandemic has highlighted issues of digital inequality, when given the right environment, it has been proven to have huge benefits for students; for example, research shows that schools using a virtual learning environment have higher general pupil engagement level than schools not using them. More than a year into the pandemic, it’s important to think about the lessons schools can learn from remote learning and consider a more digitally focused strategy that optimises learning and student engagement to create more of a blended approach.
2nd May 2021 - Education Technology

New Teaching Jobs May Emerge With Continued Demand for Virtual Learning

In the U.S., as scenes of parents protesting for schools to resume in-person instruction played out in some communities, a quieter, but no less ardent parent demand was building: Keep virtual learning going beyond the pandemic. School district officials have heard these families, and many are responding in the affirmative. One of them is Maryland’s Montgomery County public schools, where more than half of students remain in full-time remote classrooms after the district resumed limited in-person learning this spring. The school district was among the slowest to get back to in-person instruction. “Some families have seen their kids grow in ways they hadn’t before,” said Montgomery County district administrator Kara Trenkamp, referring to online schooling during the pandemic.
2nd May 2021 - Education Week

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Covid Scotland: Schools to have blended learning 'after lockdown', says Glasgow education boss

The use of blended and digital learning will have a permanent role to play in schools after lockdown, Glasgow Council’s education director has signalled. Maureen McKenna said platforms such as the West Online School - which features hundreds of recorded lessons - offered a potential means of teaching pupils who may struggle in a conventional classroom.
29th Apr 2021 - HeraldScotland

U.S. will launch $3.2 billion temporary broadband subsidy May 12

The Federal Communications Commission said it will launch on May 12 a temporary $3.2 billion program to provide lower-income Americans with discounts on monthly internet service and on purchasing laptops or tablet computers. The discounts, which were funded by Congress in December, are worth up to $50 a month for internet service, and up to $75 on federally recognized Tribal Lands. "In less than two weeks, we will have a new way for disconnected Americans to access the internet to carry out their day-to-day life, so they can reach the virtual classroom, take advantage of telehealth, and seek new employment opportunities," said Acting FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel in a statement.
29th Apr 2021 - Reuters

Blog competition: students’ experiences of lockdown learning

If coronavirus has been painful for families, employers and governments alike, some of the heaviest — and often hidden — burdens have weighed on children pushed out of classrooms around the world. So the FT free schools access programme, in partnership with the World Bank, asked students worldwide for their experiences, and for their advice to policymakers on how to improve learning. More than 420 students from 62 countries replied, describing difficulties ranging from parents losing their jobs to accessing food and taking care of younger siblings. They expressed mixed views on technology as a substitute for in-person teaching. Some highlighted variations in access to digital devices, the internet and electricity; others the need for a different pace when learning online, given the absence of social interaction and the stimulation of their peers.
29th Apr 2021 - Financial Times

Rethinking remote labs to deliver during Covid and beyond

Remote science and engineering labs can never replace the in-person lab experience in which direct interaction and hands-on experience nurture student learning; this has been widely agreed. However, being forced into delivering remote learning by the pandemic spurred our faculty to devise truly innovative methods. “The process of teaching remotely forced the team to be much more thoughtful and purposeful about how we present the material and specifically what goals we have for the students at different stages of the course,” Dr Gerbode reflected. “Currently, we’re talking as a department about creating a hybrid version of the lab in the autumn.”
29th Apr 2021 - Times Higher Education (THE)

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Hybrid instruction means changes, challenges for students in distance learning

The Oregon Department of Education does not keep track of how many students are in distance learning. As of last week, more than 400,000 students were in-person at least some of the time, leaving at least 160,000 students in distance learning, assuming the rest of the state’s schoolchildren are still enrolled in Oregon public schools receiving instruction from home. When Gov. Kate Brown mandated that schools open classrooms to hybrid learning, state officials also required that schools continue to support distance learning for families that wanted or needed that approach. As school districts are offering multiple learning models, families made their choices. Students heading back to physical classrooms have found the experience isn’t the same as they remembered before the pandemic. And even for the students finishing the year at home, some things have changed.
28th Apr 2021 - OPB News

Online classroom: How students can build an engaging virtual experience

The online classroom may take some getting used to, but after a successful transition, you will find that courses can be exciting, engaging and a rewarding experience overall. Studies have revealed that students who learn online perform just as well as their peers in brick and mortar classrooms, as physical location is not the only determining factor of a holistic learning environment. Given the right tools and approach, learners will be able to participate in a robust educational experience in an evolving instruction paradigm.
28th Apr 2021 - India Today

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Survey reveals positive outlook on online instruction post-pandemic

When colleges switched to emergency remote instruction last year, some online learning advocates feared the hasty transition would leave students with a negative impression of online learning. While more pre-pandemic online courses resulted from months of careful planning and significant financial investment, few instructors enjoyed these luxuries last spring. Despite the challenges and shortcomings of this emergency transition to remote instruction, a majority of students want the option to keep studying online, according to new survey results.
27th Apr 2021 - Inside Higher Ed

How Covid has reshaped the way we learn and why online classes are here to stay

While online learning is by no means a new concept, Covid-19 acted as a catalyst in its growth, leading to a widespread adaptation by schools and universities across the world. Students and teachers alike have adapted to the mass migration of classrooms to the digital medium. Today, online classes are the norm, not an option. It’s not just K-12 education that has seen this shift. Many competitive exam aspirants have now entirely switched to digital learning.
27th Apr 2021 - ThePrint

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Parents may continue with online learning indefinitley

The school year is coming to an end and it’s now time for parents to start making decisions for next year. Families across the US have been forced to adapt to the ways of online learning due to the pandemic, but some parents and students have found they prefer virtual learning. Even if you like virtual, a lot of school districts might not offer it. The majority of parents that WAFF spoke to that would continue with virtual are those with students in middle school and younger. “They never would have chosen virtual, unless the pandemic had happened. But Since they did, they have found it is a pretty good fit for their students,’ says Melissa Larson, Head of School at Alabama Virtual Academy.
26th Apr 2021 - WAFF

Why our distance learning programme has been described as 'faultless'

Noel Neeson, headmaster at The Blue Coat School, Birmingham, discusses the benefits of creating their own distance learning programme. "When the crisis came, and fluent communication between community elements became more vital than ever, urgent consideration was given to the children ‘on the outside’. Pastoral care provision had to be heightened; safeguarding concerns to be managed and met. With fortnightly phone calls, form tutors supported all children and their families, staff recording the outcomes and reporting daily to the leadership team. Meanwhile, risk assessments enabled us to track children’s welfare and suggest any necessary intervention, including asking children to return to school. If all this suggests that ‘life around lockdowns’ has been merely crisis management, there have been some notably happy consequences of a plague which has thrown so many young lives into disorder. There is evidence, for example, that our children have been spending more time engrossed in their books; guided reading, four times a week, certainly went down well with the vast majority."
26th Apr 2021 - Independent Education Today

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Many children with autism struggling with virtual learning

While many of the London area’s 100,000 school kids face challenges learning from home, amid a two-week shutdown of the area’s two major school systems because of COVID-19’s third-wave flare-up, the fallout of not being in school can be especially tough for children with autism. A recent study by the Hospital for Sick Children found children with autism reported the highest rates of depression, irritability and hyperactivity, as well as a reduced attention span, among students affected by the pandemic. Sick Kids researchers have concluded the changes could be due to greater online learning challenges, a reduction in home care and disruption to normal routines
25th Apr 2021 - London Free Press

Several St. Louis-Area School Districts Will Keep Online Learning After Pandemic Ends

Thousands of Missouri students likely will continue to learn online from their homes next school year — and after — by choice, as virtual school becomes a permanent option after the pandemic subsides. Several school districts in the St. Louis region are making their online programs permanent for children as early as kindergarten in an effort to offer more flexibility and choice. But some critics worry the isolation could have negative social and emotional effects on kids. With no COVID-19 vaccine yet approved for children under age 16, school administrators say it’s highly likely some amount of virtual learning will be necessary next school year. But they also say their online schools are here to stay.
25th Apr 2021 - St. Louis Public Radio

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What did parents find out about their kids and learning during the pandemic? A lot

Over the past year, Victor Bell and many other parents like him got a taste of what it was like to be on the front lines of their children’s education. Dining rooms became classrooms, and parents became teachers. As the school year draws to a close, parents reflected on what they have learned about the way their children learn during the COVID-19 pandemic. After a year of some combination of virtual and in-person learning, parents said they were astounded by their children’s independence, resilience and compassion. While some families were eager to return to in-seat learning, others had a good experience at home.
22nd Apr 2021 - Missourian

People with disabilities worry about losing virtual options

Eiryn Griest Schwartzman spent years fighting for academic accommodations at their Maryland college with little success, but the coronavirus pandemic changed everything: In-person classes became virtual, with closed-captioning features, making it possible for them to follow what was going on in class. "That's been a game changer for me," said Griest Schwartzman, 23, who uses they/them pronouns. "... Now I actually have the ability to understand material that I couldn't get before." However, now that the world is looking towards "the new normal"' Griest Schwartzman and other people with disabilities are worried that accommodations that became standard in 2020 will not be available. Remote classes and work have opened doors for many, and virtual activities and gatherings expanded social bubbles even as many stayed home.
22nd Apr 2021 - TODAY

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5 TikTok Teachers Share Behind the Scenes of Virtual Teaching

In a matter of just a few years, TikTok has forged itself a spot at the front of the pack in regards to social media platforms. People from all over the world and all walks of life have begun turning their lives into clips lasting under one minute for viewers to see. Teachers—many of whom have had their work turned upside down amid the pandemic—have used the app to show what goes on behind the scenes of virtual teaching. From a kindergarten teacher who wanted to give more representation to Black, male educators to a fifth-grade teaching assistant who wants to show the resilience of his students, these five teachers will warm your heart and give you something to laugh at.
21st Apr 2021 - Newsweek

Will Fall 2021 On Campus Look A Lot Like Fall 2019?

We have reached the critical moment when organizations of all types and sizes are putting the finishing touches on Plan A (and B and C) for fall 2021. The stakes are different, however, for a university. It is a cliché that the pandemic accelerated trends that were simmering all along. That is certainly true in higher education, where the public health emergency collided with deeply held assumptions about the irreplaceable value of the in-person experience. And then Zoom ate the classroom. After decades of sputtering adoption, during which asynchronous online learning was marginalized at the edges of higher education, real-time video filled the void left by the virus. Now that vaccines are more widely available, we can plan for a future after lockdowns. This should begin with an honest evaluation of what we gained, and what we lost, during this forced year of virtual learning.
21st Apr 2021 - Forbes

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What the Future of Learning Should Look Like

We know that the abrupt shift to online learning last spring took many teachers, districts, parents and students by surprise. A recent report revealed that during the past year, only 22% of teachers used commercial materials designed for remote instruction, which tend to cater to asynchronous learning, and only 16% of teachers report using online learning "a lot" before the pandemic. The next school year is just around the corner, which means it's time for school districts to identify the programs and methods that foster student success in an online environment. In my experience, that means finding a personalized, adaptive curriculum. When used appropriately, all of these ingredients work together to help students grow and learn.
20th Apr 2021 - MSN.com

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Virtual-only schooling drops below 10% for 1st time

The share of school districts in the US continuing to offer virtual-only instruction to students fell below 10 percent for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began, according to statistics on pandemic schooling compiled weekly by Burbio. That signals a tenuous return to normal for all but a few regions on the West Coast and in the Northeast. “That virtual ring is narrowing,” said Burbio co-founder Dennis Roche. “That is a big deal.” Those holdouts, however, are among the most densely populated regions of the country, while many districts have returned only haltingly, with only a few hours of in-person instruction per week. And some parents who have been given the option to have their children back in the classroom have kept them at home for now.
19th Apr 2021 - Yahoo News Australia

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Primary school pupils learned 'little or nothing' from online lessons during lockdown and lost a fifth of the progress they would have made in the classroom, study finds

Primary school pupils learned 'little or nothing' from online lessons during lockdown and lost a fifth of the progress they would have made in the classroom, a study has found. The report from Oxford University says that while remote teaching was often of a high quality, youngsters' education still suffered. Lower levels of learning were even greater in families from disadvantaged backgrounds.
18th Apr 2021 - Daily Mail

Mumbai colleges all set to upgrade tech for another online academic year

In Mumbai, while last year the virtual classroom system was forcefully thrown at the institutes, this time colleges are already busy preparing for the 2021-22 academic year, and the idea is to enhance the system which is already in place rather than make do with the routine. “Technology is so advanced now, we have started the process of upgrading our software to make it more fool-proof and avoid hacking in any way possible,” said Ashok Wadia, principal. He added that while their college was one of the handful of institutes that managed to train their teachers on how to conduct virtual classes last year, this year they have put together a platform exclusively for their teaching staff in order to ensure better team building among the staff.
18th Apr 2021 - Hindustan Times

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Independence teacher earns national recognition for innovative approach to virtual learning

Although virtual learning proved difficult for many educators, Jill Wagner, a veteran teacher with the Independence Local Schools, embraced the challenge wholeheartedly. Now, her innovative online teaching methods are receiving national recognition. Wagner earned a place in “Portraits of Awesome,” an initiative related to Ted Dintersmith’s book, “What Schools Could Be.” A profile of Wagner and her work will soon be viewed by educators nationwide. In addition, Wagner received a $250 educational grant, a certificate of recognition and a swag bag for teachers.
15th Apr 2021 - cleveland.com

Virtual learning furthers challenges for students with hearing and speech difficulties

Amid months of virtual instruction in Jefferson County Public Schools and partner institutions, students with hearing and speech impairments encountered exceptional challenges learning online. At the Heuser Hearing and Language Academy in Louisville, education director Debbie Woods said only two students will graduate from a program that nearly 15 students complete in a normal year. “When they leave we test them to see if they have reached their peers who are typically hearing. A lot did not reach that milestone this year and that is because of the pandemic,” she said.
15th Apr 2021 - WAVE 3

UNC students are learning in professor's new virtual reality classroom during pandemic

With the coronavirus pandemic forcing university students and faculty off campus, UNC-Chapel Hill professors are taking unique approaches to online and remote teaching, which began last week. A UNC law professor went viral for sending students a prerecorded lecture he gave to a Pinocchio doll. Others are hosting Zoom calls with more than 100 students and pets tuning in. One mailed virtual reality headsets to his students so they could meet in a virtual classroom he built. Steven King, an associate professor at the Hussman School of Journalism and Media, made the switch to remote classes into an experiment by creating a virtual reality experience that kept his students in the classroom.
15th Apr 2021 - MSN.com

Covid-19 changed education in America — permanently

A year later, it’s clear that the Covid-19 pandemic has changed education in America in lasting ways, and glimpses of that transformed system are already emerging. School districts are developing permanent virtual options in the expectation that after the pandemic, some families will stick with remote learning — even for elementary school kids. Hundreds of colleges have, for the first time, admitted a freshman class without requiring SAT or ACT scores, potentially opening admissions to the most selective colleges to more low-income students. And thousands of educators across the country, from preschool to college, are finding new ways to spark their students’ creativity, harness technology and provide the services they need to succeed. The pandemic has unleashed a wave of innovation in education that has accelerated change and prompted blue-sky thinking throughout the system.
15th Apr 2021 - Politico

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How to support students in virtual learning environments

The mass migration to virtual learning that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic led to a profound change in student learning. While it presented many challenges, it also created opportunities for documenting responses. Two researchers from the Department of Biology in the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S) gathered student perspectives on the move to remote learning to determine best practices going forward. Based on their research, Humphrey and Wiles developed a list of recommendations for instructors to support students in virtual learning environments
14th Apr 2021 - Phys.org

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New virtual learning rules could keep TN students from participating in sports, activities

The Tennessee State Board of Education is considering changes to next school year that would require districts to have a separate online school for virtual learning. Students at the online school would not be allowed to participate in sports or activities through in-person schools, but homeschooled students still can. The online schools could have their own graduations, proms, and other traditions. Virtual students would not be a part of those traditions for the local school near them. The changes could prove challenging for students vying for scholarships through sports, music, and more.
13th Apr 2021 - WCYB

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Kids are returning to classrooms. But what will happen to those who stay at home?

As children across the country return to classrooms this spring, greeted by principals and teachers with air hugs, fist-pumping dances and “Welcome Back” videos, many students have chosen to remain just where they’ve been all school year: sitting in front of their computers at home. But those students who are continuing with virtual learning have found that the remote experience is suddenly different in ways both big and small. It is one more instance in which the pandemic is siloing students into varied and sometimes unequal methods of instruction. The difficulties experienced by some virtual learners are setting off alarm bells in households and administrative offices alike, as parents and school officials plan for the fall and ponder how the online experience should fit in.
12th Apr 2021 - Washington Post

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Thousands of Michigan students will get free WiFi hotspots and internet for remote learning

With most Michigan schools still conducting some form of remote learning due to COVID-19, the internet has become an essential component of getting a quality education. But not every family can afford it. Thousands of Michigan students like those at Godfrey-Lee still continue to grapple with remote learning challenges due to unreliable internet connect, even a full year into COVID-19 pandemic learning. But a donation from AT&T and nonprofit Connected Nation seeks to help close the nation’s digital divide by providing thousands of at-risk students with free mobile hotspots and internet connectivity to help with remote learning.
11th Apr 2021 - mlive.com

‘It feels so real’: Madison College brings virtual reality into the classroom

Students and families have become all too familiar with the phrase “remote learning” during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learning through virtual reality is not so common, but for many students at Madison College, it might soon become the norm. Madison College is bringing VR technology into several different programs. Bill Ballo, part of the Academic Technology Wing, said one of the biggest benefits is that teachers can see students learn, think and react in real time, even if they are not physically in the classroom.
11th Apr 2021 - MSN

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Balancing in-person and virtual learning during the pandemic takes toll on teachers

Roughly 80 percent of K-12 teachers and staff in the U.S. are now at least partially vaccinated. But educators in many districts are still expected to teach students both in-person and online, and stress remains high for some.
8th Apr 2021 - PBS NewsHour

COVID-19 pandemic's effects on Pennsylvania's education system have yet to be measured

More than a year into the pandemic, how students are faring, and how much they’re learning, has drawn intense attention. Billions in federal aid are coming to schools to address “learning loss” — an academic concept that has seeped into the national consciousness as educators, families, and students measure the impact of the unprecedented disruption. There is little dispute that children’s schooling has suffered. The data are still spotty, but what’s there shows students nationally are performing worse on assessments than peers in years past — particularly in math, though, for younger children, also in reading. The drops are not uniform: Black and Hispanic students and those from lower-income families are falling further behind.
8th Apr 2021 - The Philadelphia Inquirer

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Teachers warn that some students have 'checked out' of school, and it will be hard to get them back

Toronto-area high school teacher Kirby Mitchell has long focused his attention on students who've been labelled as having behavioural issues, who are often racialized, marginalized and teetering on the edge of dropping out of school completely. He works to identify, support and re-engage them in the school system, and amid COVID-19, he's grown increasingly concerned about them. "Students that I'm used to seeing wandering the halls, they're no longer there," said Mitchell. "Students I'm used to seeing acting out in class, they're no longer there." Enrolment figures have fluctuated this school year, with students who were expected to attend missing from in-person as well as virtual classes. It's not clear exactly how many are unaccounted for
7th Apr 2021 - CBC.ca

How the COVID-19 pandemic may have changed university teaching and testing for good

As of mid-March last year, governments worldwide imposed quarantines and social distancing practices as health measures in response to the spread of COVID-19.These restrictions disrupted millions of university students' education worldwide and significantly altered university operations. Universities changed their teaching, including a rapid switch to online learning. But what will the long-term effects be of universities' new approaches? After this past year, universities will revise their contingency measures. By incorporating online and distance learning as crisis response measures, universities can normalize this alternative by anticipating future crises.
7th Apr 2021 - Phys.org

After COVID Blew Up Our Assumptions About Digital Learning, Here’s How We Can Move Forward

In the world of digital education, which I’ve devoted much of my career to developing, we recognized as early as March 2020 that last year would come to represent the largest-ever field experiment ever conducted. So we put some major hypotheses to the test around how we learn best remotely. Some succeeded, others failed, and we’re just now beginning to unpack the learnings. This article explores lessons for digital learning with a primary focus on learning in the workplace.
7th Apr 2021 - Forbes

Survey: Even as schools reopen, many students learn remotely

Large numbers of students are not returning to the classroom even as more schools reopen for full-time, in-person learning, according to a survey released Wednesday. The findings reflect a nation that has been locked in debate over the safety of reopening schools during the coronavirus pandemic. Even as national COVID-19 rates continued to ebb in February, key measures around reopening schools barely budged. Nearly 46% of public schools offered five days a week of in-person learning to all students in February, according to the survey, but just 34% of students were learning full time in the classroom.
7th Apr 2021 - Associated Press

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Online learning is here to stay in the post-pandemic education system

Paul W. Bennett is the director of the Schoolhouse Institute in Halifax and the author of The State of The System: A Reality Check on Canada’s Schools. He writes: "News that Ontario’s Education Minister Stephen Lecce is considering legislation to make remote learning a permanent part of the K-12 public school system has reignited a subterranean education debate over the intrusion of e-learning." "COVID-19′s emergency measures have let the genie out of the bottle, and it will not likely ever be contained as a supplement to regular programs again. After all, in the case of Ontario, about 400,000 of the province’s two million students (20 per cent) have already experienced online learning during the 2020-21 school year. While regular in-person learning is far superior for most students, there’s a good argument to be made for expanding course offerings online."
6th Apr 2021 - The Globe and Mail

CDC survey highlights concerns with virtual learning

A recent survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention supports what many parents already felt about doing school online from home over the course of several months – concerns that "virtual learning" takes a toll on a child’s mental and emotional health. A recent CDC survey looked at more than 1,200 parents with children between ages 5 and 12. Researchers found those involved with full-time virtual learning or even a hybrid model were more likely to struggle with mental, emotional and physical health. The survey found parents also dealt with emotional distress, job stability issues and child-care worries.
6th Apr 2021 - WRAL.com

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How COVID distance learning hurt California English learners

More than 1.1 million students in California, nearly 20%, are considered English learners. By almost every measure of academic success — graduation rates, college preparation, dropout rates, state standards — these students rank among the lowest-achieving groups. And that was before pandemic-forced campus closures. One year later, this massive population of students is at great risk of intractable educational loss, experts said. “It’s an educational pandemic,” said Martha Hernandez, director of Californians Together, a nonprofit that advocates for English learners. “We already had issues of an achievement gap, opportunity gaps, lack of access, lack of equity. Now that’s just exacerbated, and it will be a huge challenge. It will have a big impact for many, many years.”
5th Apr 2021 - Los Angeles Times

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Teaching in the hall of mirrors: should faculty ever mention appearance?

In a traditional classroom, teachers and students didn’t have to see themselves while learning was taking place. That power of invisibility could be liberating, allowing everyone to focus on the subject matter. Now, people are learning in environments more akin to ballet studios, in which everyone can see themselves. The issue of appearance is almost impossible to avoid. Holding up mirrors to ourselves can be uncomfortable. And with teleconferencing technologies such as Zoom, the ugly behaviour of teachers might also be on display. For example, a video went viral recently that showed an instructor berating a disabled student. In this case, having the camera on made visible the abuse of authority, just as it might reveal a lack of deference from students joining class from beds or cars. To imagine alternatives to the surveillance paradigm, educators should pay attention to why young people are using platforms that allow social interaction without visual scrutiny.
31st Mar 2021 - Times Higher Education (THE)

Virtual classes make hunt for missing students harder

A year into the pandemic, the struggle with chronic absenteeism exacerbated by virtual schooling is being felt across the country. Data showing higher levels of absenteeism have increased concerns that school closures and a turn to remote learning will widen academic achievement gaps between poor students and others. It's not necessarily long-term absences from school that are most worrying to school officials. According to the Georgia Department of Education, "missing more than five days of school each year (...) begins to impact student academic performance."
31st Mar 2021 - CNN

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Parents get to choose online or in-person for their children for 2021-2022 school year

School boards across the country have been planning for the next school year and many have decided to continue with online learning. Both Edmonton public and Catholic school boards announced they will continue to offer online classrooms in the new school year. Edmonton Public Schools said it offered a choice for the first half of the year and if a full return to in-person learning is not possible for the second half, families will once again select their preferred learning option.
30th Mar 2021 - Global News

Virtual school resulted in 'significant' academic learning loss, study finds

After a year of school closings and distance learning amid the coronavirus crisis, more than half of public school K-12 teachers said the pandemic resulted in a “significant” learning loss for students, both academically and from a social-emotional standpoint, according to a report by Horace Mann. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also suggested that virtual learning “might present more risks than in-person instruction related to child and parental mental and emotional health and some health-supporting behaviors.”
30th Mar 2021 - CNBC

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Digital Education Center To Allow Virtual Learning Indefinitely

In Maryland, to help accommodate students who have discovered throughout the coronavirus pandemic that they actually learn better virtually from home, the Howard County Public School System will be creating a Digital Education Center. The Digital Education Center is intended to function as an additional, separate, full-time kindergarten through 12th grade virtual center, which will continue to operate even after fully in-person learning resumes across the district, explained HCPSS Superintendent Michael Martirano during a recent work session.
29th Mar 2021 - Patch.com

How parents are climbing the virtual academic curve with child-led learning methodologies

Traditional education underwent monumental changes from the time the pandemic closed schools a year ago. Amidst such challenging times, there were parents who saw it as an opportunity to bring about a change in their approach to parenting. They climbed the virtual learning curve with child-led learning methodologies, homeschooling techniques and other alternative learning methods. As an educator, Chennai-based Vaishali BK has seen a growing interest among parents in homeschooling/child-led learning during the past one year.
29th Mar 2021 - The Hindu

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Non-White Students Twice As Likely To Desire Virtual Internships, Jobs Upon Graduation

The global pandemic continues to reveal important new insights and amplify pre-existing challenges and inequities in education. And few statistics are more revealing on this point than these: non-white college students are more than twice as likely to desire a virtual internship (27% are ‘extremely interested’) compared to white students (12% ‘extremely interested), and they are also more than twice as likely to say they are extremely interested in taking a fully remote job upon graduation (22% non-white vs. 10% white). These findings from the latest college student survey as part of Inside Higher Ed’s Student Voice initiative provide us all with an awful lot to unpack here. There could be any number of drivers behind these astounding differences by race on student interest in virtual internships and fully remote jobs. These findings beg for more research and understanding.
28th Mar 2021 - Forbes

CDC Study: Virtual School Can Be Damaging To Children’s Mental Health

Virtual instruction may pose more risks to the mental health and wellness of children and parents than in-person learning, according to a study published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More support may be needed to deal with the effects of the pandemic. Parents whose children received virtual instruction or a combination of virtual and in-person instruction were more likely to report increased risk on 11 of 17 indicators of child and parental well-being, according to the new CDC study.
28th Mar 2021 - CBS Baltimore

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Ontario government considers making virtual learning permanent

Two of Ontario’s teachers’ unions say the provincial government is considering making virtual learning a permanent fixture of the post-pandemic world. The minister of education didn’t rule out the option and says no decisions will be made without first consulting with all stakeholders.
26th Mar 2021 - Yahoo News

Wrexham school's virtual reading sessions help students' progress and wellbeing

Students at Ysgol Bryn Alyn, in Gwersyllt have not let the pandemic stand in the way of their reading progress, by taking part in virtual one-to-one reading sessions with dedicated reading coaches during lockdown. Each day, participating students meet with their coaches for 20 minutes to read the sometimes gruesome and often funny, Kay's Anatomy - a non-fiction science book by Adam Kay. Deputy headteacher Alison Kipping is delighted with the impact of the sessions. She said: "Encouraging reading of all our students is a key to developing successful learners. Maintaining provision at home for our vulnerable learners is part of our innovative online learning provision at Ysgol Bryn Alyn, which is ensuring students are receiving high quality provision at home that matches our in-school provision
26th Mar 2021 - The Leader

COVID-19 remote learning is an opportunity to adopt active learning in STEM

Research published in Cell suggests online teaching presents an opportunity to develop and integrate new active learning approaches in STEM. The research team, led by Dr Stefano Sandrone and Dr Gregory Scott from Imperial College with colleagues from Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania, advocate a global adoption of active learning in STEM education. Integrating active learning tools into teaching practice has the potential to transform long-term educational practice in-person and online as well as improving standards of educational delivery.
25th Mar 2021 - imperial.ac.uk

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Students of color more likely to be learning virtually during pandemic: survey

Students of color are more likely to be engaged in virtual learning this year as more schools reopen for in-person classes, according to data released Wednesday by the Department of Education. The survey, the first in the department's series of national studies on learning during the coronavirus pandemic, measured attendance and method of instruction among fourth and eighth graders nationwide as of January into early February. At the time, about 68 percent of Asian students were only learning remotely, as well as 58 percent of Black students and 56 percent of Hispanic students. Comparatively, just 27 percent of white students were receiving all-virtual instruction.
25th Mar 2021 - MSN.com

A year of online classes, exams: COVID-19 prompts shift to 'new normal' in teaching and learning

A year of learning in 'smartphone class rooms' and appearing for 'WhatsApp exams', virtual campus tours to Zoom placement drives and ultimately massive increase in 'screen time', the last academic session will go down in history as beginning of the "new normal" prompted by coronavirus-induced lockdown. While students miss going to schools or colleges, experts say the "new normal" has opened doors for blended learning which is going to stay in the future and is not just a "stop gap arrangement". The new normal also exposed the digital divide in the country where students, parents and teachers scrambled to find ways for those who did not have access to internet or digital devices.
24th Mar 2021 - The New Indian Express

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AP-NORC poll: Learning setbacks a top concern for parents

Parents across the U.S. are conflicted about reopening schools. Most are at least somewhat worried that a return to the classroom will lead to more coronavirus cases, but there’s an even deeper fear that their children are falling behind in school while at home. Sixty-nine percent of parents are at least somewhat concerned that their children will face setbacks in school because of the coronavirus pandemic, including 42% who say they’re very or extremely worried about it, according to a new poll from The University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
23rd Mar 2021 - Associated Press

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'This is the future': 16 new virtual public schools approved in past year to operate in Iowa; pandemic speeds growth

Since March of last year, the Iowa Department of Education has approved 14 new virtual public schools. But many say the pandemic only accelerated a trend toward online school that has been growing for decades. This school year may have unearthed a new understanding of virtual learning for many Iowa families that hadn't tried it before — and the possibility that more students will learn online next fall in one of the 16 virtual schools that have received state approval in the past 12 months.
22nd Mar 2021 - Iowa City Press Citizen

Students, teachers and parents climb the virtual learning curve

A year after schools statewide were forced to close their doors by a rampant virus, teachers and students alike have learned a ton about how to do online learning. Yet while studies have shown substantial learning loss during the pandemic, especially for students of color, local leaders expect some virtual learning will be with us for a while even as the vaccine reduces the toll of COVID-19 and more students return to classrooms. Rockford Superintendent Michael Shibler recently emailed parents that the district will continue to offer Rockford Virtual next school year, citing “very positive” feedback from parents.
22nd Mar 2021 - School News Network

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Learning from Lockdown: During COVID, a few education changes were for the better

The closing of schools across the U.S. has been a disaster for most students, families and teachers. But in some places, educators are making things work, and even finding ideas that could outlast the pandemic and transform schooling for the better. Earlier this year, The Seattle Times reported on how a strategy called acceleration is moving all children ahead in the Highline School District, and took a look at a learning center created by the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe and the Port Angeles School District. Today, as part of the collaboration, we are printing a story by The Hechinger Report — a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education — that looks at how schooling may change forever even after the pandemic ends.
21st Mar 2021 - Seattle Times

A year after COVID shut schools, students and teachers share what shook them — and what strengthened them

From grade school to graduate school, developing young minds in close physical proximity halted abruptly in mid-March 2020. What happened next to schools and families was devastating and electrifying, thought-provoking and quieting, unifying and isolating. Homes became entire worlds. Working parents juggled daytime teaching. College students studied from childhood bedrooms. Millions of kindergarteners started school in a format previously unfathomable: on Zoom. Teachers shifted to nurturing and encouraging through screens — with little training. Many hunted down students in person to ensure they were safe, fed and outfitted with resources to learn
21st Mar 2021 - USA Today

As U.S. schools shuttered, student mental health cratered, Reuters survey finds

As public school closures stretched into a full year, students across the United States many times encountered short-term or lasting mental health harm. Teachers were affected, too, Reuters found in a national survey of school districts. Nearly 90% of responding districts cited higher rates of absenteeism or disengagement, metrics commonly used to gauge student emotional health. The lack of in person education was a driver of these warning signs of trouble, more than half of districts said. The stresses didn’t affect only students: 57% of responding districts reported an increase in teachers and support staff seeking assistance.
21st Mar 2021 - Reuters

Covid closures: how teachers adapted to working remotely

During the first lockdown, teachers had to pull remote learning solutions out of a hat, says Mark Enser. But, while it’s clear that no amount of digital wizardry can replicate the magic of the classroom, tools such as Zoom have transformed the way we think about pedagogy for good
20th Mar 2021 - TES News

Parents with kids in virtual school are more stressed, some use drugs and alcohol to cope, CDC study shows

Parents with kids stuck home during the pandemic will tell you how stressed they are, but now the CDC has scientific evidence that virtual schooling is taking a real physical and emotional toll — driving some parents to drugs and alcohol to help cope. The findings, published Thursday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suggest that virtual learning “might present more risks than in-person instruction related to child and parental mental and emotional health and some health-supporting behaviors.”
20th Mar 2021 - CNBC

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US schools prepare summer of learning to help kids catch up

After a dreary year spent largely at home in front of the computer, many U.S. children could be looking at summer school — and that's just what many parents want. Although the last place most kids want to spend summer is in a classroom, experts say that after a year of interrupted study, it’s crucial to do at least some sort of learning over the break, even if it’s not in school and is incorporated into traditional camp offerings. Several governors, including in California Kansas and Virginia are pushing for more summer learning. And some states are considering extending their 2021-22 academic year or starting the fall semester early
18th Mar 2021 - The Independent

Remote Schooling Strains Parents and Their Children, CDC Survey Suggests

In the U.S., parents whose children received virtual instruction were more likely to report poorer well-being for themselves and their kids, a federal government survey found. The parents were more likely to report that they were emotionally distressed, concerned about job stability and struggling to balance work and child care if their children were learning virtually, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey released Thursday. Some of the parents also reported the mental and emotional health of their children had worsened, while their physical activity had decreased.
18th Mar 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

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Will Classroom Social Distancing Rules Change?

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Monday that the agency might revise its guidance calling for at least six feet of distancing between students in schools in areas with high coronavirus transmission. But one major stakeholder, the American Federation of Teachers, is staunchly opposed to changing the guidance now and plans to try to persuade the agency not to do so.
17th Mar 2021 - New York Times

How Business School Students Network During Covid: Virtual Hangouts

A key selling point of business schools is their ability to bring together students of various nationalities and backgrounds, who forge friendships in the hallways and lounges that pay dividends decades later. “The network is a close second, if not as important as the academic experience,” says Minya Nance, assistant dean for student experience strategy at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. But in an era of online learning, MBA students are struggling to make such connections—spurring schools around the world to develop new avenues to those crucial relationships via virtual campuses, Slack channels, and Zoom roadshows.
17th Mar 2021 - Bloomberg

Virtual Learning Might Be the Best Thing to Happen to Schools

Our tenuous experiment with virtual schooling could have a silver lining: Some children may end up being more resilient on the other side of the pandemic. Innovating on the fly, navigating uncertainty, maintaining hope for the future, communicating effectively, and relying on networks of people and community resources to overcome challenges are just some of the skills kids are developing during this time. These types of competencies—ones that children of color have typically brought to the classroom with little acknowledgment—are part of what Tara Yosso, an education professor at UC Riverside, calls “community cultural wealth.” The pandemic could usher in an increased appreciation for what students who have faced significant hardships have had to master throughout their life: developing strengths from dealing with an untenable set of challenges. For many students, learning from home can also be healthier than in-person schooling. Deepening one’s bond with parents, for instance, sets foundations for trust and empathy, bolsters cognitive development, and even increases one’s life expectancy.
17th Mar 2021 - The Atlantic

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Families of students with disabilities face new challenges in the era of distance learning

This past year has brought massive change for Oregon and Washington students. For students with both intellectual and developmental disabilities, learning at home brings added difficulties for families, as they’re forced to recreate school environments at home, with unfamiliar tools and without receiving services they’re accustomed to. And as schools are ramping up in-person instruction for students, families are concerned that some children have fallen behind and may not get the support to catch back up. OPB stayed in touch with a few families through the difficulties of the last year to learn more about their recent school experience and the decisions they’ll make going forward.
16th Mar 2021 - OPB News

The teens who clean homes during Zoom classes: juggling work and school in the pandemic

In the U.S., for many teens, a year of the coronavirus has meant not only the loss of in-person learning and time with friends, but added shifts at convenience stores and retail shops to help keep their families afloat during the recession. As kids adapt, many of their teachers and schools are improvising as well, extending deadlines and creating new ways to stay in touch. The huge workload is leaving many students stressed out, and some teachers worry they’re in danger of becoming a statistic: the estimated one out of 20 teens who drop out of high school each year, according to federal data. Jay Novelo, a dean at Tyee high school, near Seattle, was hired to handle student discipline. But with schools closed, his main job is keeping tabs on students and encouraging them to not give up on school.
16th Mar 2021 - The Guardian

Psychologist Says Virtual Learning Has Left Many Kids Anixous, Overwhelmed

A year into the coronavirus pandemic, doctors say they are seeing an increase in students who are struggling with mental health. Dr. Erica Lee is a psychologist at Boston Children’s Hospital. “Kids aren’t really sure how to adapt to remote learning. They can’t pay attention,” she said. “We are seeing a lot of frustration, anxiety, and overwhelmed kids.” Since the pandemic began, the need for mental, behavioral health services has skyrocketed, Lee said, and parents should look for warning signs and some cases seek help.
16th Mar 2021 - CBS Sacramento

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How the pandemic is reshaping education

The coronavirus pandemic upended almost every aspect of school at once. It was not just the move from classrooms to computer screens. It tested basic ideas about instruction, attendance, testing, funding, the role of technology and the human connections that hold it all together. A year later, a rethinking is underway, with a growing sense that some changes may last. “There may be an opportunity to reimagine what schools will look like,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona told The Washington Post. “It’s always important we continue to think about how to evolve schooling so the kids get the most out of it.” Others in education see a similar opening. The pandemic pointed anew to glaring inequities of race, disability and income. Learning loss is getting new attention. Schools with poor ventilation systems are being slotted for upgrades. Teachers who made it through a crash course in teaching virtually are finding lessons that endure.
15th Mar 2021 - The Washington Post

What does educational innovation look like in the post-Covid world?

There is a growing sense that education is on the cusp of significant change. Anthony Seldon’s book, The Fourth Education Revolution, offers a compelling vision for the ways in which artificial intelligence will transform our schools and universities, enabling a more personalised digital experience that will free up teacher time to focus on the emotional, social and physical development of our students. Seldon’s book was published in 2018, in that heady pre-Covid era in which Zoom and Teams were barely in our peripheral vision. Over the last decade, most schools have come a very long way to build capacity and develop expertise in digital learning; however, it has been the more recent and pressing necessities of Covid that will have a lasting and significant impact on education.
15th Mar 2021 - Independent Education Today

The Cost Of COVID: One Year In The Virtual Classroom

Teachers across Connecticut have started to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. And while vaccination brings a sense of hope, it doesn’t erase the traumas they and their students have experienced over the last year of teaching -- a time when many educators had to reinvent what it meant to be in school. “This is really one of the few professions where we’ve really turned around what we’ve done,” said Claudia Tenaglia, a middle school social studies teacher in Hartford. Tenaglia is one of the many educators across the world who were thrown into disarray when teaching went virtual. In Connecticut, the shift happened on March 15, 2020, when Gov. Ned Lamont ordered all schools around the state to shut down as the coronavirus threat grew. At that time, the shutdown was expected to last only two weeks. But it turned out to be just the start to a yearlong journey.
15th Mar 2021 - Connecticut Public Radio

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Coronavirus pandemic restrictions can help or hinder schoolchildren with anxiety disorders

Parents fear children stuck at home for almost a year during the coronavirus pandemic, will lose critical social skills. And children with selective mutism, a severe form of anxiety, will lose even more. As schools reopen, everyone will wear masks, students will sit far apart and teachers may stay behind plastic barriers. In many schools, students will eat at their desks. Forget about normal recess. And parents are concerned about how their children will manage. Virtual learning has helped some children with selective mutism. Students can use chat boxes to communicate. Some upload recordings of themselves, avoiding the anxiety of live participation. For children who’ve adjusted positively to the new learning environment, parents are choosing home school or distance learning over in-person school.
14th Mar 2021 - The Conversation CA

'It's exhausting.' A year of distance learning wears thin

At first, many schools announced it would last only a couple weeks. A year later, the unplanned experiment with distance learning continues for thousands of students who have yet to set foot back in classrooms. Comfortable homes and private tutors have made it easier for those with access. Expectations are higher at some schools than others. And growing numbers of students are being offered in-person instruction at least part time. But students of all backgrounds have faced struggles with technology, the distractions of home life, and social isolation. The Associated Press followed four students on a typical day to find out how they’re coping a year into the coronavirus pandemic.
14th Mar 2021 - ABC news

'Big burden' for schools trying to give kids internet access

When the coronavirus pandemic shut down schools, educators had to figure out how to get kids online. Fast. In a patchwork approach born of desperation, they scrounged wireless hot spots, struck deals with cable companies and even created networks of their own. With federal relief money and assistance from state governments and philanthropists, they have helped millions of students get online for distance learning. Still, a year into the pandemic, millions of others remain without internet because of financial hurdles and logistical difficulties in getting students what they need. There will soon be more money for schools to provide internet, as well as programs that aim to make internet more affordable.
14th Mar 2021 - ABC news

Hamline Anthropology Professor Teaches Virtual Classes In ‘Minecraft’

The pandemic and social distancing have put some separation between us and the rest of the world. That’s especially true at college campuses where many classrooms have been replaced by Zoom. But a professor at Hamline University has found a way for his students to get together that doesn’t involve being in-person, in the classroom or on Zoom. Using the game “Minecraft” to teach anthropology students is a bit of a social experiment, and it took some getting used to. Instead of gathering at the Old Main or Drew Science Center for class, student-avatars gather at the virtual versions of those buildings — buildings that they helped make.
14th Mar 2021 - CBS Minnesota

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 12th Mar 2021

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California schools aren't reopening quite how we expected

Middle and high school students in the Los Angeles Unified School District will head back to campus two days a week in late April or early May, assuming various stars align. Under L.A. Unified’s agreement with teachers, which is similar to those in other large California districts, students will still be taught remotely, but roughly half the time they’ll sit in classrooms on campus, if that makes any sense. Instead of traveling from classroom to classroom for each subject, they will stay with their advisory teacher — in the modern version of homeroom — and learn online from other teachers in other classrooms. Students at home on those days will be in the same virtual classes as those at school, both groups learning online.
11th Mar 2021 - Los Angeles Times

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The Technology 202: Coronavirus relief bill includes $7.6 billion to target the 'homework gap'

The coronavirus relief bill expected to get the final green light today in Congress sets aside $7.6 billion to help students and teachers get online, in an ambitious effort to address the “homework gap.” The pandemic exacerbated long-running inequality in access to the Internet throughout the United States. The funding will allow elementary schools, high schools and libraries to purchase Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, and routers for students, and also fund the Internet service that those devices use. It will be distributed through the FCC’s E-rate program, which has long helped schools and libraries obtain affordable Internet access.
10th Mar 2021 - Washington Post

Love in Music offers virtual instrumental music classes

Since October of last year, the Love in Music Santa Ana Branch has been holding virtual music lessons every week. Love in Music, a nonprofit public charity organization based in Southern California, has been providing children from under-served families with free music education for nearly 14 years. The organization’s high school volunteers teach children the basics of their instruments and foster their love for classical music. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Love in Music has had to put traditional in-person classes on hold and move lessons online for the 2020-21 season. Despite this drastic shift, both students and teachers have continued to make the most of their resources and demonstrate their dedication to music.
10th Mar 2021 - Los Angeles Times

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Delhi Government To Introduce Virtual Model Of Education; Chief Minister Says ‘Dream Project’

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Tuesday announced the government’s plans to introduce a first-of-its-kind “virtual model of education”. The initiative is an outcome of education going online over the last year in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic. Sisodia said the “unique experiment” would make education accessible to students in any part of the country, or even globe. “The Delhi government has decided to introduce a new category of schools in Delhi, the Virtual Delhi Model School, that is, a school that will not have four walls or a building, but there would be children, teachers, learning, examinations and assessments, and studies shall be completed. It will be a unique experiment in itself, and will probably be the first virtual school in the world."
9th Mar 2021 - NDTV

Remote learning shows the power of the cloud to transform education

Using a range of cloud-based applications and tools, educators have delivered online lessons, set assignments, shared educational resources, marked assessments and communicated with both students and parents. “The pandemic has raised awareness of the vast range of digital options and materials available to support education, leading to an increase in innovation and specific tools,” says Jonathan Seaton, chief executive and co-founder of Twinkl Educational Publishing, an online academic publisher. However, a survey by the UK’s National Union of Students found shortcomings in this e-learning, with 38 per cent of student respondents saying they were unhappy with the quality of their online learning provisions and 27 per cent experiencing inadequate access to academic resources online.
9th Mar 2021 - Financial Times

Not working: More US moms dropped out in remote-school states

Women have dropped out of the U.S. workforce at a faster pace in states where most students are learning from home, risking a reversal of decades of gendered advancement. Before the pandemic, the participation rate of mothers in the labor force was about 18 percentage points lower than fathers’. From 2019 to 2020, the gap widened by 5 points in states offering mostly remote instruction, and shrunk less where traditional school continued, according to a paper slated to publish soon in Gender and Society, a peer-reviewed academic journal. “The fear in the pandemic, in the context of parenthood, was that the added care giving burden as a result of school and daycare closures was going to land primarily on women’s shoulders” said Caitlyn Collins, an assistant professor of sociology at Washington University in St. Louis, and an author of the paper. “Unfortunately, that is exactly what research has found.”
9th Mar 2021 - AlJazeera

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Could virtual learning continue post-COVID? For some students, the answer may be yes

Howard County, Maryland, schools Superintendent Michael Martirano believes the coronavirus pandemic has taught the system several lessons. The biggest one, which he’s repeated for the past 11 months, is that “there’s more to the educational process than curriculum” — something he says when emphasizing the importance of in-person learning. However, he also recognizes there are some kids in the 57,000-student school system who have fared better in a virtual environment than they did before the pandemic.
8th Mar 2021 - Yahoo News

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Attention in e-classes wanes after 40 minutes, says survey

In India, after almost a year of remote learning, experts mapping the academic impact of that shift have noticed a reduced attention span among children attending e-classes. A survey of 200 Marathi schools conducted by the Bharatiya Shikshan Mandal (BSM) in Pune showed that students got bored after 40 minutes of the online teaching sessions. The research also highlighted lack of internet and background disturbances as challenges during online education.
7th Mar 2021 - Times of India

Students are struggling to read behind masks and screens during COVID, but ‘expectations are no different’

Too many children may be falling behind in the reading game during the pandemic, teachers and experts say. The USA TODAY Network visited a handful of classrooms in different states to see how schools are adapting at a time when the teachers' axiom about students learning to read in early grades so that they can read to learn the rest of their lives has never been put to a greater test. Lost time from when schools shut down, inconsistent schedules since then, the limitations of teaching over video conference or even in person with masks and social distancing — these handicaps are likely to have a greater effect on children learning to read than those at other grade levels, said Anjenette Holmes, a professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Picard Center for Child Development & Lifelong Learning.
7th Mar 2021 - USA Today

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 5th Mar 2021

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West Lothian schools have made huge strides in quality of remote learning

Councillors and teaching officials have praised the “huge strides” forward in the quality of remote learning delivered by schools across West Lothian during the latest lockdown. In older primary age children what had most impressed was the way that the age group had positively engaged with remote learning. The only downside had been from the children who prefer to learn in school environments. At secondary level that feeling of wanting to be with the peer group was also reflected in responses frompupils as was the need for access to practical lessons in senior subjects.
4th Mar 2021 - MSN.com

As schools reopen, Asian American students are missing from classrooms

As school buildings start to reopen, Asian and Asian American families are choosing to keep their children learning from home at disproportionately high rates. They say they are worried about elderly parents in cramped, multigenerational households, distrustful of promised safety measures and afraid their children will face racist harassment at school. On the flip side, some are pleased with online learning and see no reason to risk the health of their family.
4th Mar 2021 - The Washington Post

1 in 3 N.J. students could need ‘strong support’ after virtual learning, state data says

An optional exam that about 90,000 New Jersey students participated in this fall suggests that roughly 1 in 3 may need “strong support” academically after spending months away from the classroom. It’s only one test with a small sample size — about 10% of the students who typically participate in state exams — but the results of the state’s “Start Strong” assessments offer the first official state data on how the coronavirus pandemic has affected student learning.
4th Mar 2021 - NJ.com

Living and Learning in a Virtual World

We’ve come a long way in recent years with the introduction of various online learning platforms and more diversified course content. We’re truly living in a virtual world and this has become even more apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic. Physical distancing is currently the norm and it has infiltrated all aspects of our lives, including the way we learn. The delivery of virtual learning has been put to the test as we navigate the demands of educating students outside of the walls of the classroom. The results of this experiment have yet to be revealed and there are many unanswered questions still hanging in the balance.
4th Mar 2021 - Psychology Today

Professors need to make their virtual classes more inclusive

As we progress through another semester of virtual learning, it’s vital that college professors create an equitable learning environment. An equitable classroom is perhaps one of the most important components of online learning and can be defined simply as giving the students what they need to succeed in a particular course. However, what each student needs varies based on their lives. There is no way for a professor to know what a student needs unless they ask. Student surveys are a great way for professors to gain the information about the obstacles their students face that’s necessary for making their virtual classroom more equitable.
4th Mar 2021 - The Daily Orange

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How Virtual Learning Is Falling Short on Preparing Students for Future Careers

The shift to widespread virtual learning has made it clear that students need more help with certain skills that will likely be essential to the digital workplace of the future. For instance, more than 60 percent of educators thought students needed more help learning how to work independently, manage their time, and/or show self-motivation. More than half of educators said their students needed to get better at paying attention in a remote context. Also high on the list: communicating and collaborating in a virtual context.
3rd Mar 2021 - Education Week

Bill Would Allow Maryland Students To Enroll In Tuition-Free, Public Virtual School

As some Maryland students begin to head back to the classroom nearly a year after the COVID-19 pandemic began, some state lawmakers have introduced legislation that would give students the option to take part in a full-time online public school program.
3rd Mar 2021 - CBS Local

In virtual classrooms, UW–Madison instructors find meaningful ways to connect with students

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic forced many courses online last year, UW–Madison instructors have been investing great thought and effort into making their virtual classrooms engaging and inclusive. A campus project is now collecting some of those stories. The project provides a forum for instructors to share what has worked for them while spotlighting some of the hard work undertaken by faculty members during a challenging time. “While we look forward to the end of the global pandemic, it has forced us to rethink how we work with our students,” says Steve Cramer, vice provost for instructional continuity and academic affairs. “As difficult as this time has been for everyone, I truly believe most instructors will come out of this time as better and more effective teachers.”
3rd Mar 2021 - news.wisc.edu

CoSN2021: Tips to Support Students with Special Needs in Virtual Learning

Special-needs education has traditionally taken a predominantly student-to-teacher, face-to-face approach. But when K–12 schools switched to virtual formats last year, students with special needs had to rely more heavily on parents and teams to succeed. “Continuity of learning for students with disabilities and support for their families and teachers are critical,” said Christy Carucci, director of special education in Northwest Tri-County Intermediate Unit 5, to a CoSN2021 audience attending a session titled “Continuity Planning for Special Needs Students in a Virtual World.”
3rd Mar 2021 - EdTech Magazine

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Teacher Transforms Old Treehouse into Stunning Virtual Classroom: It 'Has Made My Year'

Nellie Williams of Fairfax, Virginia, says she is "up a tree" at school — and she is loving every minute of it! The Haycock Elementary School teacher spent much of the 2019-2020 school year teaching remotely. Over the summer, Williams learned she would continue teaching out of a virtual classroom to start the 2020-2021 school year and decided to spruce up her daughters' old treehouse into something special. She was able to transform the structure into a bright, inviting classroom complete with insulation, flooring, and Wifi. "My students love it," Williams adds of the reactions she received from her class.
2nd Mar 2021 - PEOPLE.com

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For Some Black Students, Remote Learning Has Offered A Chance To Thrive

In the U.S., middle school is tough for just about everyone, but for Black students like Josh, school can be even harder. That's because, in addition to learning algebra and coping with social awkwardness, they're often navigating an educational system that historically hasn't supported them. In Oregon, where Josh lives, Black students have lower graduation rates. They're also less likely to be identified as "talented and gifted." All that can take a toll on kids. But for some students like Josh, remote learning during the pandemic has offered an escape.
1st Mar 2021 - NPR

Online learning is not a compromise — it's the future

The pandemic has forced universities to completely reshape their delivery of learning and teaching. But this shift gives us the opportunity to take stock and reassess fundamental assumptions about how students learn and how universities should teach. There are undoubtedly huge positives to on-campus, face-to-face learning. For certain areas of study, such as dentistry or music, “hands-on” learning is essential. However, we are beginning to understand how to forge and preserve this connection online. Throughout the pandemic online learning has frequently been compared with face-to-face. We need to reframe this debate. It’s not a question of which is better: it’s about what is best for you.
1st Mar 2021 - The Times

5 tips for successful virtual learning, according to a local academic

If you were already a virtual student or had experience working remotely, moving the majority of your activities online has likely been challenging. Here are five tips for virtual learning: Prepare your mind for virtual learning; Decompress from virtual learning; Start a reviewing routine; Take good notes; Protect your eyes
1st Mar 2021 - WDIV ClickOnDetroit

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Does remote learning kill the art of feedback?

Mark Enser is head of geography and research lead at Heathfield Community College in East Sussex. He writes about the ways in which giving feedback to pupils has changed during the pandemic because of virtual learning: "Every lesson, every day, for the past 18 years has involved me getting and giving feedback. Now it feels like I’ve been teaching in a sensory deprivation tank. Whether in live lessons or pre-recorded ones, the quick and automated flow of feedback and response has been stymied as body language is obscured, pupils slowly reach for the unmute button or we try to look through hundreds of pieces of work to glean clues as to what has and has not been learned. And we continue to be ingenious, of course. We find workarounds, we explore new ways of using technology and we make the best of it, but there is no getting away from the fact that it is not as good and it is not as easy."
28th Feb 2021 - TES News

School cooks up a treat with virtual half term holiday club as head praises staff's handling of pandemic

In England, a primary school cooked up a treat for families by hosting a virtual holiday club over half term. Children at Bury and Whitefield Jewish Primary School enjoyed everything from kids' yoga and street dance sessions to scavenger hunts and scratch games thanks to the online activities hosted throughout last week. Parents and staff at the Unsworth school gave up their time to put on the sessions and even headteacher Claire Simon got involved, showing children how to make her 'staffroom favourite' florentines.
28th Feb 2021 - MSN.com

Unprecedented numbers of students have disappeared during the pandemic. Schools are working harder than ever to find them.

School districts across the U.S. that closed buildings in mid-March in response to the coronavirus pandemic handled the transition to remote learning with varying levels of success. During the disruption, schools lost track of students. Many students who were present in the classroom in early March could not be found online. And others who showed up in the spring haven’t been seen since. Many districts, cognizant of the damage that lost school time can cause, have employed extraordinary efforts to track down students to ensure that they are safe and have devices to learn. Others, like Detroit and Miami, have kept students on rosters even after they failed to show for an entire month. North Dakota began tracking attendance for all schools on a daily basis, and several schools used coronavirus aid to hire family liaisons to find missing students.
28th Feb 2021 - The Washington Post

Global education has permanently changed

Japan has for the most part made the shift to what was initially seen as “emergency remote teaching” but has been slower to adapt to the new education environment compared to other countries, such as South Korea. The experience with shifting rapidly to online education has had a forcing effect, shaking things up that badly needed shaking. It is amazing how Japan can change when absolutely forced to, although Japan could have been more proactive with reforms rather than being forced grudgingly into them. Had it been more experimental with its education prior to COVID-19, the disruption it caused would not have been as painful as it has been for schools, families, companies and society as a whole. There are still problems with virtual classes but for the most part people have become comfortable with them, or at least the idea of them, as they have with teleworking.
28th Feb 2021 - The Japan Times

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 26th Feb 2021

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11 tips to help you make the most of online learning

Most of us are no longer strangers to some form of online learning. During the first lockdown we became a nation of students, whether it was through virtual PE lessons with Joe Wicks or attempting to perfect a new skill while furloughed. But as Covid-19 continues to devastate the economy, with 1.74 million people now out of work, virtual education is more than just the preserve of those wanting to expand their minds. It is also a vital tool in the arsenal of anybody seeking work, with courses on just about anything available to help you land your next job. Here, we have compiled ten top tips on how you can get ahead when it comes to online learning.
25th Feb 2021 - Big Issue

Could Ed Tech and Virtual Learning Help Schools ‘Go Green’?

Every year, the Environmental Protection Agency releases a report detailing solid waste generation, greenhouse gas emissions and landfilling across the U.S., and paper waste in schools and the public sector has been a key concern. In 2018, the most recent year for which complete data is available, paper products comprised the largest proportion of municipal waste at over 23 percent. However, the EPA saw a decline in paper waste from 87.7 million tons in 2000 to 67.4 million tons in 2018 as work increasingly moved online. Whether institutions were recycling paper or avoiding it altogether by going digital, paper waste has been cut drastically over the past decade. Now ed tech experts say the massive virtual shift that occurred as a result of coronavirus school closures could help schools reduce their carbon footprint even further.
25th Feb 2021 - Government Technology

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“It’s Changed My Teaching” - The Remote Education Environment

Education has continued throughout the UK’s COVID-19 lockdowns and in light of the government’s plans to bring all pupils back to the classroom on March 8th in England, I’ve spoken to a Science teacher about the challenges posed and opportunities provided by online learning. Dr Naorin Sharmin is a Science teacher, Year 12 tutor and Learning Leader. She has been one of the many teachers who have been working tirelessly to move education online. With all lessons now being run through Google Meet, Dr Sharmin spoke about the ways in which she has changed her style of teaching in order to adapt to this new medium of education: she engages students by asking “lots of questions”, which makes for a more interactive online experience.
24th Feb 2021 - The Argus

SMU president believes virtual learning could be a long lasting legacy of COVID-19

Around a year ago, the world started changing in ways many of us couldn't have imagined possible at the time. As the pandemic ramped up, governments, businesses and schools turned to the internet to implement increased online shopping, working and learning. And according to the president of Saint Mary's University, the digital component of education will be long lasting legacy of COVID-19. "We've been in a virtual operation for almost a year," Dr. Robert Summerby-Murray told NEWS 95.7 fill-in host Jordi Morgan. "The result of that learning has been more investment into the digital environment and a better understanding of what virtual learning looks like."
24th Feb 2021 - HalifaxToday.ca

Compounding failure: Virtual learning setting students on dangerous course

Data shows many students in Kern County are struggling with virtual learning. Failing grades nearly doubled this Fall -- compared to last Fall. There are a lot of factors. Some kids don't have a quiet place to learn. Others have a bad internet connection. Some don't have anyone else home to keep them focused or to help when they're confused. "With distance learning you can't just ask the teacher to help you," one young student said. Many students are struggling to learn in the virtual classroom. In Kern County it's leading to a significant increase in failure.
24th Feb 2021 - Bakersfield Now

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Who am I now? How the academic identity changed through Covid

When dramatic change takes place, it is inevitable to ask questions about identity. Covid-19 has certainly provoked us to ponder “Who are we now?” after we’ve been forced to adapt to online learning and teaching approaches almost overnight, pushing most of us to our limits. Previously, live lectures allowed chats before and after lectures – interactions that we and our students thrive on. Now, our lectures are often pre-recorded, scripted, bite-size and accessible for students on demand. Scripting and recording lectures in such a format requires different skills and technical videography know-how for editing.
23rd Feb 2021 - Times Higher Education

The best apps and tools to help students with distance learning

When I was sent home from school in March at the onset of the pandemic, I didn't realize I'd be learning remotely for almost a year. As a low-income student living in a two-bedroom apartment, I encountered unexpected challenges in virtual learning and feared I wouldn't keep up academically. Knowing I had to adapt to a new learning model, I quickly scoured the web for the best resources to succeed in remote learning. I already used many of the apps, but found unexpected new ways to use them. I learned I don't need to compromise my sleep or mental health to succeed in an online curriculum. By taking my education into my own hands and making a few adjustments to how I learn, I put my mother's words into action: to salir adelante, or get ahead. As I finish my last semester of high school, these eight apps have made distance learning easier during a time of dramatic upheaval.
23rd Feb 2021 - Business Insider

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In World of Online Learning, Students of Color Are Getting Left Behind

All over the Delaware Valley, parents have struggled with the coronavirus pandemic and online learning. Education experts fear that virtual learning will widen the education gap even further between students of color and the white students who tend to come from better socioeconomic backgrounds. So far, attendance records for the Red Clay School District and the School District of Philadelphia show a drop in attendance during the virtual learning period for students of color – while in some cases attendance actually improved for white students.
22nd Feb 2021 - NBC 10 Philadelphia

One professor takes his virtual classes on the road

This generation of students is more than familiar with remote learning. But, what about “extreme remote learning?” Troy Hale, a professor of practice at Michigan State University, came up with the idea to keep his students engaged through the screen. “I kind of looked at it in a different way,” Hale said. “How do we take advantage of this?” With the ability to pre-record his classes, Hale fixed up a camper, loaded up his cat, and set off to film his series “Professor on the Road”. Hale hopes he can help his students see this pandemic not as a stop in the journey, just a detour.
22nd Feb 2021 - KLKN

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 22nd Feb 2021

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How virtual field trips are bringing animals, art, music and more directly to students

The coronavirus pandemic has stopped many classes from venturing out on trips and halted groups making in-school visits, but some Canadian cultural institutions are revamping their educational programming to offer virtual field trips that reach students in nearby neighbourhoods, across the country and beyond. Among her childhood artistic inspirations, spoken word artist and singer I.M.F. recalls visitors at her school assemblies. Seeing performers and spoken word artists at a young age boosted her confidence to pursue that path; she's hoping to come full circle with virtual field trip experiences she's taken part in this month with the Art Gallery of Ontario.
21st Feb 2021 - CBC.ca

More teachers are asked to double up, instructing kids at school and at home simultaneously

Simultaneous teaching — also called simulcast or concurrent — is what many districts across the U.S. have settled on in an attempt to solve the logistical jigsaw puzzle involved in bringing back some students for in-person instruction while others continue learning from home. And it’s about to get ramped up in dramatic fashion. Under pressure from President Biden and governors, and facing mounting evidence that schools can reopen if safety measures are followed, districts in the Washington region and nationwide are embarking on the difficult mission of returning hundreds of thousands of children to classrooms that have been shuttered for nearly a year
21st Feb 2021 - The Washington Post

Remain Virtual or Move to Hybrid Learning? Parents Face Tough Choices

The debate on when to send students back to school has been heated for almost a year now. With many Northern Virginia school districts set to expand hybrid learning to more students, parents are making tough choices about what to do with their kids. What's best for one school district might not be best for another. In fact, what's best for one student might not what's be best for their own sibling. "I am parenting two extremely different human beings, and their needs are different," said Arlington County parent Lara Daly-Sims, "and that's why you'll see that I have a different decision for each of them."
20th Feb 2021 - NBC4 Washington

Learning as avatars may become new school norm in Japan

Virtual reality (VR) classrooms may become the new normal for schools of the future, given that some universities have already begun experimenting with classes using student avatars in school buildings created in virtual spaces. With online learning becoming more widespread amid the prolonged novel coronavirus crisis, the virtual classroom paradigm is attracting attention as it is easier to raise students’ sense of participation than with videoconferencing or watching videos. The system makes it possible to switch between spaces. The class experienced a series of 360-degree worlds based on actual images, including the laboratory, the campus, and the shopping street in front of the university.
20th Feb 2021 - The Japan News

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'You and your friends are making history': Mom's post on virtual learning goes viral

A mother's viral post explaining how she's encouraged her son through remote learning is hitting home for parents on Facebook. Christine Derengowski, a writer from Michigan, shared with her followers the unique perspective she gave her 7-year-old son when he was recently struggling with an assignment. "I said, 'You won’t get in trouble and you can’t fail first grade. In fact, you’re kind of a superhero yourself,'" Derengowski wrote in the Facebook post. "I said, 'Do you know that no kids in the history of kids have ever had to do what you’re doing right now? No kids in the history of kids have ever had to do school at home, sitting in their bedroom, watching their teacher on a computer. You and your friends are making history.'"
18th Feb 2021 - ABC news

DIY education: Greek teacher creates TV classes for inmates

Setting up a television channel from scratch isn’t the most obvious or easiest thing for a math teacher to do — especially without prior technical knowledge and for use inside a prison. But that is exactly the task Petros Damianos, director of the school at Greece’s Avlona Special Youth Detention Center, took on so his students could access the lessons that coronavirus lockdowns cut them off from. Greek schools have shut, reopened, and closed again over the past year as authorities sought to curtail the spread of the virus. Like their peers across much of the globe, the country’s students adapted to virtual classes.
18th Feb 2021 - Associated Press

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Brent's teachers, parents and pupils on school in lockdown

Headteachers, parents and pupils in Brent have spoken of their frustration with virtual teaching and learning, which is "stressful" and "tedious". Newman Catholic College headteacher Daniel Coyle explained his school accommodates around 55 children in these categories, while another 800 pupils are taught virtually at home. Mr Coyle said: “We are desperate to get back to school. Teaching is at heart a human activity and is rooted in the quality of our human relationships. Remote teaching does not support this principle.” He continued: “However, the health of our nation must come first. If we have to maintain this provision until Easter, then teachers will continue to do their best.”
17th Feb 2021 - Brent & Kilburn Times

This AI reads children's emotions as they learn

Before the pandemic, Ka Tim Chu, teacher and vice principal of Hong Kong's True Light College, looked at his students' faces to gauge how they were responding to classwork. Now, with most of his lessons online, technology is helping Chu to read the room. An AI-powered learning platform monitors his students' emotions as they study at home. The software, 4 Little Trees, was created by Hong Kong-based startup Find Solution AI. While the use of emotion recognition AI in schools and other settings has caused concern, founder Viola Lam says it can make the virtual classroom as good as — or better than — the real thing. Students work on tests and homework on the platform as part of the school curriculum. While they study, the AI measures muscle points on their faces via the camera on their computer or tablet, and identifies emotions including happiness, sadness, anger, surprise and fear.
17th Feb 2021 - CNN

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Minnesota schools plan to continue virtual learning options in fall 2021

Stillwater Public School leaders have helped many of their staff get vaccinated. They’ve reopened their elementary schools for in-person learning. But as they plan for the next academic year, they are still planning to make online learning a part of regular life. “Those are the questions we are asking on a daily basis: What is next year going to look like?” said Carissa Keister, spokesperson for Stillwater Area Public Schools. “We’re hoping that we can be back to a more regular schedule and get our kids in front of our teachers every day. We know that’s what’s best for them. But we certainly know we have to plan for anything, which is the one thing we have learned this year.”
16th Feb 2021 - Minnesota Public Radio News

Virtual learning works for some kids, so N.J. district will offer new hybrid program next fall

A South Jersey school district has announced plans to offer a hybrid remote and in-person instruction curriculum to about 100 top-achieving high school students in the fall. The plan is to offer the combination of remote classes and in-school instruction even if state emergency orders that allowed remote instruction during the coronavirus pandemic response are repealed, officials said.
16th Feb 2021 - NJ.com

The future of online learning: the long-term trends accelerated by Covid-19

For Prof John Domingue, director of the Open University’s pioneering research and development lab, the Knowledge Media Institute (KMI), the “online genie” is out of the bottle and won’t go back in. “It’s slightly galling to see some universities trying to replicate online almost exactly what they delivered face-to-face before Covid. Standing before a camera and broadcasting is not online teaching. You need to do things differently,” he says. So what can universities undertake to make online learning more than just a heavy focus on streaming and recording technology? Domingue points to artificial intelligence (AI) and the concept of an online library for educators based on a Google search engine dedicated to education, and a Netflix-style recommendation tool that tracks down content to suit a lecturer’s own field, based on previous searches.
16th Feb 2021 - The Guardian

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Virtual learning is stressing students out

A new study from NBC News and the nonprofit Challenge Success looked at 10,000 students across the country and found that virtual learners are more stressed, working longer hours, and getting much less sleep than their peers who go to the classroom at least one day a week. There’s no easy answer for how to get all students back in the classroom in the middle of the pandemic, and the study’s authors aren’t necessarily arguing that all students should go back right away. But they did say that the need to figure out a solution is “urgent.” And the numbers definitely make it seem that way. More than half of the all students surveyed (remote or not) were more stressed out about school in 2020 than in years past. But 84 percent of remote students said they’ve suffered from exhaustion, headaches, and insomnia this school year.
15th Feb 2021 - MSN.com

Lessons from a Year of School, Interrupted

After a whole year of on-again, off-again schooling in Hong Kong, it’s probably safe to say that schools have entered a new normal during the Covid-19 pandemic, and that the virtual or a hybrid model of teaching is here to stay...perhaps for longer than anyone anticipated. As an educator at The Harbour School (THS), a K to Grade 12 US-curriculum international school based in Ap Lei Chau, this last year has been a ride like no other since I started teaching. Reflecting back on 2020, we have endured much in a year of uncertainty, but there are also valuable lessons learned which I believe will inform and shape the future of education for years to come.
15th Feb 2021 - South China Morning Post

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How remote learning is creating virtual field trips

Even though people aren’t traveling as much as they used to, virtual trips have come to offer an alternative, allowing students to explore the world from home. Marisa LaScala is the parenting and relationships editor with Good Housekeeping. She said online field trips offer the perfect combination of education and fun. There are plenty of options to satisfy young curious minds.
14th Feb 2021 - WPIX

The pandemic’s psychological toll on our children

Katie Peterson has two perspectives when it comes to seeing the psychological toll the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on children. In the evaluations her Eastern Michigan University graduate psychology students are doing for children with learning disabilities, she’s seeing an increase in the number of referrals for teenagers who think they might have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. As the mother of a 15-year-old boy with special needs, she’s seeing her son’s frustration in not having face-to-face interactions with peers and his struggles to focus while learning from a screen.
14th Feb 2021 - MLive.com

Shaftesbury School trials virtual reality course with students

A new type of classroom with a technology focus could be the future of education, with a school in Shaftesbury now leading the way forward as a testing site. Back in October Shaftesbury School launched the ‘Future Classroom’, which transformed the traditional learning environment into a futuristic space with touch screens, a green screen, augmented reality and more. Last week new virtual reality software was introduced to the school, making it the only establishment in Europe testing this particular kit.
14th Feb 2021 - Salisbury Journal

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 12th Feb 2021

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Teachers On The Push To Return To The Classroom

President Biden wants to reopen schools across the country within his first 100 days in office and has already signed executive actions to free up funding and increase personal protective equipment and testing for school districts. This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to release new guidelines about how schools can reopen safely. And on Wednesday, Chicago's teachers' union agreed to restart in-person classes in a deal that includes COVID-19 vaccine priority to teachers and staff who are returning to school buildings. Across the country, teachers are beginning to face the reality of returning to their classrooms in person and all that comes with it
11th Feb 2021 - NPR

Seeds of Literacy needs more tutors to handle influx of students in virtual classroom

As children in Ohio are starting the process of moving back to in-person learning, hundreds of adult students are working towards their own education goals through Seeds of Literacy’s virtual classroom. Staff members there said they desperately need more volunteer tutors to step up and help out. “We made YouTube videos of our lessons. And that was all effective, and now we're able to meet in Zoom, use Zoom breakout rooms for one-on-one lessons with students, so that's been very helpful.” Seeds are looking for more tutors like Cook to teach the basic adult education seeds students need to get their GED or just to simply better themselves.
11th Feb 2021 - News 5 Cleveland

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Learning remotely at Wey Valley Academy in Weymouth

Students at Wey Valley Academy in Weymouth are getting stuck in with their online learning, despite the challenges faced by young people during this lockdown. Since returning to their studies in January, students have attended live lessons in a bid to recreate the classroom and keep their learning on track. Teachers at Wey Valley are delivering online lessons using Microsoft Teams. It means that students can access their expert teachers, continue to ask questions and discuss complex ideas together. Student engagement is excellent with attendance above the national average.
10th Feb 2021 - Dorset Echo

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What does mental-health support look like in Ontario's virtual classrooms?

Last June, the Ontario government announced $10 million in additional mental health support for the 2020-21 school year. Metroland contacted 14 Ontario school boards and each indicated funding has gone toward hiring mental health support staff, including social workers and child and youth-care workers, though the number of staff and their role varies from board to board. While there are opportunities for students to connect directly with these staff, oftentimes it is up to the homeroom teacher to first identify any mental-health issues. "It absolutely is a concern that mental-health issues can really fly under the radar in this virtual learning environment," Lindsay Malloy, an associate professor of Forensic Psychology at Ontario Tech University, said.
9th Feb 2021 - toronto.com

Officials concerned virtual learning stunting early development

Virtual learning is presenting challenges for many of the youngest students and a recent national study shows it could be impacting their level of success. Elementary school provides many of the most important foundations for students; crucial skills like reading, writing and math. There's continued concern the limitations of the virtual setting could be holding those students back. “Parents expressed some very legitimate concerns about students, their mental health, about their safety [and] their inability to perform online,” said Dr. Danny Webb, superintendent of the Everett Area School District. “That’s impacting all of our kids in a different way."
9th Feb 2021 - WJAC Johnstown

One district's creative approach to 'COVID slide?' Night classes for elementary students

In the face of COVID-19, Henry County Schools, a suburban county of 218,000, took a solution adults have been using for decades to further their education and applied it to elementary students: Night classes. The COVID-19 pandemic has upended learning and student life for almost a year now, and across New England, remote learning engagement continues to be one of the greatest challenges, resulting in noticeable achievement gaps. Over summer break, when it became apparent that COVID-related remote learning would play a big part in the upcoming school year, Henry County parents were the ones to request the early evening virtual classes, saying it would enable them to fully supervise their child’s remote learning from home after their own work day.
9th Feb 2021 - Burlington Free Press

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Schools plan for potential of remote learning into the fall

After seeing two academic years thrown off course by the pandemic, school leaders around the U.S. are planning for the possibility of more distance learning next fall at the start of yet another school year. “We have no illusions that COVID will be eradicated by the time the start of the school year comes up,” said William “Chip” Sudderth III, a spokesperson for Durham, North Carolina schools, whose students have been out of school buildings since March. President Joe Biden has made reopening schools a top priority, but administrators say there is much to consider as new strains of the coronavirus appear and teachers wait their turn for vaccinations
8th Feb 2021 - The Independent

Report shows struggles of disadvantaged pupils in lockdown

Pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds found remote learning significantly more difficult than other students last year, a new study has found. Non-profit body ImpactEd monitored 62,000 pupils in England through eight months of 2020 to assess the effect of online schooling during the pandemic. Their report, Lockdown Lessons, found that among pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds – those at schools eligible for the Government’s Pupil Premium grant – only 45% said they understood their schoolwork in lockdown, compared with 57% among other students.
8th Feb 2021 - Belfast Telegraph

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After nearly a year of virtual learning, school psychologists worry about the mental health effects

As students near a year of virtual learning, school psychologists are worried about the mental health effects. Julia Rutkowski, School Psychologist at Muskego High School in Racine, thought her students would love the idea of attending school without having to physically be in school. However, once it became unclear when the lockdown would be lifted, some students began to struggle with the lack of interaction that came with virtual learning. Student support staff try to connect with students that are struggling to suggest positive mental health activities. However, during winter months, there are not many suggestions to give students.
7th Feb 2021 - WMTV - NBC15

Pandemic learning takes another turn: Will teachers be in person in classrooms?

After nearly a year of online learning, parents in the Washington region were thrilled to hear announcements from public schools that in-person learning will resume next month for students who choose it. But families quickly discovered that in-person learning will not necessarily mean sitting in a classroom and being taught by a teacher. Instead, school officials in Maryland and Virginia have been hiring “classroom monitors” who will fill out school staffing — in some cases supervising classrooms as students continue to do online lessons. For some parents, it’s the latest disappointment in pandemic-era learning: more virtual learning, no teacher in the room. School officials across the region say the strategy is necessary to reopen in the near future, while accommodating legitimate requests from teachers who must continue working virtually for health reasons
7th Feb 2021 - The Washington Post

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Virtual learning adds to university students' skills, says economics professor

Online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic has allowed university students to develop a wide array of new skills, says an associate professor of economics at the University of Toronto. Many students thrive on human interaction, but Elizabeth Dhuey says many of her students are benefiting from taking university classes online. "This is really going to help them in the long-term because this is the future of their work," she told Information Morning Moncton.
4th Feb 2021 - CBC.ca

It Takes a Village: How School Librarians Support Virtual Learning

It’s no secret that virtual learning has been a challenge in the United States. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, many K–12 students have been engaged in some version of distance education since March 2020. Whether hybrid or entirely remote, the learning curve has been steep for teachers, caregivers, and students. However, teachers are not alone in their efforts to provide supports to students and families. Across the country, library media specialists are finding innovative ways to support virtual learning. From sharing digital resources to collaborating on instruction, school librarians are stepping up to meet this new challenge.
4th Feb 2021 - Book Riot

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 4th Feb 2021

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The keys to virtual kindergarten? Good planning and puppets ... lots of puppets

Delaware has spent the year pushing schools to offer some form of in-person learning. Students learn better in the classroom, Gov. John Carney has said repeatedly, especially Delaware’s youngest learners. But some of those youngest learners have already opted to study from home for the rest of the school year. At Joe Parrett’s own school, Wilbur Elementary in Bear, only 41% of families chose to return for in-person learning. Parrett and other teachers are left trying to solve a challenge that would have been unheard of a year ago – how do you teach five year olds to read and count through a screen? The answer includes plenty of dance breaks, silly names and voices, perfectly planned slideshows, and lots and lots of puppets.
3rd Feb 2021 - Delaware Online

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Hertingfordbury parents send messages of thanks to school

The staff from a school in Hertingfordbury have been delighted to receive many messages of thanks from parents as remote learning returns in lockdown at the start of 2021. Parents of pupils at St Joseph’s In The Park have sent messages of thanks to teachers for a good start to remote learning as the new year begins in lockdown. The school introduced a custom-tailored distance learning strategy in response to the first lockdown and including using Google Classrooms as a learning platform for Years 1 to 6 to ensure continuity of education and to deliver innovative and engaging lessons. Each week a child from each class is nominated by their teacher to receive the Headmaster’s Award for outstanding work or for their positive attitude to online learning.
2nd Feb 2021 - In Your Area

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Ontario elementary school teacher on the highs and lows of virtual learning

In January, schools in Ontario moved to online learning in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19. Schools in the northern part of the province reopened on Jan. 11, and several more regions will reopen classrooms starting Monday, Feb. 1. Schools in four regions with high numbers of COVID-19 cases, including Toronto and Hamilton, will remain virtual until at least Feb. 10. For elementary school teacher Michelle Davis, the most challenging part of teaching children online isn't the hours of preparation or the new computer programs — it's being a voice of calm for her students. Though most of the work they do is online, Davis is constantly giving her students breaks away from the computer. She encourages them to dance, stretch and even go on scavenger hunts.
1st Feb 2021 - CBC.ca

Kenya: Majority of Universities Not Fit to Offer Virtual Learning

In Kenya, a majority of universities have not complied with accreditation requirements for their virtual learning programmes despite a mandatory stipulation that they acquire new accreditation before offering the courses through blended learning or via e-learning. The new regulations by the Commission for University Education (CUE), the professional body mandated by the Ministry of Education to inspect the quality of university programmes before accrediting them for teaching by the institutions of higher learning in Kenya, aim to ensure that universities offer high quality education institutions around the world shift to virtual learning in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. A preliminary report by the commission shows that most universities, especially the public ones, lack the relevant infrastructure and digital material to support blended learning.
1st Feb 2021 - AllAfrica.com

FETC 2021: Rebuilding Learning Beyond the Classroom

The shift to remote and hybrid learning environments has not been easy for educators to manage. That’s especially the case when their lessons lean heavily on interactive learning approaches. This is a particular challenge for STEM-based educators, who often rely on hands-on learning approaches. Despite this, many have found a way. In a Tuesday session at the 2021 Future of Education Technology Conference, educators highlighted ways that they have been keeping their students on track despite all the changes.
1st Feb 2021 - EdTech Magazine

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Chicago parents say remote learning isn’t working and want their voices heard in a city still grappling with a plan

As the Chicago teachers union and the school district continue to argue over reopening terms for in-person instruction, parents have organized to express frustration with the standoff and make their voices heard. For weeks, the district — third largest in the nation — and union have gone back and forth over what should be done. The union contends that not all schools have been given proper equipment or ventilation, and it wants an agreed-upon Centers for Disease Control and Prevention health metric, among other things. It also said teachers and staff should be able to work remotely, voluntarily coming to work in person, until they receive the vaccine.
31st Jan 2021 - The Washington Post

Here's Why Your Kid Suddenly Clams Up On Camera During Virtual Learning

Hiccups during online learning are to be expected: Dropped internet, slow apps, and frozen screens are all tech issues that come with this new territory. But tech issues are nothing compared to a kindergartener who refuses to speak on camera. Understanding why your kid gets shy and clams up during virtual learning can help ease frustrations, experts say. "'Stage fright' is a common feeling among children when they are expected to give a presentation at school, compete in a sporting event, or perform in a recital. So it's only natural that children may experience similar feelings with cameras on during the virtual school year," Kelly Beck, certified child life specialist (CCLS) with Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, tells Romper.
31st Jan 2021 - Romper

The racial disparities over who is returning to D.C. classrooms puts equity spotlight on reopening plan

Washington D.C. schools are set to reopen this week for the first time in nearly a year, with schools in wealthier wards at maximum capacity while seats remain empty in the city’s poorest neighborhoods, because families there have opted in high numbers to stay home and continue with virtual learning. The partial reopening is a relief to families of all incomes, but the mismatch across the city has teachers and parents questioning whether the city should be pouring resources during the pandemic into an in-person learning program that White students are disproportionately enrolling in. Across the country, Black and Hispanic communities have been hit hardest by the virus, and many of these families have told their school districts they do not feel safe sending their children back to school buildings
31st Jan 2021 - The Washington Post

Keeping Your Students Engaged in the Virtual Classroom

During the current times of social distancing caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, distance learning has become more commonplace. As such, educational institutions, teachers, and other entities in the industry have been doing their best to transition classes online. However, it’s no secret that it’s harder to pay attention to a computer screen than to in-person lectures. There are plenty of distractors that can cause students to lose focus. Educators need innovative approaches that can keep students engaged until the day ends.
31st Jan 2021 - Literacy Daily

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 29th Jan 2021

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COVID schools crisis: Will virtual classrooms catch on?

On Wednesday, Boris Johnson expressed hope that it will be safe to reopen schools in England from 8 March at the earliest. But it's not that straightforward. The full return of face-to-face learning is heavily dependent on the success of the vaccine rollout and a decline in COVID-19 cases. Teachers, parents and pupils have had to re-adjust to remote learning during this lockdown but could online lessons have a permanent place in the education structure in future? On this edition of the Sky News Daily podcast, teacher Mathury Jeganathan shares her experience of swapping the traditional school building for a virtual classroom.
28th Jan 2021 - Sky News

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Where the top US school districts stand with virtual vs. in-person learning

In the effort to balance health, jobs and quality education, the U.S.'s biggest school districts are divided on how to teach students this semester. Of the 20 largest school districts: -- 9 are teaching entirely online. -- 8 offer fully in-person learning and a choice of fully online learning. (Several of these districts are in Florida, where the governor ordered schools to offer classroom learning.) -- 2 have a hybrid plan, with some virtual and some classroom instruction. -- 1 has a combination of plans, depending on the infection rates
27th Jan 2021 - CNN

Virtual teaching during COVID-19 has been fraught with challenges. But it's also led to innovation and growth

Ten months into the global pandemic, physically closing schools and shifting to a virtual learning format has proven laboriously difficult for students, teachers and parents alike. Logistical problems persist, many students are falling behind – especially those who are economically disadvantaged – and it’s nearly impossible to account for the pandemic’s impact on students’ mental health and well-being. But for all the frustrations and hardships – and safety concerns as 52% of elementary students return to in-person classes next week – it’s also been a year of innovation, of resourceful teachers adapting, improving and finding new ways to connect with students, and helping them grow in the process.
27th Jan 2021 - Chesterfield Observer

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Huge £1m gift to help Britain's poorest pupils working from home without pens and books

Today the Mirror launches a campaign to help lockdown pupils with an enormous donation of £1million from Britain’s biggest teaching union. We are aiming to raise much needed cash for kids left working from home without the most basic items such as colouring pens, books and notepads. All the money raised will go towards stationery and essential equipment for younger children still too young for online learning. Our “Help a Child to Learn” campaign aims to help every child get the education they deserve during the Covid crisis.
26th Jan 2021 - Mirror Online

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Students with autism grapple with challenges of virtual learning

Virtual schooling has impacted every family and educator; however, those with children who have autism or other intellectual disabilities have had to face down unique challenges. Parents and guardians have had to take on additional responsibilities, technology has presented its own hurdles, and there is concern about how the absence of in-person communication will affect interpersonal skills. That’s not to say there haven’t been successes. Students with special needs have adapted to the technology, and some have even thrived.
25th Jan 2021 - Metro US

Chicago Said Teachers Needed To Return In Person. The Teachers Voted No

Teachers at Chicago Public Schools were slated to return to the classroom on Monday, in preparation for the return of students to the district's K-8 schools next week. But on Sunday, a majority of the Chicago Teachers Union's membership voted in favor of a resolution to continue to work remotely. The union said 71% of its voting members had voted to conduct remote work only, with 86% voter participation.
25th Jan 2021 - NPR

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After Covid, will digital learning be the new normal?

Will schools continue their digitally enhanced approach, post-pandemic? Investors certainly think so. Global investment of venture capital in edtech more than doubled from $7bn in 2019 to a record $16.1bn in 2020, according to market intelligence consultancy HolonIQ. Others too believe the shift will be permanent. “Covid has given an impetus to schools to adopt, roll out and use more of the functionality of edtech tools,” says Hannah Owen, of the Nesta innovation foundation. “It’s likely, and optimal, that we’ll move to blended models, where remote and digital platforms support in-person classroom teaching, and contribute to minimising teacher workload.” Many school leaders are concerned that more tech-based teaching may add to the relative advantages already enjoyed by wealthier pupils. Research by the Sutton Trust found, for example, that 30% of middle-class pupils were doing live or recorded online lessons at least once per school day, compared to 16% of working-class pupils. Those at private schools were more than twice as likely to do so than those at state schools.
24th Jan 2021 - The Guardian

Teacher turns her dining room into classroom for virtual lessons

Lockdown means many people are creating make-shift offices at home, but one Barnard Castle teacher has gone a step further by turning her dining room into an early years’ classroom. Nic Linsley has recreated her classroom environment in her dining room, which now has dinosaur bunting, phonic visual aids and reading materials so remote lelessons have a resemblance to normality. She said: “It is only the first week but all the parents have been so supportive. We are trying to make lessons as practical as possible so that the children are not sat in front of screens all the time. Having all the visual aids helps the children so they still feel like they are in a classroom.”
24th Jan 2021 - Teesdale Mercury

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 22nd Jan 2021

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Impact of virtual learning on children's eyesight

In Canada, Dina Pugliese speaks with Dr. Ivy Koh, optometrist at Specs and Spines Optometry and Chiropractic, about how online learning and computer screens strain your eyes and how parents can identify if they’re children are struggling with their eyes.
21st Jan 2021 - CityNews Toronto

Rural students facing internet problems with virtual learning

In Canada, Upper Grand District School Board (UGDSB) students will soon be returning to classroom based learning following their second round of virtual, remote classes. While the change to virtual learning for some students living within town hasn’t been a large issue, those who live in rural areas are facing problems due to poor internet connection. Similar to their response last spring the UGDSB has provided students and families with Chromebooks and other devices, internet support, as well as printed packages and asynchronous learning options.
21st Jan 2021 - Yahoo News Canada

Covid-19: More Northern Ireland special schools limit pupil attendance

In Northern Ireland, more special schools have said their pupils can only attend part time for two days a week on a temporary basis. The Education Minister, Peter Weir, decided on 5 January that special schools should remain open for all pupils. Some parents of pupils with special educational needs had previously warned of the damaging impact of school closures on their children during the lockdown from March to June 2020. Attendance data published by the Department of Education (DE) has shown that a significant number of pupils and staff have not been able to attend special schools since the start of the new term in January.
21st Jan 2021 - BBC News

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Education must act on advances made during lockdowns

Jamie Beaton is the founder of Crimson Education and CEO of Crimson Global Academy, New Zealand’s first registered online high school.He writes "The Government must now focus on the opportunities the Covid-19 pandemic has provided our country, not just the threats. In an education sense, we’ve heard about the disruption the pandemic caused to students and teachers, and its impact on assessments. At the same time, many capital projects across schools and universities will be deferred. We’ve heard less about just how clever our education providers and students have been in advancing their digital capability. By that, I mean successfully fast-tracking their ability to educate and learn online."
20th Jan 2021 - Stuff.co.nz

School attendance in England higher than first lockdown

School attendance in England is five times higher than during the first lockdown, official figures show. One in five (21%) primary school pupils and one in 20 (5%) secondary school pupils went into school last week, the Department for Education reports. Only 4% of state primary school pupils and 1% from state secondaries were in school during closures last year. The increase has been driven in part by children without laptops or tablets being allowed to attend school. Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of Schools and Colleges, said schools were "under tremendous pressure" as they juggled pupils learning in school and online.
20th Jan 2021 - BBC News

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Chester academies trust in mission to ensure all Cheshire school pupils have access to laptops

In England, a Chester-based academies trust is spearheading a campaign to help ensure children across Cheshire have access to a laptop for home-schooling. North West Academies Trust decided to act when, despite distributing all school-owned laptops to pupils, an audit revealed there was still a substantial number of children without the necessary equipment to join the virtual classroom. NWAT appealed to fellow schools, businesses and individuals asking them to donate devices which could make a huge difference to families in the area. Now NWAT have extended the campaign with the aim of helping pupils at other local schools across Cheshire and Shropshire. They have offered to pay for used laptops to be reconditioned, and act as a distribution centre.
19th Jan 2021 - The Chester Standard

Māori-medium education thrived during lockdown, leading the education sector by example

In New Zealand, a new report from the Education Review Office found that while schools will feel the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown into 2021, one group in particular thrived: Māori-medium education. The report found some students had lost a term in learning as a result of the lockdown, and the impact would be felt into the 2021 academic year. But the review into Māori-medium education – where students are taught all or some curriculum subjects in the Māori language for at least 51 per cent of the time – found staying connected and using resources creatively, allowed students to succeed. One student who was interviewed for the report said they were able to plan their own learning programme, and their kaiako (teacher), encouraged them to be adventurous.
19th Jan 2021 - Stuff.co.nz

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Poland's youngest return to school as depression rates grow

Poland’s youngest children returned to school on Monday for the first time in over two months but most pupils will remain in virtual classrooms as experts warned of a growing psychological toll. Poland has seen some of the longest school closures in Europe due to Covid-19 but many parents are concerned that children may be returning too soon. Psychologist Beata Trzesniewska said long periods away from the classroom were having a negative effect. “Cases of depression among pupils and students are going up,” she said.
18th Jan 2021 - Macau Business

Free fast broadband offered in UK to support home schooling

Thousands of families struggling with home learning are being offered free high-speed broadband following a partnership between internet provider Hyperoptic and dozens of local authorities across the UK. Families in 37 local authority areas, from Tower Hamlets in London to Newcastle and Leeds that are struggling with remote learning due to poor or no internet will be offered the chance to have a high speed connection installed with no usage charges until the end of the summer term. At that point there is no obligation to stick with the service. Telecoms regulator Ofcom has estimated that more than 880,000 children live in a household with internet access only via mobile phone.
18th Jan 2021 - The Guardian

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Virtual classroom at farm varsity opens

In India, HK Chaudhary, Vice-Chancellor of CSK Himachal Pradesh Agricultural University, inaugurated an ultra-modern virtual classroom facility yesterday. He said that under the prevailing circumstances, it would prove to be a boon to students sitting in the safe environs of their homes. They would no longer miss classes and would also attend virtual practicals too, he added.
17th Jan 2021 - The Tribune India

Maharashtra educator gets award for novel teaching method in lockdown

A Maharashtra teacher, who did not allow coronavirus-induced lockdown to come in the way of continuing his classes for his students in rural areas, has won recognition for his efforts that involved use of conference calls and storytelling. Balaji Baburao Jadhav (35) has been selected for the Honey Bee Network Creativity Inclusive Innovation Award 2020. So far, Jadhav has received more than 70 state, national and international awards. "My project is followed in 20 districts of Maharashtra, 24 states in the country and 14 countries in the world. The benefit of people is my real satisfaction than an award," he said.
17th Jan 2021 - The New Indian Express

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School offering online lessons to support Herefordshire children with home learning

In the UK, a Herefordshire school is launching lessons and free academic assessments to children whose SATS have been cancelled by the coronavirus pandemic. The Elms School in Colwall is offering the assessments, conducted by an experienced team to help identify areas where extra learning support may be needed, to all children, regardless of their connection to the school. The school is also is providing a separate support package for children up to Key Stage Two. Headmaster Chris Hattam said the school is keen to offer this service to families in the county who may be concerned about the virtual learning experience their children are currently receiving.
14th Jan 2021 - Hereford Times

Covid-19: Expat teaching to an empty classroom in UK lockdown

The rapid spread of the new Covid-19 variant has forced the United Kingdom to enter into its third lockdown. Brittney Deguara speaks to Kiwi expats stuck at home, enduring the pandemic and the new wave of restrictions. Throughout the pandemic, expat teacher Paul Tannahill and his colleagues have streamlined their lessons. At first, teachers were recording voice-overs to accompany slide shows, now everything is done through video calls. The new wave of restrictions didn’t impact Tannahill’s life and work too much, but it’s been devastating watching the impact the pandemic has had on his students.
14th Jan 2021 - Stuff.co.nz

Vision problems arise in young school kids in COVID-19 quarantine

The prevalence of near-sightedness, or myopia, increased 1.4 to 3 times in Chinese children aged 6 to 8 years during COVID-19 quarantine, according to a study today in JAMA Ophthalmology. Schools in China were closed from January to May 2020, during which time online learning was offered for 1 hour a day for students in grades 1 and 2 and for 2.5 hours for those in grades 3 to 6. A substantial shift toward myopia (about -0.3 diopters) was identified in the 194,904 test results (389,808 eyes) from 2020 included in the analysis, compared with those from 2015 to 2019 from children ages 6 (-0.32), 7 (-0.28), and 8 (-0.29).
14th Jan 2021 - CIDRAP

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 14th Jan 2021

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These Scotland university lecturers are experts of 'remote learning' after doing it for decades - here's how they do it

Educators at Scotland’s University of Highlands and Islands (UHI) have provided online courses since the early 90s which makes many of them highly experienced in ‘remote learning.’ So much that in the wake of the pandemic, UHI lecturers said they have received requests from other universities asking for advice on the online structure that their careers have survived on for decades.
13th Jan 2021 - The Scotsman

Schools CEO: More students failing in virtual learning

More Baltimore City School students are failing in virtual learning, according to Baltimore City Schools CEO Sonja Santelises. Santelises shared the new figures with the city school board commissioners during Tuesday night's meeting. She says they looked over the first quarter grades of 2019 and compared them to the first quarter of the new school year and found the numbers went up from 38% to 60% among students in grades six through 12. Ninth graders had the biggest percentage of students failing at least one class, according to Santelises. Santelises says students need to go back to school buildings and be with their teachers in person before their losses in learning and education cannot be repaired.
13th Jan 2021 - WBAL Radio

'Teachers are our heroes': Mum praises school staff after Gavin Williamson urges parents to report poor remote learning to Ofsted

In England, a mum has praised a High Wycombe school for its “high quality virtual learning” after parents were asked to report schools to Ofsted if remote lessons were deemed to be poor during the third national lockdown. Natalie Lateu-Robinson said she wants to thank teachers and staff at Wycombe High School, which her daughter attends, after education secretary Gavin Williamson provoked anger by suggesting parents should report schools to Ofsted if they felt the online learning provided was not good enough.
13th Jan 2021 - Buckinhamshire Free Press

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 13th Jan 2021

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‘Be kinder with deadlines’: What teachers learned from remote teaching last time

As teachers take part in another round of remote teaching, many are using the lessons they learned during the previous lockdown to inform their work. We spoke to educators on what works and what doesn’t based on their experiences last year.
13th Jan 2021 - The Irish Times

Virtual learning will stick around after COVID fades

About two in 10 U.S. school districts have already adopted, plan to adopt or are considering adopting virtual learning after the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new RAND Corporation study. The survey of district leaders indicates that virtual learning was the innovative practice that most district leaders anticipated would continue, citing both student and parent demand for continuing various forms of online instruction. District leaders who mentioned plans to continue offer virtual learning and instruction after the COVID-19 pandemic has abated said they want to do so to offer students more flexibility, meet parent or student demand, meet the diversity of students’ needs, and maintain student enrollment
12th Jan 2021 - eSchool News

Covid-19: Williamson promises 300,000 extra laptops

An extra 300,000 laptops and tablets have been bought to help disadvantaged children in England learn at home, says Education Secretary Gavin Williamson. Mr Williamson said the devices would be delivered to schools. He also pledged to publish a remote education framework to support schools and colleges with delivering lessons during the latest national lockdown. It comes as research says children from poorer families are likely to struggle more with remote learning.
12th Jan 2021 - BBC News

British school children in lockdown get hours of free TV education

Parents in Britain may be relieved to hear that the BBC launched its new educational offering on Monday, meaning that school-aged children will be able to access hours of curriculum-based learning on television every day. The broadcaster announced its initiative last week in response to new lockdowns in England and Scotland, to “ensure all children can access curriculum-based learning, even if they don’t have access to the internet,” it said. Katie Thistleton, who presents BBC Bitesize Daily Secondary, an hourly show for children aged 11 and over that was made last year in response to the pandemic, said the aim is to make her show and others available to a wide audience.
11th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 12th Jan 2021

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Coronavirus in Scotland: Remote working may mean the end of school uniforms

School uniforms have long polarised opinion. Supporters say they create a group identity, iron out differences between pupils and smarten up their wearers for the world of work. Critics say they are an expensive hangover from a rigidly enforced, mythical golden age of education. The latter camp is gaining ground. An academic is suggesting that it may be time to downgrade the importance of school uniforms as the pandemic has revealed they are no barrier to learning, or any sort of preparation for a rapidly changing workplace.
12th Jan 2021 - The Times

COVID-19 fuelling education's tech disruption, deepening digital divide

The COVID-19 pandemic deepened inequities in accessing and benefiting from education but the future of learning could be a more equal one, participants told Reuters Next panels on Monday. The pandemic hastened a rise in virtual learning and a disruption of the status quo already under way but probably won’t eliminate in-person instruction for good, they said. COVID-19 forced the University of Oxford and myriad other schools online amid COVID lockdowns. “We surprised even ourselves” in their ability to do it, Vice-Chancellor Louise Richardson said. But in-person learning is not a thing of the past.
12th Jan 2021 - Reuters

After Nearly A Year Of Remote Learning Parent’s Fears Grow About Physical Health

In an attempt to gather information about families realities and concerns when it comes to remote learning a joint venture between The Harris Poll and Nestlé Waters North America was created. The survey they conducted aimed to get a sense of how Covid-19 has influenced kids’ education and physical health over the past year. The results indicate the vast majority of parents in the U.S. are concerned about the toll remote learning is having on their children – both mentally and physically. For example, some children are more vulnerable to become anxious or depressed during this time, and children with pre-existing conditions like ADHD, anxiety or depression, are no longer getting the support or structure they typically would get in a classroom setting.
12th Jan 2021 - Forbes

Lockdown Learning: BBC puts school materials on TV, iPlayer and online

The BBC is helping school children keep up with their studies amid the latest lockdown to control Covid-19 in the UK. Primary and secondary schools are closed to most pupils, and from Monday 11 January, lessons and programmes will start to be broadcast on TV - on BBC Two and CBBC - as well as on iPlayer, with additional content online. The curriculum-based TV programmes will run alongside the BBC Bitesize collection of educational resources, which will continue to provide online learning at home for pupils in Years 1 to 9, and those studying for GCSEs and Nationals. On TV, there will be three hours of primary school programming on CBBC, and two hours for secondary pupils on BBC Two.
11th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Headteachers in England forced to ration on-site lockdown learning

Nearly half of England’s headteachers are being forced to prioritise class places among vulnerable students and the children of key workers because of a huge increase in demand, according to a survey of school leaders. The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), which carried out the survey, said the government’s “confused” messages to parents on school attendance risks defeating its aim of suppressing the virus. Thirty-four per cent of school leaders said they had 31% or more of their normal roll attend school in person on Thursday, and 48% said they had had to prioritise places in their school because of excess demand, suggesting heads are being forced to make difficult assessments of which parents and children have the greatest need.
11th Jan 2021 - The Guardian

Covid-19: The challenges of home-schooling

As England enters another lockdown that could last until the February half-term or beyond, the government wants even more online learning - with schools mandated to provide at least three hours per day and Education Secretary Gavin Williamson calling on parents to report schools who are not providing enough resources. It is estimated that 2.6 million schoolchildren live below the poverty line in England alone, and Ofcom estimates that about 9% of children in the UK - between 1.1 million and 1.8 million - do not have access to a laptop, desktop or tablet at home. More than 880,000 children live in a household with only a mobile internet connection.
11th Jan 2021 - BBC

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COVID-19: Children of working poor hit hardest by remote learning, as schools struggle to meet demand

A survey by Teacher Tapp seen exclusively by Sky News shows that primary schools in England have faced higher demands for children to attend than secondary schools. And this has increased dramatically during the latest lockdown. This week 80% of primary schools said more than 5% of their children were attending compared to 28% of secondary schools. Some schools are seeing over half their students coming in. The prime minister told the Commons that over 600,000 devices have been provided to schools since the pandemic - but many head teachers are still reporting a huge shortfall in the numbers needed, with Ofcom estimating 1.5 million children are without digital devices on which they can learn.
10th Jan 2021 - Sky News

Covid in Scotland: Pupils face disparities in remote learning

Live-streamed lessons will not be offered to all children in Scotland when the new school terms begins on Monday, according to BBC research. Plans for remote learning during the latest lockdown reveal big disparities between Scotland's 32 councils. Many say live online lessons will be part of a mix of different learning tools offered to pupils but some have ruled it out. The Scottish government said a uniform approach would be "counterproductive". Instead the decision on the best approach has been left to individual schools and teachers.
10th Jan 2021 - BBC News

Saskatchewan post-secondary students concerned over missed experiences from virtual learning

Student unions from three of Saskatchewan’s largest post-secondary institutions are concerned about how much students are getting out of their classes through virtual learning. Institutions have adjusted since the COVID-19 pandemic started in March and students applaud the changes made to keep staff, faculty and their peers safe. However, they only see learning virtually as a part-time solution and believe they’re missing something with courses taking place from living rooms and kitchens instead of classrooms and laboratories.
10th Jan 2021 - Global News

Teachers are on the front lines with students in the coronavirus pandemic

With the rise of COVID-19 cases, teachers are taking on this front-line fight as they continue to cultivate their learning about teaching online and in hybrid contexts and their strategies for managing risks in schools. As teachers continue to teach in both physical classrooms and online, the uncertainties around the pandemic continue. If COVID-19 has any bright silver lining, it has made the public vitally aware of children’s socio-emotional needs and the critical and growing role of teachers as heroes in the pandemic.
10th Jan 2021 - The Conversation CA

'I've nothing left to give': parents on home schooling in lockdown

After the government decided to announce a new lockdown in England and close schools to most pupils, parents have been juggling working and home schooling once more. From practical issues such as broadband and printing, to concerns surrounding mental health, four parents spoke about how they have been coping this last week.
9th Jan 2021 - The Guardian

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 8th Jan 2021

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Virtual university experience 'not worth it' as students left feeling 'isolated' and 'trapped'

Welsh university students said their learning experience is "not worth it" and that studying from home is taking its toll on their mental health. Megan Horn - a student in her second year at Cardiff University - said learning remotely has been "isolating" while Finlay Bertram from Newport said he feels as though students have been "forgotten". Where possible, universities have moved learning online to avoid the risk of spreading coronavirus among students and staff.
8th Jan 2021 - ITV

Remote learning: 9 safeguarding issues to focus on

We learned a lot during the last lockdown and, while the most vulnerable children will be in school, we know from experience that this does not mean safeguarding issues will remain within the school. Here, designated safeguarding lead (DSL) Ceri Stokes outlines nine key areas for schools to consider.
8th Jan 2021 - TES News

North-east council offers virtual English language courses

Aberdeenshire Council’s community learning and development team (CLD) is offering free courses taking place virtually using Google Meet and Google Classroom for speakers of other languages who want to learn English. The sessions last up to two hours and are offered at various times to fit in with work and childcare. Around 40 different languages are spoken by English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) learners in the region, who are offered an initial assessment to determine their level of English, and then matched with the best provision for them.
8th Jan 2021 - Aberdeen Evening Express

Promoting equity in virtual learning

Over the past nine months, we've witnessed the largest disruption of the U.S. education systems in history. As parents review report cards and face another semester of learning amid a global crisis, Jennifer Darling-Aduana, assistant professor of learning technologies at Georgia State's College of Education & Human Development, is looking at what we've learned about virtual instruction and what is possible for the future.
8th Jan 2021 - Phys.org

8 ways to create virtual classroom routines

In the classroom, routines support student learning and build efficiency. The same is true with online and distance learning. At a time when students — and parents — may be feeling a little anxious, overwhelmed, or uncertain about the new school year, classroom routines can provide a sense of structure, stability, and control. Classroom routines let students and parents know what to expect and when. This predictability not only reduces stress, but it improves students’ learning and their relationships with their teachers. Here are eight ways to create more clarity and consistency in online classrooms, and help students feel at ease and valued in an online learning environment.
8th Jan 2021 - eSchool News

COVID: Schools are in lockdown and e-learning is a struggle

Germany is notorious for lagging behind in digitalization. Now, students have technical troubles as schools remain closed. But even countries with a better track record are having problems with remote learning. German schools have long been struggling with digitalization, says Nina Brandau from German IT and telecommunications industry group Bitkom. An existing school digitalization plan was ramped up in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic in July 2020, bringing the joint state and federal efforts to about 7 billion euros ($8.6 billion.)
7th Jan 2021 - Deutsche Welle

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Schools in England 'much better prepared' for home-learning than last March

Schools in England are “much better prepared than last March” to implement home-learning, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson told the Commons. He said: “We are far better placed to cope with it than we were last March. On laptops, he said: “We’ve purchased more than one million laptops and tablets and have already delivered over 560,000 of those to schools and local authorities with an extra 100,000 being distributed this week alone. By the end of next week, we will have delivered three-quarters-of-a-million devices.”
7th Jan 2021 - Wales Online

BBC to provide biggest education offering as England begins new lockdown

The BBC said it would be providing its biggest education offer in its history as England and Scotland entered new lockdowns, which will see most children out of school. On Monday, England said most students would have to learn remotely and Scotland extended provisions that keep schools closed to all children, except those of key workers, as a variant of COVID-19 leads to soaring cases. From next week, the BBC’s children brand CBBC will have a three-hour block of programming for primary school pupils and BBC Two will focus on content for secondary school students. Other educational shows and resources will also be available.
5th Jan 2021 - Reuters

Homeschooling leaves parents with 'fatigue and anxiety' after schools close in England again

The closure of schools in England has turned the lives of millions of families upside down for the second time in less than a year. Boris Johnson's announcement means parents are now left trying to balance their jobs with childcare and homeschooling for at least another six weeks. Less than 48 hours after the prime minister's address, traffic on the search engine childcare.co.uk was up by 314% on last year and employment law specialists have seen a "massive increase" in demand for advice for parents.
5th Jan 2021 - Sky News

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 6th Jan 2021

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Home-schooling: How to help your child’s online learning

With schools once again closing their doors to most pupils in England, parents, many juggling work and childcare, are having to step in to fill the gap. If your child's school already puts work online, via Google Classroom, for example, this will probably continue. But these sort of tools tend to be used more by secondary schools than primaries. So older pupils are more likely to be in the routine of checking their school's chosen platform and completing work.
6th Jan 2021 - BBC News

The National Museum of Computing offers free remote learning package to 400 underprivileged students

A plan to offer its remote learning programme to 400 students in deprived areas from across the UK has been announced by the independent charity - The National Museum of Computing (TNMOC). The remote learning packages extend the highly successful in-person programmes, reimagined for the online learning world, giving students an interactive and fun experience with STEM subjects during a difficult time for teaching.
6th Jan 2021 - In Your Area

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Ontario students return to virtual school as part of lockdown measures

Students across Ontario returned to the virtual classroom Monday as part of a provincewide lockdown. The measure ends for all students in northern Ontario and elementary students in southern Ontario after the first week back from winter break. High schoolers in southern Ontario will continue online learning until Jan. 25.
4th Jan 2021 - City News

Schools’ shift to online learning now more ‘meaningful’, says education director

In Canada, all elementary and secondary school students in Chatham-Kent and Sarnia-Lambton began online classes on Monday as part of the province-wide shutdown. Lessons will be more “meaningful” than back in March when students first had virtual classes during the COVID-19 pandemic, said the directors of education for the two largest local school boards. “This is different than in the spring,” said John Howitt, director of education with the Lambton Kent district school board. “Programming is continuing and students are expected to be online. “Teachers will be online supporting them for up to 75 per cent to 80 per cent in the junior, intermediate and senior grades. In the kindergarten, about 50 per cent of the day there will be live interaction.”
4th Jan 2021 - Chatham This Week

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 4th Jan 2021

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Primary schools reopening: Call for remote learning as Covid cases rise

In England, pressure is growing on the government to keep all schools closed for two weeks after the Christmas break amid a surge in coronavirus cases. Teaching unions have told primary school staff it is unsafe to return to work, and called for remote learning. Head teachers have begun legal action to force ministers to reveal data behind the decision for some schools to reopen on Monday. The government said decisions are based on new infections and NHS pressure.
3rd Jan 2021 - BBC News

Covid: Keep primaries closed call - as NEU members told of 'legal rights'

A teaching union in England is calling for the closure of Isle of Wight primary schools for at least a fortnight, from Monday. The government announced this week (Wednesday, December 30) that most would reopen as normal from January 4 (though some in the worst affected areas of England would remain shut). London primary schools will now also stay shut after a government u-turn after nine followed a letter to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, from nine local authority leaders in the capital. Now, teaching unions are calling for all primary schools in England - including the Island's - to move to online learning for at least 2 weeks.
3rd Jan 2021 - Isle of Wight County Press

10 team-building activities to help during virtual learning

As a teacher, team building is something that comes naturally. We do it to break the ice at the beginning of the year, to build a community in our classroom, and as a brain break when our kids (or the teachers) need a break. Now that we are all learning and teaching from home, building a community and connecting with our kids is a little harder with distance learning factored in. Here are 10 excellent team-building strategies to keep the kids engaged and having fun all while learning a little more about their classmates and building a better community.
3rd Jan 2021 - eSchool News

Virtual learning a ‘nightmare’ for special education students amid pandemic, parents say

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted education for every student in Michigan this year as K-12 schools have transitioned in and out of remote learning since March in response to the pandemic. While educators have recognized that all students struggle with remote learning, there has been one group of students for whom they say online learning has proven to be virtually impossible – students with special needs. At school, special needs students rely on personal, hands-on attention from trained specialists. The tools that other children are using for remote learning such as Zoom often aren’t accessible.
3rd Jan 2021 - MLive.com

Frustrations of a CPS special ed parent: ‘Why are other kids reading and not my son?’

Remote learning has opened a window for parents to peer into their students’ classrooms, which was difficult to do before the coronavirus pandemic. At Chicago Public Schools, some parents of children with disabilities say they are disheartened by services they believe fail to meet students’ needs and are upset by the low expectations some educators have for their children. Mo Buti, who founded a Chicago advocacy organization, AiepA, for people with autism and other disabilities, said her clients observing their children’s virtual classes are realizing they aren’t always being challenged in school.
3rd Jan 2021 - Chicago Sun-Times

Transitioning from virtual, in-home learning to hybrid or full-time classroom learning

This month, some Minnesota students will be going back to learning in the classroom instead of all virtual learning at home. KSTP's Brandi Powell talked with a mental health expert about how to help kids with the transition. Dr. Anne Gearity is with the University of Minnesota Department of Psychiatry and is a mental health practitioner. "Some children are not looking forward to coming back. There are children who I know who say academically it's hard, but for some children socially it was hard," Dr. Gearity said.
1st Jan 2021 - KSTP

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 30th Dec 2020

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How 2020 Shaped Education, And What It Means For 2021

In 2020, several new educational practices saw the light of day, outlining a possible blueprint for tomorrow's education. Multimedia content and gamification became teaching tools and could well become the norm in 2021. Teaching methods are set to evolve in 2021, with increased use of online platforms and audio, image and video technologies. In France, a recent survey conducted by the Observatoire de la vie étudiante, published in September 2020, showed that 69% of student respondents had taken part in classes or meetings in video conferences, but only 39% of them were satisfied by the educational resources put in place.
30th Dec 2020 - Tatler Philippines

Remote learning report card - is virtual learning here to stay?

In Ontario, as thousands of students who enrolled in remote learning classes this fall enjoy their first break since mid-September, discussion of whether the virtual format has been successful are already underway. Education directors across the province have also been talking to one another about whether remote learning will have a future in a post-pandemic world. "I’ve had discussion with other directors across the province about, potentially, is it a possibility of running some sort of virtual school in the future, and rolling that into our existing staffing processes and protocols. Because, if it’s done well and intentionally, with the right teachers, for some students it’s working very well," says Mark Fisher, director of education at the Thames Valley District School Board.
30th Dec 2020 - CTV News London

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 29th Dec 2020

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Virtual learning may stick around in some form after pandemic

Enrollment in public schools in the US has gone down during the pandemic. According to data obtained by Chalkbeat and The Associated Press, enrollment dipped by about 2% since last year. Experts say several factors are to blame. Many students struggled to attend classes online, so they have been expelled from school for missing too many days. Also, kindergarten isn't required in some states. Surprisingly though, remote learning is more popular among parents than originally thought, according to a Pew survey.
28th Dec 2020 - The Denver Channel

Black, Latina and immigrant mothers are losing jobs as COVID-19 child care crisis grows

Since March, Black and Latina moms have stopped working, either voluntarily or due to layoffs, at higher rates than white moms. Many are single moms who need childcare but can’t access it during the pandemic. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, single moms had higher rates of unemployment than their childless counterparts in the second and third quarters of 2020. During the pandemic, mothers were more likely than fathers to reduce hours and leave the workforce altogether to take care of kids who are home.
28th Dec 2020 - USA Today

Tamil Nadu: New lessons as classrooms go virtual

In India, from kindergartens to universities, traditional classrooms have made way for digital learning. Changes that would have taken five to ten years happened in months. Students stayed home but attended classes, completed assignments and wrote tests: unthinkable at the beginning of the year. Education experts say hybrid learning -- a mix of online and traditional -- will be the way going forward for all educational institutions. There are huge gains from the pandemic experience as institutions start producing video content for students
28th Dec 2020 - Times of India

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 22nd Dec 2020

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Students aren’t showing up for virtual learning. ‘Are they well cared for? Are they safe?’

In virtual school, on any given day in New Jersey, one in four Camden public school students is absent. Nearly 1,700 students, or about 25% of the student enrollment in the state-run district, are not showing up for class, said Superintendent Katrina McCombs. Average daily attendance has fallen during the pandemic from about 92% last year to about 75%. McCombs and state educators who oversee Camden schools want to know why so many kids are missing school. The district has been fully remote since schools were shut down by the coronavirus last spring. “It is something we’re taking very seriously,” McCombs said.
21st Dec 2020 - The Philadelphia Inquirer

The Grade Depression: more students failing due to virtual learning

Due to restrictions on social distancing, remote or online learning in the U.S. became the logical alternative for many schools. But as the new school year began in August, it became apparent that this new platform was having a negative impact on student’s grades. Randolph County Schools has seen a marked increase in the number of students from third grade through high school and early college who have failed at least one course in the first nine weeks. The district reported 37.2 percent of the student population between third and 12th grade failed at least one course in the first nine weeks of the 2020-2021 school year, compared to 11.1 percent in the same time period the previous year.
21st Dec 2020 - Lexington Dispatch

Rural P.E.I. students learning English virtually through pilot program

In Canada, an educational pilot program on P.E.I. aims to make learning English more accessible for students in rural parts of the Island by offering classes virtually. The program started this September and offers English as an additional language (EAL) classes to 17 high school students living in rural communities on P.E.I.
21st Dec 2020 - CBC.ca

Affluent Families Ditch Public Schools, Widening U.S. Inequality

One is thriving after switching from online public school to in-person private education. The other is struggling, stuck in her virtual classroom. The lives of these two girls, Ella Pierick and Afiya Harris, encapsulate the growing divide in U.S. education as more affluent parents flee public schools. In Connecticut, enrollment fell 3%. Colorado reported a similar decline, with the steepest losses in one of its wealthiest counties. Chicago’s rosters dipped 4.1%, the most in 20 years.
21st Dec 2020 - Bloomberg

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 21st Dec 2020

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COVID-19 Is Costing Visually Impaired Students Time That Can’t Be Made Up

As parents and educators continue to navigate remote learning, children with visual impairments have the added burden of learning in virtual classrooms that aren’t designed for them. Hybrid and socially distant in-person classes present challenges of their own. And looming overhead, there’s the worry about the time their children have lost in academic and life skill classes. Each parent knows there's a limit on the years their children have left in school, and the clock keeps ticking away no matter how much the pandemic has halted everything else.
20th Dec 2020 - EdSurge

A tech expert's advice on how to best approach virtual learning

With more students potentially moving to online learning platforms, parents are having to navigate their way through virtual classrooms. While many schools across Canada begin their winter break on Monday, some school boards are uncertain if students will return to an in-person classroom in the new year. On Wednesday, the Toronto District School Board sent a letter to parents warning them to prepare for the possibility that students may not return to classes following the winter break. The Ontario government also echoed the warning. According to tech expert Amber Mac, parents need to prepare to adjust to e-learning just as much as students do in order for there to be an effective learning experience
20th Dec 2020 - CTV News

Teachers virtually unheralded for mastering COVID-19 curveballs

Society has acknowledged the devotion and sacrifice of medical staff and first responders, but we seem to have neglected the important role teachers and school support staff are fulfilling during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the pandemic raging across the land, the profession has only become more difficult. Teachers are being taken for granted now more than ever. Teachers have always spent their own money on their classrooms and students. But, with remote learning, many teachers have had to invest dollars into setting up a home-based remote classroom. Then, they have to manage all this new technology. There are also issues teachers cannot control from their virtual classroom. The skill set needed to manage “classrooms” with teachers in one location and students in other locations is complicated. The more teachers do, the more school districts and parents seem to demand.
20th Dec 2020 - nj.com

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 18th Dec 2020

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More than schoolwork: Why distance learning is so challenging for Fresno County students

The Fresno Bee’s Education Lab interviewed nearly two dozen students, parents, and teachers about their struggles and challenges navigating school during the coronavirus pandemic. Some students said they’ve been getting better grades since distance learning but technology and broadband issues have interfered with learning for others. During an Ed Lab listening session, Joe Barron, a Fresno Unified high school teacher, said technology issues “occasionally” interfere with learning, especially when older siblings have to leave their virtual classroom to help their younger siblings with technology issues.
17th Dec 2020 - Fresno Bee

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A Mesquite teacher saw her virtual students struggling — so she came up with a plan

Every school day, Anna Drake logged onto her online learning platform and worried. Drake, who teaches 6th grade reading and writing at Frasier Middle School in Mesquite, saw few virtual students turning in assignments or even showing up for class. With about 40 percent of her students attending school virtually, she knew it would be disastrous if she could not find a way to reach them. So she hatched a simple plan. After school every day, she brings a favorite drink from Sonic and snack to a student’s home, and the two chat outside, with the parent’s permission. Drake is working her way through her entire virtual roster. The plan is working even better than Drake had imagined. None of her virtual students are behind on assignments, an almost complete turnaround from just a few weeks ago.
17th Dec 2020 - Dallas Morning News

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 16th Dec 2020

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Schools Work to Speed Up Internet in Rural Homes for Remote Learning

In the U.S., school districts and cities are racing to bridge a digital divide that has existed for decades. According to data collected before the pandemic, approximately 30% of U.S. K-12 public-school students lived in households without either an internet connection or a device adequate for distance learning. That is 16 million children. At least 39 states have said they would use funds from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (Cares) Act to help school districts close the tech gap, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The hardest part is determining exactly who needs access. School districts survey parents about their internet needs but don’t always get a high response rate.
16th Dec 2020 - Wall Street Journal

Despite virtual learning era, some Pennsylvania schools opt for snow day ahead of winter storm: 'Just be a kid'

In Pennsylvania, nearly every school district in the Delaware Valley has a few snow days baked into the calendar just in case Old Man Winter decides to unload on the region during the academic year. But is there ever a real need to cancel classes now that so many students are already learning remotely courtesy of COVID-19? It turns out several of those school districts still say, yes.
16th Dec 2020 - 6abc News

Home school parents have some tips for school districts and parents on how to improve virtual instruction

With more school districts switching to virtual learning because of COVID-19, and many encountering challenges with the transition, parents whose children have been doing virtual learning from home since before the pandemic started — via home schooling — have some tips for both for schools and parents.
16th Dec 2020 - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Boston Public Schools officials report rise in students missing classes as course failures increase

The coronavirus pandemic forced Boston Public Schools students out of the classroom and onto a computer screen, but nearly a quarter of them did not log into classes on any given day this fall and there was an increase in course failures across all four core subjects, according to school data presented during a Saturday meeting that hints at ongoing academic disengagement. Moving to virtual and distance learning during the public health crisis raised a myriad of concerns last spring, from waning student performance, to deteriorating mental health, to widening gaps in educational inequality as nearly all students need access to technology, internet service, and parental support from home.
16th Dec 2020 - Boston.com

English Learners Are Falling Further Behind In The Virtual Classroom

In the U.S., English learners are receiving D’s and F’s at higher rates than other student groups during distance learning, according to recent data released by several San Diego County school districts. While all student groups are failing classes at higher rates than they were before the pandemic, the English learner population is in some classes receiving twice as many D’s and F’s this school year compared to the 2019-2020 school year.
16th Dec 2020 - KPBS

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 15th Dec 2020

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Teachers Reveal Their Funniest Virtual-School Bloopers — and They're So Good

Teachers are making it happen. They’re sharpening their No. 2 pencils and creating lesson plans for in-person students, remote learners or a combo of the two. For many educators, this has doubled their workload and their stress levels, but it hasn’t dampened their senses of humor. Video conferencing platforms like Zoom and Google Classroom are a staple for remote learners this year, and teachers are celebrating their virtual classrooms by pausing to enjoy the funnier moments students bring to this wacky medium.
14th Dec 2020 - GoodHousekeeping.com

How To Survive Virtual Learning Guide For Teachers

This fall, we’ve been following Chicago-area educators as they navigate teaching remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. For most of them, the transition to virtual learning came with completely new challenges — and required creative solutions. As winter break approaches, we asked them to reflect on what they’ve learned. Here’s advice for teachers, written by teachers, on everything from working with parents to managing burnout.
15th Dec 2020 - WBEZ

4 ways hybrid learning gives the traditional classroom a run for its money

Earlier this year the United States, just like most countries across the globe, witnessed the life-altering impact of COVID-19 first-hand. In particular, students and educators saw their usual routine completely turned upside down as they were unprepared for the vast impact the virus would have on how students learn and how education settings operate. Unfortunately, with the majority of children still not back in the classroom and a second wave upon us, it is vital that schools, students, and educators are ready for the further impacts this will have. As part of this, they need to be aware of the options and solutions available to them to ensure teaching and learning can continue as seamlessly as possible, whatever the future holds.
14th Dec 2020 - eSchool News

Pandemic collides with concerns about LGBTQ students' mental health

Thousands of LGBTQ students are navigating their gender identities while their critical supports like friends, teachers and school groups have been thrown onto the Zoom-sphere due to the pandemic. Some of them are grappling with having to reel back their gender identity and exploration while at home because they’re not out to their parents. Others are dealing with being misgendered or being called by the wrong name in virtual classrooms because the technology doesn’t allow them to change their legal name. Students are also unable to linger after class to develop relationships with teachers who often become some of their greatest advocates.
14th Dec 2020 - Politico

‘It’s been tumultuous’: Covid-19 stress takes toll on teachers in England

Teachers in England have described a nightmarish term in schools in which Covid has triggered soaring anxiety levels, exhaustion and fear, driving many to consider quitting and even self-harm. There was also support for union calls for schools in England to follow Wales’s lead and move learning online for the last week of term to stem rising infection rates and avoid staff and pupils having to self-isolate from family over Christmas.
14th Dec 2020 - The Guardian

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Students are falling behind in online school. Where's the COVID-19 'disaster plan' to catch them up?

The goalposts are constantly shifting on a return to in-person learning, and about half of U.S. students are attending virtual-only schools. It's becoming increasingly clear districts and states need to improve remote instruction and find a way to give individual kids special help online. At the moment, plans to help students catch up are largely evolving, thin or non-existent. The consequences are most dire for low-income and minority children, who are more likely to be learning remotely and less likely to have appropriate technology and home environments for independent study, compared with their wealthier peers. Children with disabilities and those learning English have particularly struggled in the absence of in-class instruction. Many of those students were already lagging academically before the pandemic. Now, they're even further behind — with time running out to meet key academic benchmarks.
13th Dec 2020 - USA Today

Weirdest term ever: How students have coped, from primary to third level

The principal of St Audoen’s National School in Dublin’s south inner city, Eilish Meagher, is starting the day as she has done every morning since September. She gulps down a quick cup of tea in the school kitchen and is outside the gates by 8.30am, standing with home school liaison officer Geoff Finan and special needs assistant Dawn Treacy. Since schools reopened in September under the shadow of Covid-19, parents can no longer go inside the school, so “that important part of the day, where a mammy or daddy or a parent or carer meets teacher and has a big chat about their concerns – if somebody has had a bad weekend, or something has happened – is missing. School is a huge part of the community. And we would always be very reliant on that information.”
13th Dec 2020 - The Irish Times

Panoramic view of digital education in COVID‐19: A new explored avenue

The Covid‐19 pandemic has forced restructuring in several sectors to ensure the delivery of services are accomplished to the greatest possible extent. The Indian Government has imposed rigorous lockdown regulations, which has had an impact on all aspects of the economy and promotes the adoption of digital technology. The lockdown has accelerated adherence to online platforms for effective accessibility of the teaching and learning process without compromising on quality. Democratisation of technology has been a significant critical issue of the hour.
13th Dec 2020 - BERA Journals

'A different twist': how school nativity plays have adapted to the Covid era

As the unfamiliar becomes familiar amid the pandemic, the nativity is no different – with schools across the UK getting creative in their depictions of the traditional play. “We didn’t want it to look like a filmed stage show, or a bit ‘naff’. We wanted it to be as realistic as possible,” said Jo Goode, headteacher of Grasmere Primary School in Cumbria. Unable to hold the traditional play in church due to Covid-19 restrictions, the school took 70 schoolchildren to the Lake District countryside, in their local area, to shoot the 20-minute film. In a revamped script, the play follows Mary and Joseph living in an inner city urban area. Fearing the repercussions of the pandemic they decide to run away to the countryside, rather than the usual trek across the desert. The film will be broadcast to local hospitals within the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay on Christmas Eve.
13th Dec 2020 - The Guardian

Amid coronavirus, students forced online, but Lebanon won't recognize online degrees

For students in Lebanon, obtaining a recognized degree during the coronavirus pandemic can be challenging. Where classes have moved online, and some students are seeking to pursue their studies entirely online, local laws don't recognize online learning. In Lebanon, online degrees are not recognized by the government, meaning students – even during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic – cannot pursue online studies if they wish to enter the job force in Lebanon after graduation. At the end of February, Lebanese schools and universities were forced to move classes online as the novel coronavirus continued its rapid spread.
11th Dec 2020 - AlArabiya.net

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 11th Dec 2020

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Bowling Green Schools Reach Out to Students Who Drift Away from Virtual Learning

Educators across Kentucky, and the nation, are facing the challenge of keeping students engaged during virtual learning. The Bowling Green Independent School District has staff members who reach out to make sure students stay connected during the pandemic. “We have a lot of adults who are going out in the community every day, knocking on doors, tracking down students and families and trying to figure out where they’re living and why they’re not participating in virtual learning,” said Gary Fields, superintendent of the Bowling Green School District.
11th Dec 2020 - WKU Public Radio

Camden Sees a Drop In Virtual Learning Participation Amid Pandemic

School leaders in Camden, New Jersey, are trying to encourage students to attend their virtual classes after noticing a decline in student participation amid the coronavirus pandemic. NBC10’s Cydney Long talks to Camden superintendent about possible solutions.
11th Dec 2020 - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Skills HR will need in 2021: Delivering classroom training online

Most practised face-to-face trainers can spot if someone isn’t paying attention. Foot tapping, fidgeting and other tell-tale signs alert the facilitator to a dip in engagement, allowing them to react swiftly and re-engage the group. But how can you keep an eye on your attendees when you can’t see them? This is just one of the many skills virtual trainers have had to develop in the new world of virtual learning brought about by the Covid crisis, where you’re more likely to understand the idiosyncrasies of your learners through online chats and polls than via body language and facial expressions, and trainers have had to relearn their craft to make sure it’s fit for an online classroom.
10th Dec 2020 - People Management

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Protecting privacy while learning from home

Millions of students across the U.S. are navigating the challenge of being "at school," while "at home." And even though learning may be happening from the privacy of the home, the Assistant Director Media Relations at the Lee County School District, Rob Spicker, says parents can't blur the lines when kids are "in class." "The rules as if they were in school apply," he said. And for parents, that means you can't record audio or video of your child's class, even if you're home.
10th Dec 2020 - Fox4now

How virtual connected classrooms can transform learning in rural India

The rural Indian population was not as fortunate as the urban population in terms of access to a quality education environment and information and communication technology infrastructure as in cities. But today, with the advent of virtual classrooms, education in rural India has metamorphosed into learning that is prompt, online, self-driven, and on the go.
10th Dec 2020 - India Today

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 9th Dec 2020

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Des Moines Refugee Students Struggle with Virtual Learning

Even before the pandemic hit, Boaz Nkingi spent countless hours helping refugee students in his after school program. Now, 12 hour days have become inevitable for him, in order to meet his community’s growing needs. As a Congolese refugee himself, Nkingi is familiar with the steep learning curves that come with adapting to a new country and a new education system. Add an unrelenting virus that has caused a large portion of the state’s schools to switch to 100 percent virtual learning, and it only makes the challenges greater. Des Moines Public Schools has spent almost entirely of its semester all online. A spokesperson for the district said 21 percent of its students are still learning English as their second language. Nkingi said missing the face-to-face interaction in the first year for new refugee students can be devastating.
9th Dec 2020 - KDSM

Virtual learning takes physical toll on students at home

We know virtual learning is mentally hard on kids, but what about physically? If your child is having persistent neck or back pain, it might be related to poor posture and poor body positioning. At some point during the pandemic, most children across the country were doing some sort of computer-assisted learning. At Children's Hospital of Orange County in Southern California, pediatric physical therapist Ruchi Bagrodia covers posture and seating with kids who are of age. There are many things they should be doing.
9th Dec 2020 - The Denver Channel

Screen Time Due to Distance Learning Affecting Children's Eyesight

Doctors are concerned about a potential long-term impact of distance learning in children - damaged eyesight due to hours of screen time. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, many schools have changed the classroom for a virtual classroom. Children are now spending their time looking at their screen for longer than usual. Optometrists say they're seeing more fatigue, discomfort, blurry vision, and increased near-sightedness, especially among kids, since distance learning started.
8th Dec 2020 - NBC Bay Area

Why are teachers’ faces covered in stickers? To get kids engaged in remote school — and it’s working.

Diane Moon tried everything she could think of to get her students to participate in virtual learning: random name calls, breakout rooms, competitions for extra credit, movement breaks. Nothing worked. Moon, 27, a middle school math teacher in Prospect Heights, Ill., was desperate. When a colleague sent her a TikTok video of a teacher putting stickers on her face every time a new student participated, she figured it was worth a shot. Right away, she saw children couldn’t resist it. Students who typically stay muted during class suddenly were speaking up and sharing. The teaching tactic was so helpful, in fact, that Moon decided to post a short video demonstration on Twitter, hoping other teachers might find it useful.
8th Dec 2020 - Washington Post

How did rural India learn during lockdown?

In India, school closures due to the nationwide lockdown in March 2020 meant that children were disengaged with formal education for a prolonged period. The resulting talks around e-education exposed India’s digital divide, with only 24 percent of households having access to the internet. Children studying in government schools were hit particularly hard, with a recent study indicating that more than 80 percent of government school students (in Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, and Uttar Pradesh) hadn’t received any educational materials during the lockdown.
8th Dec 2020 - Times of India

Covid-19: Wolverhampton aims to 'bridge digital gap' for pupils

Children with no access to computers or wi-fi are being loaned devices and 4G sim cards as part of a scheme to cut "digital poverty". The initiative by Wolverhampton City Council hopes to stop pupils falling behind if they are forced to isolate because of Covid-19. During the first lockdown in March, teaching could only be delivered online. Likewise it provided a way to stay in contact with friends. Figures released by Ofcom in August estimated between 1.14 million and 1.78 million children in the UK did not have access to a laptop or other device at the time.
8th Dec 2020 - BBC News

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The Challenges Black America Face With Distant And Virtual Learning During COVID-19

Students, teachers, parents, and administrators face ever-rising challenges as the coronavirus pandemic continues to force changes in how young people receive their education. The challenges are particularly pronounced in the African American community, where access to the internet, working parents, and a haphazard learning model have undermined pre-pandemic gains. Education experts have agreed that when students of color in underserved schools must go to blended or fully remote learning models, the digital divide gets broader, more profoundly affecting them.
8th Dec 2020 - Seattle Medium

Champlain College professor creates online virtual platform

Some educators are making bigger online virtual platforms work, others are creating their own. InSpace was the idea of a data science professor at Champlain College after some other online platforms weren’t cutting it. So far it is being used at 52 colleges with more on board for a trial. “It’s so much more engaging than typical video conferencing platforms,” said Kylie King, a professor of businesses and entrepreneurship at Champlain College. King says battling low student engagement in the virtual classroom was a challenge, until one of her colleagues right here in Burlington, presented a solution.
8th Dec 2020 - WCAX

Virtual Classroom Series: Milwaukee Teacher Works To Keep Students Engaged

The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed many teachers and students out of their classrooms, and onto their computers. But K-12 education wasn’t built to be virtual. So how have teachers adapted their in-person instruction for the computer screen? WUWM's Emily Files visited virtual classrooms to find out, and will tell those stories this month. In this first installment, we learn how a Milwaukee fourth grade English teacher breaks up a 90-minute class to keep kids engaged. It’s 9 a.m. the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. TinaMarie Tate, who teaches at Stellar Elementary, greets about 25 students as they pop up in her Zoom online classroom.
7th Dec 2020 - WUWM

Is the pandemic our chance to reimagine education for students with disabilities?

Special education was imperfect before the coronavirus crisis. As districts contend with the fallout from slapdash online classes for kids with disabilities, will the pandemic prompt a reckoning?
7th Dec 2020 - The Hechinger Report

Educators finding creative ways to help students interact in virtual classrooms

As virtual learning continues across the Commonwealth, families and educators are worried about the lack of social interaction that comes with virtual learning, and finding ways to keep young people engaged and connected. “You’re in contact with the teacher, but it’s really hard to get the kids to connect with each other in a virtual environment - how do you get them to socialize in that virtual space? They need that as much as the pedagogy, the learning,” said Anne Marie, a Richmond resident.
7th Dec 2020 - Richmond-Petersburg WWBT on MSN.com

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 7th Dec 2020

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NYC parents protest virtual classes for older kids as K-5 students set to return

In NYC, a group of Big Apple parents rallied outside City Hall on Sunday to demand the return to hybrid learning for all grades — the day before only K-5 students were set to head back into classrooms. Joining a recent wave of protests across the country calling for more in-class instruction, about 70 parents and kids waved signs that said things such as, “Safest place for children is in school” and “Home detention is not education.” The debate over the re-opening of schools to more in-person learning is heating up across the US, where there have been protests in at least nine cities in the past week
7th Dec 2020 - New York Post

Doctors seeing more eye strain and headaches from virtual learning and screen time during pandemic

Between online learning and self-isolation, school-aged kids that are homebound are inevitably spending more time with their digital screens. Doctors say kids are paying a price - citing an uptick in everything from eye strain to migraines. "I feel that a lot of kids today have more dry eye,” said Dr. Kim Le, Pediatric Ophthalmologist at Henry Ford Health System. Across the country, doctors citing an uptick in children complaining of everything from eye strain to head pain.
7th Dec 2020 - WXYZ

Virtual learning tips stress well being and establishing new routines

As frazzled households adapt to the challenges of virtual learning during the pandemic, the Westmoreland Intermediate Unit is offering a free webinar to help parents cope and make it easier for children to succeed in school from home. “The greatest challenge for families is the fact that they need to juggle many different responsibilities including their job, their child’s access to a consistent, conducive environment for learning, as well as, assessing the mental wellness of their children during a pandemic,” said Jason Conway, executive director for the Westmoreland Intermediate Unit.
7th Dec 2020 - TribLIVE

What Teachers Have Learned About Online Classes During COVID-19

Few people would tell you that online kindergarten was a good idea, or frankly even possible. That was before 2020. The number has fluctuated as cases rise across the U.S., but throughout this fall pandemic semester, between 40% and 60% of students have been enrolled in districts that offer only remote learning. We are still starved for data on what this all means. The earliest standardized test scores coming out show modest learning loss for students in math, but there are worries that the most at-risk students are not being tested at all. For this story, Anya Kamenetz talked to educators in six states, from California to South Carolina. For the most part they say things have improved since the spring. But they are close to burnout, with only a patchwork of support.
6th Dec 2020 - NPR

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 4th Dec 2020

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Leading in Crisis: What K-12 Schools Learned From Switch to Virtual Learning

Like so many professionals in 2020, K-12 educators have spent much of the year improvising. That was especially true last March, when, thanks to the coronavirus, nearly every school in the country was forced to close doors on Friday the 13th.
4th Dec 2020 - University of Denver

London maths teacher wins £33,000 global prize for 'Covid hero' award

A maths teacher from a school in south-west London has won a global Covid Hero Award for his efforts during the pandemic. Jamie Frost, who works at Tiffin School in Kingston upon Thames, received a one-off prize of £33,000 for going above and beyond in the coronavirus crisis to help keep pupils learning. Mr Frost, whose free online learning platform was used by students around the world, was one of 10 finalists shortlisted for the sixth annual Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize. Comedian and actor Stephen Fry announced on Thursday that Ranjitsinh Disale, a village primary school teacher from India who was praised for improving the education of girls, had won the million-dollar (£742,000) prize.
3rd Dec 2020 - ITV News

The challenges of keep families engaged through virtual learning

“At one point I told my husband we have to choose to be his teacher or his parents, we can’t do both,” said Jamie Jensen, whose son is a sophomore at Southwest High School. Jensen says he was a good student until he started virtual learning. “He went from a gifted student who went to Leonardo da Vinci and excelled, and now, he’s not excelling,” Jensen says as she shakes her head. It’s a problem some staff at Green Bay Public Schools have also noticed. “It’s been more than a challenge. A highly motivated student, during this virtual environment...not so much,” said Luis Franco, the district’s family engagement coordinator. He has worked for the district for the last 23 years, connecting families with resources to keep them engaged with their child’s education.
3rd Dec 2020 - WBAY

They know the pain of online learning. Here’s what teachers, parents and students did about it

Nearly nine months and counting — that’s how long more than 1 million L.A. County students have been out of school. It’s only a guess when campuses will reopen amid the alarming surge in coronavirus cases. But talk to educators, parents and students and they invariably know someone who has made a difference. Someone who identified a pain point with distance learning, attempted to fix it and moved schooling forward during this unprecedented disruption to education. They are brothers, worried mothers, creative teachers and college professors inventing new ways to teach familiar lessons. They are community builders who motivate students isolated behind computer screens. These are some of their stories.
1st Dec 2020 - Los Angeles Times

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 3rd Dec 2020

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Simulation Lab Works To Expand Potential of Virtual Instruction

With nearly $1 million in national and local grants, Marjorie Zielke PhD’07 is developing a platform that will deliver virtual teaching via augmented reality and holograms. “The need for high-fidelity virtual teachers is compelling and certainly growing,” she said. “Emergent virtual teachers can be delivered at home, in schools, in special situations, in a variety of languages and with specific skill sets.” Zielke, research professor and director of the Center for Simulation and Synthetic Humans, recently won the $20,000 5G Grand Challenge from the Tech Titans, the largest technology trade association in Texas. She also is part of a UT Dallas team that has been awarded a three-year, $750,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and three $10,000 grants from the NSF’s U.S. Ignite/Smart and Connected Communities.
3rd Dec 2020 - University of Texas at Dallas

Building Self-Efficacy: How to Feel Confident in Your Online Teaching

Now that we are into the realities of teaching in a COVID-world, I keep hearing similar sentiments from my colleagues, something to the effect of, “It’s going fine, but I don’t feel like a good teacher anymore.” What I hear in these statements is not a bad teacher but one who has lost confidence in their teaching. Whether teaching fully online, a hybrid model, or in-person with social distancing requirements, everyone has had to make changes to the way they teach. The pedagogical style and practices that we previously relied on are either no longer an option or are not as effective given the current constraints. So, we have adapted, learned the technology, and made necessary adjustments. We’re doing it, but we don’t feel like we’re doing it well.
2nd Dec 2020 - Faculty Focus

GAO Report Shows Virtual Learning Disparities for Disabled Students

When the pandemic closed schools in March, perhaps nobody was impacted more than students with disabilities. These classes, and ancillary therapies that reinforce and expand on class work, benefit from close interaction. So how has distance learning changed things? A new report out from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) gives the first look into how schools managed two unique situations: special education and instruction for English language learners (ELL) during the spring 2020 term. The study was conducted as part of the GAO’s requirements for the CARES Act to identify and track the impact of money received and spent. Both groups of students struggled significantly with learning, the study showed.
2nd Dec 2020 - The Mighty

Broward Students Push Back on Policy to Keep Cameras on During Virtual Learning

A new policy requiring Broward County Public Schools students to keep their cameras on during virtual learning is getting pushback from thousands of students in the district. “I know personally people that are not in home environments that are as nice so by showing their house to everybody in their class, by showing their parents and their siblings running around in the background, I know that’s really embarrassing,” said Kayla Bello, a sophomore at Fort Lauderdale High School. Bello is one of thousands of Broward County students who signed a petition on Change.org titled “Cameras Should Not Be Required In Broward County Schools.” The petition has more than 8,000 signatures.
2nd Dec 2020 - NBC 6 South Florida

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 2nd Dec 2020

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Busy parents, bad equipment and a lack of internet meant 'many children did not do' the remote work they were set during the coronavirus crisis, says Ofsted as it warns the ...

Ofsted annual report says education 'losses have been significant' during Covid It warned 'lost learning' by pupils will be 'reflected in widening attainment gaps' It highlighted flaws in remote learning because 'many children did not do' work
1st Dec 2020 - Daily Mail

Virtual Learning Boosted Well-being for Some Students, Study Finds

The potential detrimental implications of the COVID-19 shutdowns have dominated headlines since social distancing precautions were first instated. Thus far, mental health-oriented research paints a more complex picture of the varying implications of the stay-at-home measures on children. The impact on mental health and well-being appears to be highly dependent upon place, resources, and various other factors. A recent survey study by Emily Widnall and colleagues involving secondary students in South West England was conducted to evaluate “the impacts of COVID-19 and the resultant lockdown on adolescent mental health and wellbeing, social connections, and social media activity.” The results, described in a report released by the NIHR School for Public Health Research, reflect nuance in the implications of COVID-19 and highlight some of the positive implications for wellbeing experienced by many students following the implementation of disease containment precautions.
1st Dec 2020 - Mad in America

Putting the ‘virtual’ in virtual learning: SFU instructors create immersive classroom using virtual reality

Simon Fraser University professor Jeremy Turner has bright pink hair and can fly across his classroom, and some of his students look like animal-human hybrids. All of this is possible because Turner teaches in a virtual reality classroom. “It has that immersive feel to it,” Turner said. He wears a virtual reality headset and uses a platform called Tivoli Cloud VR, which allows him to move around in the virtual environment, using an avatar. His students can choose where they sit, converse with each other, and even choose their own avatars. "I actually forget that I’m teaching inside of a cartoon and that I’m actually teaching a real physical class, that’s how it feels to me,” Turner said.
1st Dec 2020 - CTV News

Distance learning not working? Here are strategies to try.

When virtual school began in August, Brandi McPherson initially followed the remote-learning guidelines from her 13-year-old daughter’s school. “They told the kids to sit at a desk or table and leave the cameras on all day,” she said. “Classes are taught from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in 45-minute blocks with five-minute breaks.” It was too much for Tanner, a seventh-grader in the Northridge area of Los Angeles, who is twice exceptional — she is gifted and struggles with ADHD and generalized anxiety disorder.
1st Dec 2020 - Washington Post

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North Jersey districts weigh whether to preserve snow days amid virtual learning

For some, remote learning represents a chance to stay connected. That's not something to overlook, given the youngest generation's penchant to connect electronically, Borden cautioned. For a number of North Jersey school districts, the decision on whether to close schools will remain moot for most of this winter. Districts such as Passaic Valley Regional, Clifton and Passaic are remote until the end of January. Future years are less clear. Could snow days be over?
30th Nov 2020 - NorthJersey.com

School psychologists are more important than ever

As National School Psychology Week (Nov. 9-13) came to an end, I thought about this year’s theme, The Power of Possibility. While the COVID-19 pandemic has changed how school looks for the 1.5 million public school students in North Carolina, school psychologists continued to find creative ways to connect with students to provide support and familiarity during these challenging times.
30th Nov 2020 - EdNC

‘Heartbreaking For These Kids’: Virtual Learning Struggles May Leave Some Students Behind, Parents Say

More schools are making the move to remote learning as the level of community transmission continues to rise. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s recommendations, all but one county in the state should be using full-time remote learning. As coronavirus case numbers continue to rise, parents are concerned that students are not getting an education. “It’s been heartbreaking for these kids, especially for the little learners,” said Cait Riley. Riley’s daughter is in the first grade at North Allegheny School District. “If you can’t read by the time you are in the second grade, you have problems for life. You are proven to become basically a failure in society if you cannot learn to read,” Riley said.
30th Nov 2020 - CBS Pittsburgh

As virtual learning continues, here's how to help kids unplug from screens

Kids are spending more time in front of their screens due to virtual learning, but how do you find a balance between being connected and unplugging? 7 On Your Side talked with a teacher and psychologist who are collaborating to share strategies with parents on how to get kids outside, increase their social-emotional learning and break a screen addiction. As part of National Geographic’s back-to-school efforts, they encouraged educators to join the “Nat Geo Education” community on Twitter and use the #TeacherStrong to share strategies that help students learn and grow. One example is the collaboration between Byron McClure, a psychologist at Anacostia High School in D.C., and Kelly Koller, an elementary school teacher in Wisconsin.
30th Nov 2020 - Fox Baltimore

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'Scrapping my plans was the best thing I've ever done'

Teaching plans were thrown out of the window in lockdown – but this primary teacher says it was a positive experience
29th Nov 2020 - TES News

Virtual learners struggle to adapt

Earlier this month, approximately 362 virtual students had returned to on-site instruction. Kristy Sanders, chairman of the Ready for Learning Committee, said during the November school board meeting that the district had engaged numerous staff members in an effort to track down students that were having trouble with virtual learning and talked to them and their parents to encourage the students to come back to school for on-site instruction. Guess said he noticed a struggle with the district's virtual learning after the first nine-week grading period ended on Oct. 15. During that time, 24% of the elementary students receiving virtual instruction were failing one or more instructional areas, and 40% of secondary students receiving virtual instruction were failing one or more subjects. Guess said an alarming percentage of students had D's and were approaching failure.
29th Nov 2020 - Arkansas Online

How a hands-on, student-led schooling model translated into the virtual learning environment

Lake Ridge Elementary’s Montessori program took disruptions from coronavirus in stride, carefully planning how to shift its curriculum for at-home students.
27th Nov 2020 - The Dallas Morning News

Her classroom is a school change room. Here's how she's making online teaching work

She's hunkered down in the girls' change room at St. Mary's Catholic School, in Elora, Ont., converted into her Grade 5 virtual classroom. She lives with her parents, who are older and more vulnerable to COVID-19, so she opted to teach online this year. "It's strange because I am kind of just in here talking to a computer," she said. But she's made it work. "I have my en suite, which is my own private bathroom, and I'm set up in here pretty well." The province estimates as of mid-October, some 450,000 students were learning online. O'Drowsky, or Ms. O as students call her, is one of the teachers making it happen. It's been a steep learning curve, as teaching online is an entirely new concept for most teachers and many of Ontario's school boards. For the first few months, O'Drowsky was working and planning lessons pretty much whenever she was awake. She's now mentoring in-class teachers in case everyone has to pivot.
27th Nov 2020 - CBC.ca

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 27th Nov 2020

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Hands-on virtual labs? U of T Engineering profs get creative with remote learning

A camera and a bottle of Gatorade were the key pieces of equipment for a recent virtual lab in Jennifer Farmer’s applied chemistry course. “We told students that they’d have to determine the amount of food dye in the drink,” explains Farmer, an assistant professor, teaching stream, in the University of Toronto’s department of chemical engineering and applied chemistry in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering. Any other year, students would learn to operate a spectrometer to find the answer. “Well, we don’t have spectrometers at home – or do we?” During the COVID-19 pandemic, instructors and teaching assistants (TAs) across U of T Engineering have been forced to create new, engaging and equitable ways to conduct labs – a traditionally hands-on and collaborative in-person learning experience – without using on-campus equipment, software or space.
26th Nov 2020 - University of Toronto

Virtual learning may keep your child up at night

As students settle into the routine of virtual school, excessive screen time for kids has become common. You've probably heard the old wives' tale about how sitting too close to the TV screen can hurt your eyes but Dr. Katherine Duncan says sitting in front of a laptop likely isn't bad for your vision. Dr. Duncan is a general pediatrician at Beverly Knight Olson Children's Hospital at Navicent Health. When first learning of schools moving from in the classroom to online, she had concerns because excessive screen time can affect children's health.
26th Nov 2020 - wgxa.tv

Virtual Learning: Here's how you can find your center during Covid-19

We have heard this time and again that children grow up to be the adults they experience around them. This is not only true for skills and behaviours they develop but also for certain deeper faculties of the mind such as the ability to pay attention, building resilience, discernment and so on. In times of a pandemic when there is a sense of uncertainty and everyone is operating from a space of anxiety and fear, it is even more critical that we as parents and educators intentionally take time out to center ourselves and find out tools, methods and practices to consciously tune inwards each day.
26th Nov 2020 - India Today

Stanford University study finds Illinois students years behind in math, reading during online learning

New research suggests remote learning is putting students behind in reading and math. Researchers at Stanford University estimated the virtual classroom has put many kids behind in their studies. In Illinois they found on average, students have lost more than a year in reading progress. Illinois students are about a year and a half behind in math as well. Like most kids, 6-year-old Persephone and 4-year-old Ezekiel are active and love to play. Sitting in front of a computer screen for school has been tough for them.
26th Nov 2020 - WLS-TV

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 26th Nov 2020

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It's not just ABCs – preschool parents worry their kids are missing out on critical social skills during the pandemic

As researchers who study children’s educational development, we know that preschool helps children develop important academic and social skills they will need for later school success. In April, we surveyed 166 parents of preschool children to examine what they felt was working – and not working – with distance learning. While the data haven’t been published yet, they give us important insights into virtual preschool. Of the 166 parents who responded to our online survey, 73% said their preschool children were provided virtual learning opportunities during the COVID-19 crisis. The children were expected to devote 30 to 60 minutes a day to virtual classes. Two-thirds of parents said they supplemented the school lessons with in-home learning activities, although these primarily focused on reading, not math.
25th Nov 2020 - The Conversation US

For Iowa Schools, More Virtual Learning Brings Challenges

First-grade teacher Robin Nelson at Garfield Elementary School spends part of her day reminding students to mute and unmute their microphones, raise their hands and take turns speaking as she navigates how best to teach and engage students in virtual school. The Iowa Department of Education on Tuesday approved a second virtual waiver for the Cedar Rapids Community School District, allowing virtual learning to continue in the district beyond Thanksgiving break through Dec. 11. If conditions improve, students could possibly return to in-person class Dec. 7. Families will be alerted by Dec. 3.
25th Nov 2020 - GovTech

Failing grades spike in Virginia’s largest school system as online learning gap emerges nationwide

A report on student grades from one of the nation’s largest school districts offers some of the first concrete evidence that online learning is forcing a striking drop in students’ academic performance, and that the most vulnerable students — children with disabilities and English-language learners — are suffering the most. Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia, which has been mostly online since March, published an internal analysis this week showing that, between the last academic year and this one, the percentage of middle school and high school students earning F’s in at least two classes jumped by 83 percent: from 6 percent to 11 percent. By the end of the first quarter of 2020-2021, nearly 10,000 Fairfax students had scored F’s in two or more classes — an increase of more than 4,300 students as compared with the group who received F’s by the same time last year.
25th Nov 2020 - The Washington Post

Three ideas for more effective online teaching (opinion)

Many students alchemize participating in distance learning with sitting in front of an optically and audibly challenged neophyte substitute. Moreover, some act as if they can easily evade engaging in chats, polls and discussions. Pandemic-era instructors, much like the lobsterman who drops a beacon into Long Island Sound at night, luring his valuable catch toward the shimmering light, need newfangled pedagogical beacons to lure their students toward enlightenment. At the start and middle of the term, by clearly explaining and consistently enforcing a series of post-traditional classroom rules, you can create more of a safe, productive and freewheeling remote learning environment and less of a rigid digital panopticon. I’ve listed below 10 rules I’ve developed for the students in my classes. Any that you establish for your own classes can, of course, be more or less rigorous.
25th Nov 2020 - Inside Higher Ed

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 25th Nov 2020

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Why Boys Are More at Risk of Falling Behind During Remote School

Remote school has exposed a number of inequities in education, from rural residents who don’t have high-speed internet service to low-income families who don’t have laptops. Boys could be another student group that falls behind during virtual learning, according to some researchers. Studies conducted before the coronavirus pandemic reveal an academic achievement gap between boys and girls, with girls ahead. Now, some pediatric researchers say they expect the disparities to only increase. A 2018 meta-analysis of more than 200 mostly U.S. studies of teacher-assigned grades found that girls had significantly higher grades in elementary school through college than boys, including higher grades in the subjects of science, technology, engineering and math. The findings showed that while males are overrepresented in STEM careers it isn’t because they are outperforming females in those subject areas.
24th Nov 2020 - The Wall Street Journal

New Book Helps Teachers Excel in the Virtual Classroom

The sudden shift to remote learning in 2020 was not only a struggle for PK-12 students and their parents, but also for teachers. Even the most seasoned instructors were left scrambling to adjust their approach to a virtual classroom, often for the first time and with little training or support. With virtual learning options likely to continue growing in demand, it’s vital for our nation’s teachers to gain the necessary skills to deliver high-quality online instruction that supports student success. The National Virtual Teacher Association (NVTA) is on a mission to help teachers transition from the brick-and-mortar classroom to the virtual classroom, with the goal of providing online instruction that’s even more engaging and effective than in-person learning. Their new book, "Virtual Instruction Standards: Optimizing Teaching & Learning" (October 2020), is a comprehensive guide based on current research, proven best practices and the expertise of virtual instructors across the country that addresses all learners and learning environments, as well as the evolving needs of students, educators and schools.
23rd Nov 2020 - EIN News

Colleges pivoting classes to prepare future educators to teach students online

Adeena Wilcox took a class about digital technology in the classroom as part of her master’s program in early childhood education at Ohio State University over the summer. Now the 22 year-old from Elizabeth, West Virginia is putting what she learned into practice as she student-teaches second graders at Bluffsview Elementary in the Worthington City School District. “That class was very, very necessary for my success this semester,” Wilcox said. “I’ve used so many things that I’ve learned in that class. I think this sort of class should be a necessity.”
23rd Nov 2020 - The Columbus Dispatch

Most Parents Spending More Than 2 Hours a Day on Kids’ Virtual Learning

Students across the country have had to adjust to conducting their classes online because of the pandemic, but their parents are feeling the pressures of virtual schooling too. More than 3 in 4 parents (78%) report spending an additional two hours or more each day helping their children with schoolwork, according to new research from consumer product manufacturer BIC. In fact, 25% of those surveyed said they spend four or more extra hours a day helping their children compared to what they did before the pandemic. And besides having to juggle educational duties with their work, parents also find they need to reacquaint themselves with long-forgotten academic subjects, as well as deal with higher-than-usual school supply costs.
23rd Nov 2020 - Yahoo Finance

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 24th Nov 2020

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Learning in a pandemic proves difficult in Alabama

At the beginning of the school year, virtual school seemed like the safest option for Oak Mountain High School junior Quest Agee. Agee and his parents worried about the health of grandparents who lived with them at the time and family members suffering from asthma. His mother, Jarralynne Agee, believed he could handle the extra responsibility required to complete assignments outside the structure of a regular classroom. For a while, everything seemed to be going well. Then Agee began getting calls from teachers that her son, who had previously been an A/B student, was in danger of failing. It caught them both off guard. “How we kind of got behind is we would ask my son ‘How are you doing?’ and he would say, ‘Great,’” Jarralynne Agee said. “Even though they feel like they are doing all right, you really have to go back and make sure they are doing it all.”
23rd Nov 2020 - al.com

Atlantic City students return to virtual learning this week

Atlantic City students will go back to virtual learning this week, as a deep-cleaning of all the schools is conducted. Superintendent Barry Caldwell said the decision was “out of an abundance of caution.” Hundreds of teachers and staff called out last week in protest of the return to in-person schooling. They said many of the buildings were not safe, citing issues including the ventilation system. But at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting, Director of Operations Atiba Rose gave a presentation assuring the public that the proper precautions were taken. When board member Al Herbert suggested the board vote to halt in-person teaching until certain necessities were delivered, Caldwell said instead that, with the holidays coming up, that the students could go to school and then the decision could be readdressed after the holidays.
23rd Nov 2020 - breakingac.com

Upholding academic integrity also key in virtual classrooms’

Although many schools in the Philippines and Southeast Asia have adapted to the new learning environment by introducing new methods of distance learning and blended learning, an official from an educational-software company recently pointed out that educators and students—even parents—need to develop academic integrity to make learning a relevant and substantial undertaking. “Despite sudden changes in [education deployment] system-wide, academic integrity is still a key concept to discuss and establish with all students,” Turnitin Southeast Asia Head of Business and Partnerships Jack Brazel said. According to Brazel, educators can start teaching integrity in the syllabus by defining it, while pointing out the consequences of submitting plagiarized work. He said the next step is to continue teaching tangible lessons around it throughout the class.
23rd Nov 2020 - Business Mirror on MSN.com

Can AR be the antidote to virtual classroom shortcomings?

Schools across the country are well into their second go-round of distance learning at this point. Things seem to be running more smoothly than the first attempt last spring–however, we are still experiencing growing pains to say the least. Students, parents, and educators have all expressed serious concerns regarding distance learning. In a survey done by The Education Trust, a statewide poll found that 90 percent of parents are worried about their children falling behind academically due to coronavirus-related school closures. One of the most difficult adjustments to this change, especially for teachers, has been the adoption of digital tools that aid distance learning. We’ve all become much more acquainted with Zoom and Google Meets.
23rd Nov 2020 - eSchool News

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 23rd Nov 2020

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Virtual learning can work but requires time and professional training, experts say

While some parents are imploring school systems to return students to classrooms, experts argue that the sudden disruption to traditional schooling provides teachers a unique opportunity to educate in new ways. But it will require time, expansion of broadband internet and long-term investment in professional development for educators. Trying to recreate the old model of learning, which was developed in the late 19th century, into remote instruction “is like cramming a square peg into a round hole. It’s just not compatible,” Ryan Schaaf, an assistant professor at Notre Dame of Maryland University, told state lawmakers during a virtual education briefing Thursday afternoon.
22nd Nov 2020 - WTOP

Connectivity headaches as students adjust to virtual learning

As Nigeria navigates through a devastating pandemic strike and striking lecturers adamant about returning to the classroom, Mojisola Alabi requires no rocket science to realise she will need an extra year to wrap up her Mass Communication programme at the University of Lagos. “I am supposed to be on industrial training now,’ gripes the 300 Level student, ‘but that will have to wait till next year again because higher institutions are still on strike.” The budding broadcast journalist isn’t the only one nursing her frustration. Several millions of youths scattered across the nation’s 174 universities, 134 polytechnics and monotechnics, and 220 colleges of education are watching helplessly as their lives continue in a tailspin until the coronavirus strikes ebb and the federal government reaches a compromise with striking lecturers.
22nd Nov 2020 - The Nation Newspaper

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 20th Nov 2020

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COVID-19 Is Forever Changing How Students Experience Libraries

There’s a ritual that kicks off every new quarter in Michelle Luhtala’s library at New Canaan High School, one where English teachers send a gaggle of students through her doors to pick a new batch of books. It looked different when the campus reopened in mid-October, when she had students select their books through an online portal to be delivered to their classrooms the next day. “We can’t have kids pluck books off the shelves,” says Luhtala, the library department chair for her Connecticut school and an expert in emerging library technology. “Typically droves of kids come down and get fresh books, and it’s a whole time for exchange and fun and conversation about what they read, and having to do that virtually is not nearly as fun as it is in person.”
19th Nov 2020 - EdSurge

Addressing the Demands of Virtual University Classrooms

For some students and professors, the loss of in-person contact has disrupted higher education and the experiences that often accompany it. #“I have found that distance learning is riddled with challenges,” said senior Sophia Jaimes, a psychology major at Marymount University. “Personally, I am very much a student who learns best when I am in a learning environment with a teacher who I can ask immediate questions to. When I have to use Zoom I find myself often being distracted or, at times, feeling awkward to talk on Zoom since I may not know my peers.” As Marymount and other universities and colleges prepare for all-remote learning after Thanksgiving, students and professors are pondering the ways in which academics will be affected. Linda McKenna Gulyn, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at Marymount, has written a paper that addresses some of the problems that her colleagues and students might be experiencing in the uncharted territory of virtual campuses. #“Colleges and universities are faced with the need to adapt and evolve without a script,” said Linda Gulyn, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Marymount University in Arlington. “Hundreds of experienced and highly regarded professors feel like clunky beginners as they redesign and deliver their courses online.”
19th Nov 2020 - Alexandria Gazette Packet

Closing the digital divide for all NC students

Significant numbers of students have had challenges connecting to their virtual classrooms. Our students should be zooming. But instead, many are losing. Today, almost 17 million school-age students do not have access to high-speed home internet. One-third of Hispanic and African American households do not have access to high-speed internet at home, and 17% of Hispanic and African American households do not have a computer. There is a practical fix to this. Public school systems could provide each student with a computer or tablet. Internet providers could expand their low-cost and no-cost internet offerings.
19th Nov 2020 - EdNC

Principal’s Desk: ‘Virtual teaching can not replace classroom teaching’

“It is a supplement to classroom teaching and not a substitute to in-person teaching. The virtual classroom cannot replace the traditional classroom because it is by its very essence or nature is not completely ‘real’.”
19th Nov 2020 - Hindustan Times

‘Remote Learning Is Not Working’: Shutdown Hurts Children, Parents Say

Laura Espinoza took an hourlong subway ride on Thursday morning from her Brooklyn neighborhood to City Hall, where she joined several dozen families gathered to protest Mayor Bill de Blasio’s decision to shut down the nation’s largest school system as virus cases have surged across the city. Ms. Espinoza has 6-year-old twins, both of whom have disabilities. They were attending school five days a week, a rarity for city students, but now they will have classes at home indefinitely. “They don’t adapt to change quickly, all this back and forth has not been good for them,” Ms. Espinoza said. She added that remote instruction is also taking a toll on her 15-year-old daughter.
19th Nov 2020 - New York Times

Commissioner Indicates Virtual Learning Will Still be an Option in 2021

Parents and school districts in Central Florida are feeling some relief after waiting months for a decision from the state about how kids will be learning next year. While we still don't have a final decision, State Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran gave some signs at Wednesday's State Board of Education meeting for those who want virtual hybrid learning options to continue. Orange County mom Kristine Harris said although her kids are already attending school in person, she’s still been waiting anxiously to know whether all kids will going back to brick and mortar schools next year. “Wondering what’s happening and stressing, it’s not fair for us to have to worry about that,” she said.
19th Nov 2020 - News 13 Orlando

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 19th Nov 2020

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7 College Students on the Joys (+ Nightmares) of Virtual Learning

For most of the country’s universities right now, digital learning is the name of the game—which got us thinking: What’s it really like inside these virtual classrooms? We spoke with several college students who dished on the high highs and low lows of transitioning to remote curriculums.
18th Nov 2020 - Backstage

Students call for lowered tuition amidst online school

Students who may have envisioned their post-secondary experience sitting in lecture halls, forming in-person connections with their professors or joining clubs are now experiencing all of university through a computer screen. While some may have accepted the fate of online school—particularly the fact that it costs the same as the in-person alternative—some students are letting their university administrations know they aren’t happy. Jasmine Doobay-Joseph, who is in her second year of the cognitive science program at Carleton, is one such student. In June, she started an online petition after being unsatisfied with her winter semester, which moved online due to COVID-19.
17th Nov 2020 - The Charlatan

Fairfax delays in-person instruction as Virginia teachers’ groups ask Northam to return state to all-virtual school

Virginia’s largest school system is pausing plans to return thousands of children to classrooms — an announcement that came the same day Northern Virginia teachers’ unions urged Gov. Ralph Northam (D) to switch the state to online-only learning. Fairfax County Public Schools, which serves 186,000 students, was supposed to send 6,800 pre-kindergartners, kindergartners and special education students back into school buildings on Tuesday. They would have joined the roughly 8,000 young children, special education students, and career and technical students who have already returned to classrooms.
16th Nov 2020 - The Washington Post

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 18th Nov 2020

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WVa education group seeks virtual learning until year's end

West Virginia’s largest teacher organization called on the governor Monday to take public schools online-only through year’s end because of the coronavirus pandemic. The plea comes after the state recorded a high of 4,404 confirmed virus cases over the past week from Nov. 9 through Sunday, a 63% increase from the previous week. The state health department reported 632 new cases and three more deaths on Monday, bringing West Virginia’s total confirmed cases to more than 30,000 and the death toll to at least 562.
18th Nov 2020 - Associated Press

International Students Confront Challenges Of Virtual Learning | Boston

When the University suspended in-person classes in March, Jiayi Wang, MCAS '22, returned home to Henan, China to finish out the semester in a different hemisphere, and because of U.S. travel restrictions barring entry to those coming from China, she was unable to return to campus for the fall semester. Roughly half of BC's 1,872 international students are attending classes from their home countries this semester, according to Adrienne Nussbaum, director of the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS). But students hailing from China have been among the most affected by travel restrictions, she said.
17th Nov 2020 - Patch.com

Students Must Adjust As Universities, Colleges Pivot Back To Virtual Learning Due To Surging COVID-19 Cases

Many of the colleges and universities in Maryland are pivoting back to virtual learning, ramping up testing or sending students home until the surge in COVID-19 cases is under control. Gov. Larry Hogan gave college students a warning as the holiday season approaches, to get tested especially if you have been living away from your family. “If you’re a college student planning on returning home, get a test,” he said. “If you are planning to spend any time around your grandparents, get a test. If you are returning from any out-of-state travel, get a test.”
17th Nov 2020 - CBS Baltimore

Teachers say Scots school closures should be on the cards as Level 4 lockdown is imposed in 11 council areas

School closures should be on the cards in the 11 local authority areas - including Glasgow - that face Scotland's toughest Covid restrictions on Friday. The level four rules will see the closure of non-essential shops, pubs, restaurants and gyms. They will be imposed in East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Glasgow, Renfrewshire and West Dunbartonshire.
17th Nov 2020 - Herald Scotland

Building parent-teacher relationships is hard. Remote learning makes it harder.

Several years ago, I sat in a parent-teacher conference and observed a teacher speak to a student from a place of compassion and concern. Once the teacher finished, the parent turned to the child and reiterated the same sentiments. I thought to myself, that is the power of a stable parent-teacher relationship. It was a joy to see and feel no need to intervene. I’ve also been thinking about the beginning of last school year, when my wife and I took our children to school on their first day. The opportunity to meet their teachers face to face brought a sense of relief that my children were in good hands. As an educator, every year I see parents’ eyes fill with tears of joy on that day.
17th Nov 2020 - Chalkbeat Colorado

Connecting with students in online classes: It's all about camera angle

College students, especially recently, are wondering: Will I actually be able to form a connection with my professor if my classes are online? ODU Online’s assistant vice president for technology, Miguel Ramlatchan, conducted a study to find out. In a recent article, “Enhancing Instructor Credibility and Immediacy in the Design of Distance Learning Systems and Virtual Classroom Environments,” which appeared in the Journal of Applied Instructional Design, Ramlatchan detailed what he and his co-writer discovered.
17th Nov 2020 - WYDaily

Bots Grade Your Kids’ Schoolwork—and They’re Often Wrong

Some parents might be in for an unpleasant surprise when report cards come out this fall: lower-than-expected grades. But that might be less an accurate reflection of their children’s work than a glitch in the automated systems many schools are using to check schoolwork. Unless parents and teachers review students’ tests, the problem can be easy to miss. I discovered the problem only when my fifth-grader bombed a science test for which I knew he was prepared.
17th Nov 2020 - The Wall Street Journal

Teacher mentoring still adds PD value in remote learning

When schools shut down in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, South Dakota's statewide teacher mentoring program shifted to virtual platforms like Zoom and Google Classroom so participants could continue to benefit from the insight of their peers — both for virtual instruction and mentoring, Waubay School District Superintendent Alan Neville and school improvement specialist Janeen Outka write for Edutopia. Participants observed new teachers as they taught live remote lessons by either adding mentors as students or including mentors as co-teachers. Mentors were also able to collaborate on lessons with new teachers and share strategies, tech tools, resources and feedback online.
17th Nov 2020 - Education Dive

Medical schools increasingly turn to virtual reality amid COVID-19 pandemic

Amid enhanced safety precautions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, medical schools across the country are relying more on virtual reality to help train future doctors and health care workers. Multiple monitors in large classroom spaces at Kansas City University allow for social distancing, but students also are required to wear masks and time spent on campus is limited. Most lectures have moved online. Access to in-hospital clinics often is limited as well because of COVID-19, which has led to an increasing reliance on virtual reality to teach future front-line health workers.
17th Nov 2020 - KSHB Kansas City

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 17th Nov 2020

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An 8-bit classroom? Professors try new methods of virtual engagement

Catherine Ott, senior in Engineering, sits at her desk working on her project while her professor walks around the classroom checking in with students and answering any questions they may have. However, like many other things this year, this classroom has moved online into a virtual meeting space that resembles an old 8-bit video game. “It’s pretty much like you’re in a classroom,” Ott said. “Just you have a little person on a computer.” Dr. Andre Schleife, professor in Engineering, teaches MSE 404: Laboratory Studies in Materials Science and Engineering MIC/MAC, a project-based course centered around students working individually under the guidance of their instructor.
16th Nov 2020 - Daily Illini

Remote Students Prefer Active Learning and Communities: Study

A survey of more than 3,000 college and university students has found students continue to have reservations about their remote learning experiences as the fall semester progresses. Seven out of ten students feel that online learning is not as effective as in-person instruction. While more than half (57 percent) of students reported their opinion of their school remained the same or improved, 47 percent believe that it has gotten slightly or significantly worse. Additionally, students voice a strong preference for instructors who make active learning, as well as a sense of community and belonging, a top priority in the virtual classroom.
16th Nov 2020 - The College Post

Virginia Beach schools return to all-virtual learning after coronavirus cases spike

Virginia Beach public schools are returning to all-virtual learning Tuesday after a sudden spike in coronavirus cases was reported Monday. It means all students will resume virtual learning five days a week. The district had just brought back the remaining five grades — 7th and 8th graders as well grades 10, 11 and 12 — last Thursday. The system’s reopening plan, one of the most aggressive in the region, has been guided by the status of two metrics throughout eastern Virginia: the number of new cases reported each day and percent of tests that come back positive.
16th Nov 2020 - YAHOO!News

Alabama schools go virtual: Rising COVID-19 cases prompt closures

A growing number of Alabama schools are transitioning back to virtual learning due to a rising number of coronavirus cases. In Birmingham, officials said the number of positive COVID-19 cases at Hudson K-9 prompted a shift to remote learning until after Thanksgiving break. A total of 6 positive cases were recorded among staff members last week and several others were quarantined. In-person classes will resume Nov. 30. Meals will be available for students with curbside pickup each school day from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
16th Nov 2020 - MSN.com

WVa education group seeks virtual learning until year's end

West Virginia's largest teacher organization called on the governor Monday to take public schools online-only through year's end because of the coronavirus pandemic. The plea comes after the state recorded a high of 4,404 confirmed virus cases over the past week from Nov. 9 through Sunday, a 63% increase from the previous week. The state health department reported 632 new cases and three more deaths on Monday, bringing West Virginia's total confirmed cases to more than 30,000 and the death toll to at least 562.
16th Nov 2020 - Houston Chronicle

Some New Jersey Schools Reverting To Virtual Learning As Health Officials Express Concern About Possible COVID-19 Spike After Thanksgiving

With cases rising, some school districts in our region say they have no choice but to go back to all-virtual learning. Haddonfield is one of a few high schools in Camden County going all-virtual until after Thanksgiving because of a COVID outbreak. “Halloween was our ground zero, I think, here,” said Haddonfield Superintendent Chuck Klause.
16th Nov 2020 - CBS Philly

Non-English speakers face challenges in virtual learning

As coronavirus cases surge in her new city, the refugee wants to help her sons learn virtually, but she can’t read the lessons. “I’m really worried for what my children are missing,” she said through a Swahili translator last week in her West Scranton apartment. “How can I explain to my children when I don’t know English?” As virtual learning continues in much of northeast Pennsylvania, including the Scranton School District, families struggle with technology issues and child care and worry about children falling behind. For the city’s refugee community and other families not fluent in English, the challenges are far greater.
16th Nov 2020 - Sentinel Colorado

Special needs students are falling behind. Can US parents manage more lockdowns?

For months, little Jordi thrived. Although Covid-19 had prompted shutdowns in Los Angeles this March, the five-year-old, who has severe autism, was able to receive behavioral therapy at home. Meanwhile, Jordi’s parents were working from home, so he was around them all day. In June, after safety protocols were in place, Jordi resumed speech and physical therapy at an early-intervention clinic. These therapies were through their private insurance. “I’d never seen this kid blossom so much,” his mother, Carla Suarez-Capdet, told the Guardian.
15th Nov 2020 - The Guardian

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 16th Nov 2020

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Schoolcations Are All the Rage, Here's How to Take One

The pandemic has turned many parents into teachers, making remote learning challenging for the entire family. It’s especially tough for those who may still be going into their office and can’t be home to supervise, or if the homeschooling responsibility lies on the shoulders of one parent who may also be juggling working from home. The stress is tremendous. A new national poll of the U.S. workforce by Eagle Hill Research found that 65 percent of employees with children in remote learning situations are feeling burnout. Mom and dad need more than a “Calgon take me away” relaxing bath moment. Parents looking to exhale are finding relief with “schoolcations.” Families are loading up backpacks with school supplies, packing the laptop and hitting the road. Online learning can be done anywhere.
15th Nov 2020 - The Daily Beast

KT Debate: Are virtual classrooms better than campus ones?

Face-to-face learning or virtual one? This is a hotly debated topic among parents and educators. While the current situation demands the power to choose either of the two options, some stress the need to embrace the digital path as the new normal amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Some parents remain concerned about their children missing out on extra-curricular and physical activities and the impact on their mental health. Virtual classroom is definitely the new learning experience for the future, especially for the secondary and tertiary sector. The alpha generation will be more comfortable with the virtual education world. It will be difficult for parents and teachers to accept, but it is their future and who are we to control it. We need to embrace it and change ourselves for it. Virtual classrooms are not going to substitute school education. The walls between the classrooms will disappear but the community learning space for social and emotional skills will stay and transform the school education.
14th Nov 2020 - Khaleej Times

Rochester in Focus: Tech education Jedi helping teachers succeed in virtual classrooms

Teachers and students are spending a lot of time online these days, but transferring teaching skills from the classroom to virtual learning isn't easy for everyone. Some teachers are frustrated and think they are getting a failing grade. News10NBC's Lynette Adams spoke with a man who is referred to as a technology education Jedi. Jon O'Keefe works for Logical Operations in Brighton. He has studied the impact of technology on students and has designed curriculum and trained more than 3,500 adult educators who have become certified virtual educators.
14th Nov 2020 - WHEC

Coronavirus: France to restart remote lessons after threat of strikes over safety

Sixth-form colleges in France were ordered to draw up plans for the reintroduction of remote learning yesterday as President Macron sought to head off a revolt by teachers and pupils. Hardline teachers’ unions are calling strikes over what they say are inadequate health protocols and sixth-formers are organising sporadic blockades of their lycées to protest against crowded classrooms. Some demonstrations turned violent, notably in poorer Paris suburbs.
13th Nov 2020 - The Times

Blue Valley sending older students back to online-only class after COVID-19 surge

The Blue Valley school district will transition older students back to online-only classes on Nov. 30 as the Kansas City region reports record COVID-19 cases. District officials announced Friday that middle and high schoolers will return to remote learning after Thanksgiving, from Nov. 30 through Dec. 22, the last day before winter break. Elementary school students will remain in in-person classes five days a week. The district will allow middle and high school winter sports and activities to begin on Nov. 16, with safety precautions.
13th Nov 2020 - Kansas City Star

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 13th Nov 2020

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Teachers in Pennsylvania demanding virtual learning as COVID-19 cases surge

The largest teachers union in Pennsylvania is demanding that school districts in nearly two dozen counties with the worst coronavirus outbreaks have students temporarily learn from home. State officials recommend virtual instruction in counties with a “substantial” level of community transmission. There are 23 such counties at present.
13th Nov 2020 - Fox 4

Ag in the classroom goes virtual

Ontario’s Agriculture In The Classroom program, called AgScape, delivered more than 600 lessons about agriculture and food to nearly 15,000 students in the province in 2019. That’s a whopping three times as many as 2018. And it certainly helps give more students factual, science-based insight into where their food comes from and how the multi-billion-dollar industry here works. “Teachers are hearing about us and asking for our services,” new executive director Taylor Selig said in an interview earlier this week. But surprisingly, requests for 200 more lessons went unfulfilled because this non-profit charity didn’t have the resources to deliver them.
13th Nov 2020 - ObserverXtra

How to manage kids’ attention during virtual learning (and prevent meltdowns)

For many families, the transition to virtual learning during the pandemic comes with some challenges. Students may be struggling to stay focused, resulting in distracted or unproductive behavior. To help resolve these issues, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt education innovators launched Family Room, a family-friendly online space that makes at-home learning more manageable for parents and students.
12th Nov 2020 - Motherly Inc.

Distance learning is straining parent-teacher relationships

Renee Enyart, 28, was across the room from her sixth-grader when it happened. She glanced over and saw her daughter Emi, who was virtually attending science class at their home in Winter Haven, Fla., reaching for her laptop’s power cable. Suddenly, a sharp voice rang out from the speakers. “It was just an instant scolding: ‘I told you to look at the screen. You know what you’re supposed to be doing. I shouldn’t have to tell you guys,’ ” Enyart recalled.
12th Nov 2020 - The Washington Post

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 12th Nov 2020

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Should all N.J. schools go virtual? Some teachers unions and experts say yes as cases continue to rise.

As New Jersey prepared to reopen its schools in August, East Brunswick Superintendent Victor Valeski sat alongside Gov. Phil Murphy at a press conference outlining the state’s plan to return students to the classroom safely. East Brunswick was held up as a model of a public school district that had its social distancing measures in place with a hybrid model to bring students into their classrooms a few days a week on a rotating basis.
11th Nov 2020 - NJ.com

Is the hybrid classroom here to stay?

As is the case every year, this autumn thousands of students set their sights and ambitions on a brand new academic year. However, unlike previous years this just so happened to be during a global pandemic. And while the typical social and extra-curricular activities that schools are renowned for had to be significantly reduced and in some cases canceled, lecturers and teaching faculty members assured nervous students, and their families, that their academic experience would remain uncompromised. Despite these uncertain and challenging times, many academics and university lecturers are choosing to view this as an exciting opportunity for never before seen large-scale digital transformation. While unusual, these circumstances present the perfect opportunity to create and revise existing content to ensure it is, not only engaging and challenging for students, but has long-term potential.
11th Nov 2020 - fenews.co.uk

Curricular Counsel: Parental support crucial to maximize virtual learning

To ensure learning continued amid coronavirus-related school shutdowns that began in spring, districts built in a fair bit of flexibility around not just where learning could take place, but when. While there were some synchronous learning opportunities, "the bulk of the day was perhaps spent with students simply doing an activity, doing the assignment, and then turning it back in to their teachers," said Clay Hunter, interim associate superintendent of curriculum and instructional support for Georgia's Gwinnett County Public Schools.
11th Nov 2020 - Education Dive

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 11th Nov 2020

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How educators are overcoming virtual learning challenges

When K-6 special ed teacher Leanne Wu had to take her class remote, she knew she was going to face challenges getting her students—all of whom have developmental delays or sensory challenges—to fully benefit from the lessons she was presenting.
10th Nov 2020 - National Geographic news

These teachers aren’t just enduring the remote education era — they’re thriving

The Harvard psychologist B.F. Skinner once built what he referred to as a “teaching machine.” Based around the principle that positive reinforcement was crucial to teaching, Skinner’s machine allowed students to pull different levers in order to indicate their answers to questions. When the correct lever was pulled, a light switched on to show that the right answer had been given. In some versions, Skinnerian teaching machines dispensed pieces of candy when a sufficient number of right answers had been provided. Skinner was right about the positive reinforcement aspect of teaching. Think back to your favorite teachers at school and, chances are, they motivated you and your classmates by giving you positive feedback and encouragement. Heck, maybe they even handed out candy on occasion after a particularly well-done test. Today, there are no shortage of great learning apps that apply some of the Skinnerian principles to learning. But, while edu-tech is booming, so too is the importance of real, live teachers.
10th Nov 2020 - Digital Trends

‘Telepresence’ robots are making virtual school feel a little more like real school

It has been a year full of the unexpected for families who have had to quickly adjust to masks, quarantines and virtual and hybrid learning, all thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. For Eliza Engel and her son Thomas McKnight, one of the surprises 2020 has brought is that the sixth-grader at Burgundy Farm Country Day School in Alexandria, Va., now attends class with the help of a robot.
10th Nov 2020 - The Washington Post

Tips to help your student stay physically active during virtual learning

For some students, virtual learning has been ongoing for several months now, which means they most likely have been doing a lot of sitting. Pediatricians say the lack of movement could be having an impact on your child's health. While there may be advantages for some when it comes to virtual learning from home, a pediatrician from Texas Children's Hospital reminds students and parents that movement is still necessary throughout the day. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends about an hour of physical activity for kids per day. "Lack of movement, in general, is a big concern," said Dr. Tiffany Nguyen, a pediatrician at TCH. One of the issues is poor circulation while sitting, which can be a problem if your student is virtually learning and not getting up to move around between classes.
10th Nov 2020 - KTRK-TV

Schools increasingly return to online learning as Covid-19 spikes across the U.S.

Schools around the country are returning to virtual learning or delaying in-person classroom plans as coronavirus cases continue to soar nationwide in record-breaking numbers. Some school districts that had been engaging in hybrid learning — with some days of virtual schooling alternated with in-person class days — are switching to a full virtual model through the end of the year. Maryland’s Hartford County Public Schools announced Monday that it was making the transition by Friday due to the new cases.
10th Nov 2020 - NBC News

Non-English speakers face challenges in virtual learning

Aporine Shabani escaped violence in Congo to find a better life for her children in Scranton. As coronavirus cases surge in her new city, the refugee wants to help her sons learn virtually, but she can’t read the lessons. “I’m really worried for what my children are missing,” she said through a Swahili translator last week in her West Scranton apartment. “How can I explain to my children when I don’t know English?” As virtual learning continues in much of northeast Pennsylvania, including the Scranton School District, families struggle with technology issues and child care and worry about children falling behind.
10th Nov 2020 - Associated Press

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 10th Nov 2020

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Can keeping kids active help virtual learning?

As novel coronavirus cases surged, many schools switched to virtual learning. While learning online helps lessons continue during the pandemic, students could face severe inactivity while learning from home, and a desk-bound learning system is leading to complex emotions such as anxiety, fear, loneliness and grief, experts say. Sandra Sims, associate professor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Education, suggests that an activity as simple as walking can help students.
10th Nov 2020 - Kaleido Scope

You need to be Sesame Street or a teen therapist, because there’s no age where virtual learning is easy

Kindergarteners can’t read what’s on the computer screen and high school students are at risk of depression from isolation and loneliness. Younger and older students alike face challenges with virtual school, said Andrea Smith, an early childhood education professor in Western Michigan University’s College of Education and Human Development. “Is it harder to bike 100 miles or run 50 miles?” Smith asked. “When you’re going that far, it doesn’t matter. It’s different but it’s hard.”
10th Nov 2020 - MLive.com

4 Tips for Enhancing STEM Engagement in a Hybrid Classroom

COVID-19 upended virtually every aspect of business and society this year. Unfortunately, education hasn’t been spared. But there is an upside to the situation. As we continue to live in a more contactless world, innovation in education prevails. For instance, STEM educators are finding creative strategies to engage students remotely. I wrote about some of these strategies in a higher education context, but they also apply to today’s K–12 schools. The four best practices below can help STEM educators at all levels keep their classes engaging and effective, no matter where they’re teaching from.
10th Nov 2020 - EdTech Magazine: Focus on K-12

Study abroad officials to offer virtual exchange program in spring

Study abroad officials will offer a virtual exchange program for incoming international students this spring. Jennifer Donaghue, the director of the International Services Office, said international exchange students will connect with domestic GW students through virtual classes and programming to replicate the experience of an in-person program. She said the program is designed for exchange students who can no longer study abroad in the spring due to travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Donaghue said students who participate in the program will not be charged any additional fees, and officials have yet to finalize the number of students who can participate in the program. She said students involved with the program will attend a virtual orientation but declined to elaborate what virtual programming students will participate in. “Students will be able to experience the excellent academics GW offers and have an opportunity to engage with domestic GW students in the virtual academic setting,” Donaghue said in an email.
10th Nov 2020 - GW Hatchet

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 9th Nov 2020

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Encouraging family engagement during virtual learning -

With many students continuing to learn virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic, education officials say family engagement is more important than ever. Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane announced Thursday that the state Board of Education has designated November as Family Engagement in Education Month. According to a release, this is encouraging school divisions to develop plans and policies to enhance parental engagement in the school work of children.
8th Nov 2020 - CBS19 News

Javier Miyares and Jim Rosapepe: Virtual learning was better option for some even before pandemic

As educators are well into the school year, the national debate about the efficacy of online learning continues. Now, though, the stakes are higher. As the economy emerges from the current health crisis, an educated and motivated workforce will be needed to fuel its recovery. Education is not one-size-fits-all, and for many students, online education may be a perfect fit. Educators who embrace the creative use of the online modality may find that they can now accommodate a surprising number of students who are high achievers, even if they don’t fit the traditional mold.
8th Nov 2020 - TribLIVE

6 ways to make virtual learning interesting and effective for children with special needs

With the closure of regular schools due to Covid-19 and disruption in the daily schedule, it is difficult for children with special needs with autism, ADHD, dyslexia to follow their individualised plans. Here are certain tips by Dr Puja Kapoor, Pediatric neurologist and Co-Founder of Continua Kids for parents on how to make virtual sessions interesting and effective.
8th Nov 2020 - India Today

Aiken County superintendent talks future of virtual learning

A demand for virtual learning may remain after the COVID-19 pandemic is over, said King Laurence, superintendent of the Aiken County Public School District. The superintendent delivered a presentation – titled “Brick and Mortar or Virtual – We’re Building for Today and Tomorrow” – on school upgrades, the penny sales tax and the future of virtual learning at the Aiken Chamber of Commerce’s November First Friday breakfast.
8th Nov 2020 - Charleston Post Courier

The Building Blocks for Special Needs Kids

As school districts across the nation have adopted remote learning, children with special needs will be the ones to experience the greatest challenges, often without the crucial resources normally available, and mandated by law, in a typical classroom setting.
8th Nov 2020 - Psychology Today

Distance learning isn't failing Anchorage high school students

Anchorage School District Superintendent Deena Bishop recently announced her intent to return all ASD students to the classroom despite rising COVID-19 numbers, stating that “the mission of our school district is to prepare our students for success,” and “(w)e are not meeting that mission.” As neighbors with daughters beginning their second quarter of online school through Service High School, we disagree with the superintendent’s broad, generalized message and her back-to-the-classroom plan for high schoolers. Our experience with high school distance learning thus far is not the colossal failure the superintendent asserts, thanks to the Herculean efforts of high school teachers and staff. Rather than sending high schoolers back to class in person with COVID-19 cases rising – which we believe would be irresponsible, reckless, and unnecessary – we suggest staying the course and building on the online framework currently in place
8th Nov 2020 - Anchorage Daily News

Virtual students can be ordered back to campus if they're struggling, TEA says

A virtual learning student who is struggling academically can be required to return to the classroom, according to new guidance issued Thursday by the Texas Education Agency. "I work full time, Monday through Friday, eight to five," said Stephanie Rosa, whose daughter attends Driscoll Middle School. "My kid stays home alone to do her work. But it's been chaos." Rosa said her daughter would benefit from switching to in-person classes as opposed to virtual learning. "She's taking Spanish for the first time," Rosa said. "I think definitely needs to be done in person. So she can actually hear the teacher and she can see the paperwork."
8th Nov 2020 - WOAI

What schools need to know about safeguarding while teaching remotely

Policies, infrastructure, communication and trouble-shooting: these are the four crucial things to consider as online teaching becomes increasingly common, writes Charlotte Aynsley. The Department for Education’s (DfE) recent temporary continuity direction, which requires all schools to provide “immediate access to remote education” is likely to be interpreted in large part as a call for schools to provide learning online.
8th Nov 2020 - Schools Week

Covid-19: Monday executive meeting to look at current restrictions

Cafes and restaurants could be allowed to reopen from Friday but not bars, the deputy first minister has suggested. Michelle O'Neill said it was "something we are considering" ahead of the executive meeting to discuss easing some Covid-19 restrictions. Current measures are due to end on Friday, and ministers have been advised pubs and restaurants should remain closed for another two weeks. Ms O'Neill said there could be some "flexibility" for easing restrictions. Speaking to the BBC's Sunday Politics, she said any decisions would be taken in a "graduated" manner. Meanwhile, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has confirmed it has closed its training college at Garnerville in Belfast for two days for a deep clean.
8th Nov 2020 - BBC News

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 6th Nov 2020

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Class sizes were major source of concern when Hamilton school’s reopened. What about online class sizes?

It’s the size of online classes, not in-person classes, that are posing problems for teachers and students, says the head of a local teachers’ union. “All online classes are as big as they can be,” said Jeff Sorensen, president of the public board’s elementary teachers’ union. “Full-day kindergarten classes are around 29 students per class. In Grades 4 to 8, where there are no class caps, we’ve been told that nearly all of them have at least 30 students. “Handling 30 kids in a physical space is difficult enough. It’s virtually impossible to keep track of so many 13-year-old kids online and manage to make sure they’re attentive and doing the work.”
5th Nov 2020 - Yahoo News Canada

Orange County Public Schools' Medical Advisory Committee urges Florida to extend virtual learning

Orange County Public Schools' Medical Advisory Committee sent a letter to Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran on Wednesday, strongly urging that Orange County's schools be allowed to continue with virtual education as an option through the balance of the 2020-21 school year. The School Board here in Orange County established the Medical Advisory Committee back in July, with 10 members – from areas like nursing, infectious disease, emergency medicine, developmental-behavioral pediatrics and nursing – to advise on district policy as the coronavirus pandemic continued in Florida. And as coronavirus numbers rise throughout the county, this committee is strongly on the side of virtual learning staying on the table, believing it to be "a medical necessity for many of our students, especially those who have underlying medical conditions that would place them at high-risk."
5th Nov 2020 - Orlando Weekly

OCPS medical committee asks education commissioner to allow virtual learning in spring

Due to the rising coroanvirus cases throughout the U.S. and in Central Florida, the Orange County Public Schools medical advisory committee wrote a letter Wednesday asking Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran to consider allowing the school district to continue offering virtual learning for the rest of the school year. In July, the Orange County school board established a medical advisory committee made up of infectious disease experts, pediatricians and nurses to help the school district evaluate how to deal with the ongoing pandemic.
5th Nov 2020 - WKMG News 6 & ClickOrlando

The Pandemic Hit Education Hard, But Opens the Door to a Bright New Future

Move over New Math and Common Core: some of the most disruptive educational trends of their time have now been dwarfed by our current pandemic issues. As before, we look to our educational professionals to help us adapt. How are teachers helping to manage our collective societal stress while dealing with their own personal impact? What is the role for technology in the equation, and what lies ahead for our teachers, the students and their parents?
5th Nov 2020 - CMSWire

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 5th Nov 2020

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Huge virtual careers festival to launch

More than 1,400 students will get the chance to take part in the first ever virtual careers festival of its kind, thanks to an educational trust in Telford.
4th Nov 2020 - Shropshire Star

Commentary: Virtual learning was a better option for some students even before the pandemic

As educators are well into the school year, the national debate about the efficacy of online learning continues. Now, though, the stakes are higher. As the economy emerges from the current health crisis, an educated and motivated workforce will be needed to fuel its recovery. Education is not one-size-fits-all, and for many students, online education may be a perfect fit. Educators who embrace the creative use of the online modality may find that they can now accommodate a surprising number of students who are high achievers, even if they don’t fit the traditional mold.
4th Nov 2020 - Yahoo News

Months into virtual learning, parents become more involved with their children's education

There is no denying that online education has taken a toll on children and parents. But it has also given many parents an opportunity to understand their children’s learning process better and be more engaged in their overall development.
4th Nov 2020 - The Kathmandu Post

'A real teaching opportunity': Elementary virtual schools overcome challenges

The three Cs — communication, collaboration and community — have been added to the three Rs — reading, writing and arithmetic — as keywords you’ll hear from many of the educators teaching or overseeing the elementary virtual schools in Kingston. “We’re really trying to mimic what’s happening in our schools,” Dan Finn, Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board’s elementary virtual school principal, said. “One of the challenges we have, and we’re looking at ways to do this, is how do you build community in an online environment, and I think that’s something we’re looking for and our parents are asking for. “Normally, friendships are often built on the recess yard or at lunchtime, during those less formal opportunities where students just get together. That’s something we’re looking for to provide students the opportunities to make friendships and relationships with each other.”
4th Nov 2020 - The Kingston Whig-Standard

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 4th Nov 2020

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Keeping students with dyslexia engaged in virtual learning

A look at interactive tools, sound production, assistive technology and more as related to distance learning and dyslexia. Many components of dyslexia intervention can be replicated virtually without much difficulty, says Katy Vassar, communication and evaluations coordinator at the Dyslexia Center of Austin. Think about the multisensory aspect and using as many senses as possible to engage in learning concepts. Interactivity is also important. “We know when talking about all learners that just sitting there having a person listen is not as effective as having them engaged in learning,” she says. “They really need that interaction.”
3rd Nov 2020 - District Administration Magazine

How to Adapt Educational Leadership in the Age of Virtual Learning

The art of leading looks vastly different for school administrators today. They are now tasked with adapting their leadership practices to an environment where digital tools and remote collaboration and communication are the norm. While this is no easy feat, it does provide a great opportunity for school leaders to create a stronger school community and embrace innovative learning and teaching methods. But how can they get started with transitioning their leadership to the digital age? The nine suggestions below are a great starting point. These best practices fall into three main buckets: supporting the work, upgrading the culture and practicing self-care. To get more insight into how school and district leaders can integrate these changes into their daily work, I spoke with the leadership team from Clayton County Public Schools (CCPS), a school district in the Atlanta metro area that’s been driving authentic growth in their leadership practices.
3rd Nov 2020 - EdTech

Global digital divide jeopardises remote learning during pandemic

Dr Ronda Zelezny-Green, Global Head of Training and eLearning at the Internet Society, looks at the global digital divide and the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on remote learning. Sitting in the driveway of a fast-food restaurant just to catch their free Wi-Fi signal. Sharing a cell phone between three siblings to access online courses and the screen is too small to do homework on. Waiting for mobile WIFI mounted on school buses that will not be available until at least five days after online school starts. Making tough choices between food, electricity, or staying connected. These experiences are happening every single day… in the United States.
3rd Nov 2020 - Open Access Government

Online classes: Bane or boon?

One of the major sectors affected by the COV- ID-19 pandemic and the resultant lockdown has been institutionalised education. Schools have been shut to prevent the spread of the virus, and this has given way to online classrooms, a very new concept even in the developed countries. Of course, distance learning, with online tutorials, is already in vogue in major varsities around the world. Now, to cater to the needs of all stages of education, from pre-primary to university level, online education has emerged as an alternative to ordinary face-to-face classes.
3rd Nov 2020 - Himalayan Times

Survey finds majority of Nashville teachers in classrooms prefer virtual learning

FOX 17 News is pressing the metro school district for answers after a survey found the majority of teachers back in the classroom feel everyone should return to virtual learning. The Metro Nashville Education Association got responses from 620 teachers, support staff, and administrators. They say only 13 of those responders thought everyone should be back in the classroom. The Metro Nashville Teachers Association has been vocal about the need to learn virtually for months now.
3rd Nov 2020 - WZTV

The power of active learning during remote instruction

A new working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research finds that students performed substantially worse, on average, on standardized course assessments at the end of the COVID-19 spring semester than in previous academic terms. There was no evidence that this was driven by specific demographic groups, meaning that everyone was at an apparent disadvantage as a result of the rapid switch to remote instruction. Professors’ use of active learning methods mitigated some of this negative effect, however. The findings leave the study’s authors “optimistic” about future student learning outcomes, even as “we remain in a period of substantial online instruction.”
3rd Nov 2020 - Inside Higher Ed

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 3rd Nov 2020

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There are many ways to educate our children, as the pandemic has shown

Maryland State Schools Superintendent Karen B. Salmon’s recent remarks that schools need to reopen “right now” continue to push a narrative that is not helpful to the work we are trying to do in schools [“State superintendent says students should be in classrooms ‘right now’,” Metro, Oct. 29]. Though there is no doubt that adjusting to online learning is more than a struggle, it is no foregone conclusion that it is a waste of time.
2nd Nov 2020 - The Washington Post

Why we can't judge schools on online learning

During the partial closure of schools back in April, Labour peer Lord Adonis announced that he had been in touch with Amanda Spielman, the Ofsted chief inspector, to voice his concerns that “many schools are not providing adequate online learning and support during the crisis”.
2nd Nov 2020 - TES News

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 2nd Nov 2020

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My unreliable internet forces me out of the house, but I’ve found a good office in my local pub

I am yet again sitting in a cafe when I need not be. I do not for one minute begrudge supporting a local business. On the contrary – I’m happy to be here. But it isn’t out of choice. It is the work of Sky, whose WiFi is too often lamentable. That’s why I’m cross. If I could bill Sky for some of my cups of coffee and half-decent toasted sandwiches, I’d be less annoyed. It is 2020 and yet still the company is unable to maintain a consistent internet. Down it goes, minutes before I’m due to attend a morning Zoom call, and off I rush to a nearby coffee shop, where table space is sparse and MacBooks plenty. People give off San Francisco vibes but we are in rainy South London and there’s a man outside shouting about his parrot.
30th Oct 2020 - iNews

9 low-cost ways to make virtual learning easier for kids

The following items, all under $15, can help make distance learning more appealing to even the youngest learners. 1. New background decorations When your child is on screen all day, sprucing up their background with a wall decal or two can help keep them in school mode, especially when virtual backgrounds are prohibited by school systems. Consider shopping for a school-themed wall decal like crayons, pencils, numbers or books. A quick search on Amazon or Etsy pulls up dozens of choices for under $15.
1st Nov 2020 - Cleveland.com

Learning to learn during a pandemic

We do not fully know the extent of children’s role in the spread of COVID-19. However, we do know that the global disruption of education poses a greater threat to most children than the virus itself.
1st Nov 2020 - Al Jazeera English

COVID-19: Various platforms help teachers in giving online lessons, interacting with students

Considering teachers as COVID-warriors, various online platforms are offering their services to the fraternity for seamless conduct of online classes and interaction with students during the pandemic. Vidioh, an Indian video conferencing platform, has announced free usage of its services for teachers for a year. "COVID-19 saw teachers adapting and learning to keep education going. Instead of despair, they embraced new ways and technology to keep on teaching. This is our way of saying thank you to these COVID warriors," said Navneet Zutshii, CEO, Parrot Solutions. Universities and schools in the country were closed on March 16 to contain the outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease. A nationwide lockdown was announced on March 25 and a majority of educational institutions have been conducting teaching and learning online since then, leading to a major shift in the education system. Similarly, Classdojo is a free educational app that enables teachers, students and parents to interact online.
1st Nov 2020 - Outlook India

In D.C., achievement gap widens, early literacy progress declines during pandemic, data show

The achievement gap between young White students and students of color in the District has widened during the pandemic while the number of students reaching early literacy benchmarks has declined since schools shut down in March, according to data released by D.C. Public Schools.
30th Oct 2020 - The Washington Post

As Covid-19 Closes U.S. Classrooms, Families Turn to India for Homework Help

Sheri Akerele has been struggling to keep her sons in third and seventh grade focused on online classes as coronavirus fears shut down in-person classes in their school in Atlanta for months. Like many parents, she found her children weren’t absorbing their lessons completely, but she could spend only so much of her busy day walking them through their lessons. Luckily, she has online backup: an experienced teacher who lives in a small town in central India. “We get that one-on-one attention they need and it’s affordable,” she said. “It’s so hard learning from home.”
30th Oct 2020 - The Wall Street Journal

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 30th Oct 2020

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Virtual Reality: Realizing the Power of Experience, Excursion and Immersion in the Classroom

A framework for teaching with New York Times 360 V.R. videos, plus eight lesson plans for STEM and the humanities.
29th Oct 2020 - The New York Times

Online dance classes from USC student teachers keep kids moving

Elementary students dance like no one’s watching as they step into their virtual studio, taking part in a key program that’s expanding during a tough time.
29th Oct 2020 - USC News

Saving Sex Ed During COVID-19

Months into a global pandemic with no end in sight, many college professors and K-12 teachers have pivoted to online instruction, moving classes on subjects ranging from physics to phys ed into virtual classrooms. But Karen Rayne, a veteran educator in the Austin, Texas, area, worries a subject she specializes in – sex education – will be left behind.
29th Oct 2020 - U.S. News & World Report

91-Year-Old Professor Goes Viral After Embracing Virtual Teaching 'Like a Boss' amid Pandemic

This 91-year-old's love for teaching amid the pandemic is stronger than ever — even if it means he's behind a computer screen. Charles Krohn went viral last month after his daughter, Julia, recorded an adorable video of him embracing remote learning at Houston's University of St. Thomas, where he has been an English professor for over 50 years. When Krohn was having issues with his computer, Julia invited him to her home so he could use her computer. Little did she know, watching her father's passion for teaching would catch the attention of so many people. "The fact that [he's teaching] virtually and still engaging and so smart and so quick ... it was just this beautiful moment that I just had to capture," she told Good Morning America of the sweet moment.
29th Oct 2020 - YAHOO!

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 29th Oct 2020

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Parents Should Resist the Urge to Helicopter Parent During Remote School, Experts Say

Child development experts have already firmly established why helicopter parenting and lawnmower parenting — or swooping in to rescue our kids from every problem — is harmful. Overly involved parenting jeopardizes kids’ independence and resilience, not to mention parents’ sanity. Yet months into a pandemic that’s forcing physical classrooms to remain closed, the unescapable proximity has caused many parents to struggle. It can be hard to let children muddle through the challenges of virtual school without intervening. Earlier this fall in Berkeley, California, Allison Landa went to check on her 5-year-old son, a transitional kindergartener who is learning remotely. When Landa saw her child wasn’t following the teacher’s instructions to draw dots on a page, she decided to jump in. “I took the crayon and helped him swirl it on the page. Then I drew a dot of my own. Then I quizzed him: What color was the dot? How big was it?”
28th Oct 2020 - GoodHousekeeping.com

‘You’re Out of Your Mind if You Think I’m Ever Going Back to School’

“You’re out of your mind if you think I’m ever going back to school.” Awo Okaikor Aryee-Price, a Black mother of two who lives in Florham Park, N.J., initially laughed off the pronouncement her 13-year-old made in March after the Covid-19 pandemic closed the state’s schools. But it became clear that her daughter, Saige, was serious. So Ms. Aryee-Price started to revisit the things she’d heard her daughter say in response to her daily “How was school?” queries. “Whether it was other students saying that she’s too loud, or people saying she has anger-management issues, it was always something,” Ms. Aryee-Price said, describing the subtle bigotry that Saige experienced but was unable to articulate and name.
29th Oct 2020 - The New York Times

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 28th Oct 2020

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Back To School During The COVID-19 Pandemic: How Are Parents Coping With Virtual Learning?

The reality is that most parents are working full-time and do not have the funds nor resources to get tutors. This means that a large number of students will be unable to learn properly. It is not as if parents don't want to help - trust us, they do. There is simply not enough time in the day to juggle a full-time job and supervising school lesson plans. Another issue is that most parents are not trained teachers. It is a true (perhaps undervalued) skill to be able to teach. The amount of patience, diligence, and enthusiasm needed is laudable. Many of us will be completely out of practice when it comes to schoolwork. Algebra? Calculus? Biology? Chemistry? Help!
27th Oct 2020 - Tatler Philippines

Parents Are the New Remote-School Zoom Bombers

Remote school has created a whole new group of people for teachers to manage during class time: parents. Now that moms and dads have gotten a new window into the classroom, many are having a hard time staying out of it. Some are asking questions during live video classes or texting teachers while class is in session. Others are sitting next to their kids and asking them questions or prodding them to speak up. In one hybrid class, an at-home parent on Zoom interrupted a teacher to point out that a student in the physical classroom wasn’t wearing his mask over his nose. School districts have been sending memos to parents reminding them of proper Zoom etiquette, such as not swearing in the background, not interrupting kids or teachers during class and remaining fully clothed while their children are online.
27th Oct 2020 - The Wall Street Journal

Virtual learning freed my daughter from peer pressure and acting 'feminine'

Before New York’s mayor ordered public schools to go totally online in March, my daughter, M, was already dealing with a crisis that had begun at the start of second grade. Her teacher had introduced a points system – sort of like Yelp stars for kids – in which she awarded students points for things like remembering putting their bags away in their cubbies or paying attention during morning meetings. M came home upset almost every day. Because of her quixotic, day-dreaming nature, she had the least points in the class. Kids began teasing her for it.
27th Oct 2020 - The Guardian

A student on how they adapted to virtual learning in a post-COVID world

From the first week of January 2020, the phones chimed with several social media notifications that mentioned the outbreak of a virus called the 'Coronavirus', little did we know it was going to change lives forever. The real world seemed as usual, but the digital world was taken over by numerous cautions and warnings. The discussion around the number of cases started to dehumanise real people and families affected by the virus to numbers and statistics.
27th Oct 2020 - VOGUE India

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 27th Oct 2020

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PPS sees high student login percentage during first month of virtual learning

The vast majority of Pittsburgh Public Schools students logged into the district’s web-based learning platform during the first month of remote instruction, administrators said. David May-Stein, the district’s chief of school performance, said during a board education committee meeting Tuesday that as of Oct. 5 about 98% of students had logged into the Schoology platform. “We are keeping a close eye on student attendance as it relates to students actually logging into the system,” Mr. May-Stein said.
7th Oct 2020 - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A Sudden Shift To Virtual Learning: What It Means For The Future?

For many years there has been an expectation that many in the working world would see a big change in their schedules, opting for coworking situations and working from home instead of being in an office. This is of course down to the ability to connect remotely and the potential savings which could be made by businesses. Something which was never considered however, was the same thing happening in education. Distance learning has certainly improved thanks to tech advancements, but nobody ever considered a traditional education being offered through such means.
26th Oct 2020 - We Heart

How Las Vegas student teachers are honing their craft in virtual classroom

John Lessner’s first experience as a teacher has featured some comical moments. Lessner, a Nevada State College student doing student-teaching at Walter V. Long Elementary, has encountered students with a television on in the background during a virtual class. There have also been interruptions from a playful dog and a loud sibling or two. In the final step to earn an undergraduate degree, student teachers spend a full semester getting on-the-job training with a certified teaching mentor.
26th Oct 2020 - Las Vegas Sun

How creative use of technology may have helped save schooling during the pandemic

It is estimated around half the world's students' schools remain shut down. All told, this has been a potentially damaging disruption to the education of a generation. But one of the few positive outcomes from this experience is an opportunity to rethink how digital technologies can be used to support teaching and learning in schools.
26th Oct 2020 - Phys.org

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 26th Oct 2020

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Oshkosh's Oakwood Elementary teachers continue adapting to virtual learning

The classroom looks a little different in 2020. Oakwood Elementary in Oshkosh is fully virtual. 3rd-grade teacher Tara Perry is working around the clock, "It's probably an extra hour or hour and a half each day and if I do that then I don't have to come in during the weekends," said Perry.
25th Oct 2020 - Fox11online.com

NEFB Foundation Agriculture in the Classroom lessons now virtual

The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation has been providing Agriculture in the Classroom lessons for over 30 years, but this year it has been virtual due to the coronavirus pandemic. Executive Director Megahn Schafer says more than 154 virtual classroom visits have been scheduled since the beginning of the school year. Schafer says to keep kids engaged in the virtual lessons, they do hands-on learning. "We mail out activity kits that go along with all of our virtual lessons. These kits have items so each student can do their activities in a socially distant manner. It provides an opportunity to have the lesson on the screen, but then take a screen break and do something hands-on to continue that learning."
25th Oct 2020 - Norfolk Daily News

We need more innovation to close the gap between physical and virtual learning

One of the more controversial segments is education, particularly K-12, where there is great debate as to whether kids can be educated effectively over Zoom. At its recent Zoomtopia digital conference, Zoom dedicated much of the show to a handful of industries — education one of them. I’ve talked to dozens of parents and teachers who have tried to educate over Zoom and have reached epic levels of frustration. One of the Massachusetts-based teachers I interviewed, Jillian Santucci a sixth-grade teacher with the Leominster School District, recently took a leave of absence because the process of teaching virtually was so onerous.
25th Oct 2020 - SiliconANGLE News

FEATURE: School trips in Japan go virtual during pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has changed much about how children study, from online learning to parents carrying the teaching load, but in Japan schools are looking to the internet to maintain one much-beloved tradition -- the school trip. With multi-day in-person school trips often no longer an option, excursions are being conducted on a new platform, where technology is being deployed to give students a safe simulation of the real thing when hitting the road is not possible.
25th Oct 2020 - Kyodo News Plus

Zooming in to class: Virtual and in-person learning at Westminster College

When Nate Leonard stepped in to the classroom Thursday afternoon to teach his playwriting class at Westminster College, he knew some of the seats would remain empty. Instead of trekking onto campus and up the stairs to grab a seat beside masked and socially distant peers, some of Leonard's students stayed home. But that doesn't mean they missed class. Leonard still had to teach the virtual students and keep them engaged through a computer screen — a difficult juggling act educators across the country have found themselves experimenting in. For Leonard, Westminster's recent technological overhaul made it a little easier.
24th Oct 2020 - Fulton Sun

What it's like to be a virtual preschool teacher during COVID-19

Julia Weaver is a preschool teacher in Ohio who has been teaching her students virtually during the pandemic. She teaches a group of 17 preschoolers through a mix of live Zoom calls and pre-recorded lessons uploaded to a Google Drive. Keeping her 3-year-old students' attention spans engaged has been a challenge; so has staying flexible for their parents' work schedules.
24th Oct 2020 - Business Insider

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 23rd Oct 2020

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4 major challenges of virtual learning and how parents can help their kids through them

The vast majority of India’s estimated 250 million schoolchildren have not entered a classroom for almost seven months. Having to adapt to remote, virtual learning has presented a host of challenges for many children and added an extra layer of stress for parents. “Most kids feel connected and happy when they learn alongside other children, so moving from an environment where they are sharing experiences with friends and there are lots of opportunities for fun and play, to home learning where they are interacting with a screen, will feel stagnant in comparison,” explains Dr Elena Touroni, a consultant psychologist.
22nd Oct 2020 - Vogue India

Colleges Can Turn Classes Into Virtual Communities. Here’s How.

COVID-19 has not only shaken up the way we deliver instruction, but the pandemic also threatens the bonds that connect students to each other and their campuses. Institutions enjoy a certain amount of brand loyalty from their existing students, but this may change radically going forward, especially if students are not connected to their campuses physically. And if incoming students do not see the difference between the online instruction offered by their community college and by a traditional four-year residential school, many university administrators should be nervous indeed.
22nd Oct 2020 - EdSurge

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 22nd Oct 2020

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Virtual learning poses unique challenges for Arizona’s 148,000 students in special ed programs

Many Arizona schools stuck with virtual instruction this fall as the COVID-19 pandemic persists, but for the 148,000 children who take part in special education programs, the new online environment can be a particular challenge. When school started back in August, June Krafft was busy at home running from room to room, making sure her two young sons kept focused on their schoolwork. James, 3, and Christopher, 5, both attend Kingswood Elementary School in Surprise, in the preschool and kindergarten programs. The brothers, Krafft said, are on the autism spectrum. Christopher also has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and has been taking medication for it since he was 4. Before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in March, a specialist came to Krafft’s home for about 40 hours a week.
21st Oct 2020 - KOLD

Spurred by COVID-19, African schools innovate to close learning gap

In rural Sierra Leone, teenagers tuned into solar-powered radios for their lessons, while Kenyan students texted a code to receive free learning guides on their phones. As COVID-19 shut Africa’s schools, governments and charities rushed to make learning accessible to millions of pupils without internet or even electricity, sparking innovations that could keep children learning long after the pandemic has passed. “The situation... pushed all the governments and education ministries to think in a different way,” said Elena Locatelli, an advisor on education in emergencies at the U.N. children’s agency UNICEF. In a matter of months, officials set up distance-learning programmes, often via TV and radio, while charities and start-ups distributed devices and materials to supplement them.
21st Oct 2020 - Reuters

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 21st Oct 2020

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Cybersecurity And The Remote Classroom

This year, going back to school has been like no other in history as remote learning, modified schedules, virtual classes, and hybrid class modes became ‘normal.’ Seeing my own four kids returning to university, high school and elementary school has required new levels of fortitude. Fortunately, a foundation of technologies with features that include cloud, video, conferencing, and collaboration make distant classroom situations achievable.
20th Oct 2020 - Forbes

For Teachers Unions, Classroom Reopenings Are the Biggest Test Yet

By early August, the Chicago Teachers Union had its fill of magical thinking. After a spring of virtual learning, Chicago, like many cities around the U.S., was pushing toward reopening classrooms in the fall. The revival of the local economy seemed to hinge on parents’ ability to get back to work, and plenty were desperate to get their kids somewhere, anywhere, just out of the house.
20th Oct 2020 - BloombergQuint

Ag in the Classroom adapts to pandemic with virtual farm tours

A Minnesota farmer involved in Ag in the Classroom says just like for most educators, some teaching methods have changed because of COVID-19. Wanda Patsche, a crop and livestock producer in Martin County, tells Brownfield there are usually four in-person teacher tours during the summer to show how food is produced so the teachers can bring that information back to their students. “We couldn’t do that this year, but we did have virtual tours, which actually worked better because we could take them to more places and actually show them more intimate settings within agriculture.” She says more than 100 teachers signed up for the virtual tours that highlighted farms in four different parts of the state.
20th Oct 2020 - brownfieldagnews.com

5000 CT Students Who Signed Up for Online Learning Have Never Logged Into Class

According to the CT legislature's committee, over 5,000 students who opted for online-only learning across Connecticut have never once logged into a single day of class, according to an article in the Hartford Courant. The education department has crunched the numbers and found out that 3.1% of remote students or 5,165 were absent all week from Oct. 5-9. Throughout the state, the education department has provided more than 142,000 laptops along with internet access for approximately 60,000 families. Martha Stone, who's the executive director of the Center for Children's Advocacy, told the Hartford Courant:
20th Oct 2020 - i95rock.com

What it's like to be a teacher in 2020 America amid the coronavirus pandemic

Now the coronavirus has placed those same underpaid teachers at the heart of a national crisis as the US looks to teachers not only for children’s education and wellbeing but also as essential childcare as parents try to get back to work. “Our public education system is a massive hidden child care subsidy,” said Jon Shelton, a historian of the teaching workforce at the University of Wisconsin. Here are three stories from teachers across the US about the complex roles they have played in their students’ lives since the virus first kicked up and how they’re managing school now.
20th Oct 2020 - The Independent

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 20th Oct 2020

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Virtual school lets teachers see directly into students' lives. Here's what they're learning

As soon as students logged on for the first day of virtual school, Reading School District teacher Kyle Wilson heard the first chirps. Was it something wrong with his headset? He waited. More beeps. And then more beeps. Finally, he realized: about a quarter of the students in his fifth-grade math and science classes didn’t have functioning smoke detectors in their homes. “I need to do something,” Wilson thought.
19th Oct 2020 - witf.org

Left Behind By Virtual Learning, Students Reconnect At A Therapeutic Middle School

When the school year started virtually in August, 13-year-old Faith Jackson struggled to participate from her home in New Orleans East. “It was so hard because I couldn't get in my classes,” Jackson said. “The teachers weren’t answering none of the calls or email or nothing.” Jackson had a school-provided laptop and hotspot but the internet connection from her home in New Orleans East wasn’t strong enough, she said. She missed class and failed to complete assignments.
19th Oct 2020 - WWNO

After a virtual term, I still prefer a classroom

I enrolled for my first online-based semester in May this year which ended in August, with exams. The assessment was by assignments and online sit-in exams. Virtual classes are different from real classes where you sit next to your classmates with a lecturer in front of you. In my virtual classes, I listened to the lecturer and interacted with classmates without seeing them since we all preferred to have our cameras off.
19th Oct 2020 - Daily Monitor

'Technology Can Never Substitute In-class Training' Says B-School Directors

Management schools have been adversely impacted because of the COVID-19 pandemic. New technological tools are now taking their place in the daily routine of students; virtual classrooms are a part of it. The question remains what the future of business schools is going to look like. L K Tripathi, Director, Kirloskar Institute of Advanced Management Studies, Pune, said, “There is no replacement for face-to-face learning. However, in the present situation, the technology has helped us a lot in all the three fields of design, delivery and evolution of curriculum.” The director was speaking at the recently held virtual Future of Management Education Conclave organized by BW Education. Other notable dignitaries present were Himanshu Rai, Director, IIM Indore; R. Raman, Director, Symbiosis Institute of Business Management (SIBM), Pune.
19th Oct 2020 - BW Businessworld

Teachers Offer Virtual Learning Tips for Parents, Students

For many schools throughout Pennsylvania and the rest of the country, virtual education has allowed learning to continue amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But for some students and parents, remote learning adds an extra layer of difficulty. Educators statewide gathered virtually last week to discuss tips for parents and children who are struggling to keep pace in this new world of virtual learning. It begins with positive parent involvement, according to Randy Seely , the state Department of Education's charter school division chief. "Positive parent involvement is the most positive predictor of success," Seely said. As a parent, positive involvement includes open communication with students and educators about educational planning, assignments and how students are doing overall.
18th Oct 2020 - GovTech

Experts Share Tips on How to Combat Distance Learning Fatigue

We're well into October, and many students in San Diego County are still learning from home. This is creating homeschooling fatigue for a lot of parents, but there are a few ways to cope. Online classes and learning can be intimidating, both for students and parents. And there are some obstacles as well, like having reliable internet at home and learning the online platform that teachers are using.
18th Oct 2020 - NBC San Diego

A desk of their own to ease remote learning for kids in need

As remote schooling surged during the pandemic, parents across the country realized that many kids didn’t have desks at home. So they got busy building, collecting and donating them, giving hundreds or thousands of students workspaces to call their own and helping them get through long days of virtual learning. For Mitch Couch in the Central California town of Lemoore, inspiration struck when his 16-year-old daughter and 9-year-old son kept taking over the kitchen table for their remote lessons. He made desks for them, and thought: Why not provide others' children with individual learning areas they could decorate with stickers and paint? The desks he made were kid-size, simple and inexpensive, fashioned from plywood with a hutch for workbooks and papers. But they did the trick.
18th Oct 2020 - The Independent

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 19th Oct 2020

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Greek Lessons Online: Kids Groups For Little Greeks Who Learn Better Together

The idea of long-term social distancing is alarming for everybody. Especially so for parents who worry both about the practical aspects of their children’s education and also about the social and psychological consequences that social distancing has on children. As we all know, school and peer groups are the focal center of socialization for children, after immediate family. That’s why, experts believe that stay-at-home orders can have a big impact on children’s social development if this lasts for more than a few months.
18th Oct 2020 - GreekCityTimes.com

As school boards blend in-person and virtual classes, criticism emerges for hybrid model

For Steven Ferracane, a teacher in Vaughan, Ont., and some of his Grade 5 students, it was the first day of school all over again this week, as the York Catholic District School Board, north of Toronto, introduced a new pandemic scenario combining in-person and online learners in the same classrooms. "It went OK considering it was our first day. The remote students, they all showed up on time, eager to learn," said Ferracane, who now simultaneously teaches 15 fifth-graders in a classroom at St. Raphael the Archangel Catholic Elementary School, with seven more logging on live from home. "We're actually so happy to welcome them back to our school."
18th Oct 2020 - CBC.ca

Less wealthy, non-white students over-represented in TDSB's COVID-19 virtual classrooms

Lower-income and non-white families are opting for the Toronto District School Board's online-only classes during the COVID-19 pandemic at a greater rate than white and wealthier families, according to fresh data presented to trustees. Students of South Asian and East Asian background, those with lower socio-economic status, and those whose parents don't have a university education make up a disproportionate number of the 70,000 students enrolled in the TDSB's virtual school system this fall, the data shows. Education advocates say the demographic breakdown underlines the importance of ensuring that students enrolled in online classes are not left to flounder.
17th Oct 2020 - CBC.ca

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 16th Oct 2020

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Q&A: Melissa Lim on Embracing Change and Tech During Distance Learning

When describing how her school district is handling remote learning, Melissa Lim uses a word some might find unusual: opportunities. It’s well documented that public schools across the country still are wrangling with challenges of remote learning — everything from securing devices to engaging students online. But despite those problems, some educators see opportunities to approach education in new ways. That’s one reason why EdTech chose Lim as one of our 2020 K–12 IT Influencers. Lim, a technology integration specialist at Portland Public Schools in Oregon, recently answered questions from EdTech about how she and other educators are finding opportunities for innovation during remote learning.
15th Oct 2020 - EdTech Magazine: Focus on Higher Education

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 15th Oct 2020

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Liverpool's museums launch virtual classroom for schools

National Museums Liverpool’s brand new virtual classroom workshops are now available to book online for the first time ever. Created for schools for the new academic year, NML’s interactive curriculum-linked workshops – led by museum experts – bring learning to life and inspire the imaginations of your pupils by engaging them in activities based on real artefacts.  Mummification, Greek gods and transatlantic slavery are some of the subject’s school children can learn about in the comfort of their classrooms, thanks to virtual workshops developed by National Museums Liverpool.
14th Oct 2020 - The Guide Liverpool

Managing students in online classes

The tectonic shift in the education sector from the traditional form of teaching to online teaching has left not just students and parents but also teachers in dire straits. Teachers were suddenly forced to adopt a whole new way of teaching, practically overnight.
14th Oct 2020 - Deccan Herald

Philadelphia School District To Start Phasing Students Back Into Classrooms On Nov. 30 As Part Of Hybrid Learning Plan

The School District of Philadelphia unveiled its plan Wednesday to offer hybrid learning to students in pre-kindergarten through second grade starting after the Thanksgiving holiday. Parents have between Monday, Oct. 26 and Friday, Oct. 30 at 5 p.m. to choose between the hybrid model or continuing all-virtual learning.
14th Oct 2020 - CBS Philadelphia on MSN.com

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 14th Oct 2020

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Virtual learning highlights diversity, enthusiasm of student body: Mark Lautens in the Globe and Mail

The move to virtual learning has highlighted the truly global nature of the University of Toronto’s student body as well as students’ passion for learning, writes Mark Lautens in a Globe and Mail op-ed that reflects on his early experiences with remote teaching. Lautens, a University Professor in the department of chemistry in the Faculty of Arts & Science, recalls one incident when a student requested a Zoom meeting, which he scheduled for 1 p.m. EDT: “Only during our call did I learn he was based in Asia, so this meeting was in the middle of his night," Lautens writes. “I did not see a sleepy-eyed 18- or 19-year-old, but an eager and active participant. I offered to hold our next session at 8 a.m. so it would be a decent hour, but I got no complaint about our originally organized meeting time.”
13th Oct 2020 - University of Toronto

Why Some Kids Are Shy In Remote Learning But Not In-Person Classes

Remote learning often comes with technical difficulties, but it also can bring about challenges with student engagement. By now, most students have been in school for about a month and a half to two months, so if you’re a parent, you’ve likely noticed some patterns with your child’s at-home education. Some parents might be surprised to find that their normally talkative child who had no issues participating in class in the past is quite reserved in the virtual classroom.
13th Oct 2020 - HuffPost

Bringing hands-on learning to the virtual classroom

Every year Sheri Hincks, a lab instructor in the department of integrative biology at the University of Guelph, coordinates a series of field trips for the 70 or so students taking Limnology of Natural and Polluted Waters, a fourth-year course in water ecology. The group practices fundamental research techniques over the course of a week at Guelph Lake, two weeks at the Speed and Eramosa Rivers, and a day at a water treatment facility. It’s during these trips that students really engage and have fun with the course content, Ms. Hincks says. When she realized this year would look a lot different due to COVID-19, she found a way to bring hands-on labs to the online learning environment.
12th Oct 2020 - University Affairs

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 13th Oct 2020

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Teaching has changed - and it's nothing to be afraid of

Information technology is a foreign country to many people, especially those of a certain age. During the lockdown, when I was being trained by relatively young adults in using Microsoft Teams for meetings and holding online training workshops, I was a little apprehensive as to how I would cope in a world of burgeoning technology. So many people – especially the savvy IT generation – seem so apt in paving and navigating their way in what is essentially a digital world. So, I’d be the first to admit that surrounded by mass communication modes, I have often felt like an immigrant trying to make sense of the rising complexity and sophistication of social media and the growing possibilities for artificial intelligence.
12th Oct 2020 - TES News

How PBS Kids Is Making Remote Learning More Accessible To All Children In The Coronavirus Age

The coronavirus has wreaked havoc on so many facets of life this year. Education has been one of the hardest hit—teachers, parents, and students alike have struggled in adjusting to virtual classrooms. It isn’t merely that homes have been transformed into de-facto classrooms; this way of remote learning has cast a spotlight on socioeconomic discrepancies like who gets access to computers and a speedy, reliable internet connection, and who doesn’t. It’s a lesson for everyone that remote learning isn’t even remotely easy.
12th Oct 2020 - Forbes

Weston College launches UK's first virtual classroom for further education

@WestonCollege, the lead organisation for the West of England Institute of Technology (#IoT), has launched a virtual classroom in a first for further education (FE) in the UK. The project, developed with support from the education and technology not-for-profit, Jisc, and technology supplier Barco, includes innovations such as mobile extending cameras, and provides the opportunity for enhanced remote-access education.
12th Oct 2020 - fenews.co.uk

Reimagining education to beat the constraints of lockdown

Firki, an initiative by Teach For India, is a blended online and offline learning model. It recently launched inspirED 2020, the first of its kind virtual conference that brought together students, educators, policymakers, parents, and investors under one roof to reimagine education. For Bharath, the event developed a unique platform for all voices – teachers, students, and parents – to share their perspectives on the NEP and map the possibilities on the ground.
12th Oct 2020 - The New Indian Express

India’s schoolchildren pay the price for coronavirus lockdown

Outside the locked and deserted Vidya Sagar Public School, the eight-year-old daughter of a snack vendor sits forlornly on her father’s disused pushcart. Before coronavirus, Rachna Kashyap was one of 200 pupils whose working-class parents paid Rs400 ($5.40) in monthly tuition to send their children to the no-frills, English-medium private school instead of overcrowded and underperforming state schools. But the school, which employed nine teachers, collapsed during India’s lockdown that cost millions of jobs. Parents could no longer afford the fees and the school lacked the wherewithal to transition to online learning.
11th Oct 2020 - The Financial Times

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 12th Oct 2020

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What South Africa’s teachers brought to the virtual classroom during Covid-19

In South Africa, teachers have had to adapt to online learning platforms while learning how to use learning management systems during the pandemic. Before the pandemic, many teachers in the country had not received substantive formal technology training, either to support blended teaching and learning or to fully apply online learning. The decision by the Ministry of Basic Education to shut down schools in response to the pandemic forced teachers to adapt and innovate to ensure that learning continued despite the challenges faced.
11th Oct 2020 - The Citizen

Virtual field trips helping students see different countries without leaving the classroom

In Florida, a Hillsborough County classroom has found a way to go on field trips without ever leaving their seats. Dual language students at Doris Ross Reddick Elementary are traveling to other countries, virtually. For Hispanic Heritage month, students are doing video calls with students in Cuba, Argentina and the Dominican Republic. Teachers say the silver lining of this pandemic is that virtual learning has expanded their abilities to connect with people in different locations on a level like never before.
11th Oct 2020 - ABC Action News

Reinforcing academic integrity in physical, virtual classrooms

Blended learning is being deployed as a solution to the ongoing impact of the pandemic across Southeast Asia. We have seen educators quickly adapting to new ways of delivering lessons and feedback, as well as grading students’ work in distance learning and virtual environments. Naturally, there is also some concern about maintaining academic integrity when courses are being conducted with fewer opportunities for face-to-face interactions. The reduction of physical classroom interactions does not mean that academic integrity has to suffer. New technologies enable teachers to detect academic integrity issues early so that they have the opportunity to teach students to convey their original thinking and properly attribute ideas. Students can also use these tools to check their work before submitting it to reinforce a culture of integrity in blended classrooms.
11th Oct 2020 - BusinessMirror

Mature students ditch lockdown for the virtual classroom

Canadian universities are reporting an increase in the number of mature students, as well as recent graduates enrolling in online studies. “Normally, our total registration in online and in-person courses [for spring/summer] is about 28,000,” says Gary Hepburn, dean of Ryerson University’s Chang School of Continuing Education. “This spring, it reached over 30,000 in online courses alone.” The reasons motivating adult learners to return to school range from experiencing job loss and seeing lasting disruptions in their industry to taking advantage of the extra time at home to develop new or further expertise.
8th Oct 2020 - MacLeans

Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 9th Oct 2020

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Online Learning In COVID-era Receives Major Boost

With growing emphasis on virtual learning, online program enablement is more important than ever. Bengaluru: As more schools respond to Covid-19 exposure with hybrid or virtual learning this fall, educational technology providers focus on delivering interactive online learning that engages students. That is why Construct, a global leader in learning design, announced a new case study highlighting how one school district with nearly 20,000 students has moved to 100% virtual learning while maintaining student engagement.
9th Oct 2020 - The Taiwan Times

Lompoc Unified providing additional funding to classrooms to assist with virtual learning

The Lompoc Unified School District is using COVID-19 funds to help provide additional supplies for teachers and their classrooms. District officials say each classroom will be given $500 to use toward student supplies as virtual learning continues. “We recognize that distance learning presents multiple challenges. We believe that students need to be provided adequate supplies so they can fully participate in their lessons and we are grateful to be in this position to be able to provide,” said Superintendent Trevor McDonald in a press release. “Our staff continue to rise to the challenges of this new instructional model and have been adaptive and continue to focus on students. They have forged ahead and keep doing what is best for kids.”
8th Oct 2020 - KSBY San Luis Obispo News

Students and professors weigh in on the virtual classroom experience at UF

Two months into UF’s mostly online Fall semester, students and faculty alike are still struggling with the new virtual classroom environment. UF professors and students agree that it takes patience on both sides of the screen. With 65% of UF’s classes being held online this Fall, students and professors are scrambling to set schedules, struggling to maintain productivity and trying to cope with minimal social interaction.
9th Oct 2020 - Independent Florida Alligator

Luxury hotels are offering 'school-cation' packages' with tutors and poolside classrooms

In Pittsburgh the Kimpton Hotel is offering a virtual learning package that includes an on-site Chief Virtual Officer to assist kids Auberge Resorts, which has 19 properties, is offering in-person and virtual tutoring starting at $195 per 50 minutes Some resorts offer exciting physical education 'electives' including fly-fishing at Montage International's resort in Deer Valley, Utah. The Eden Roc Cap Cana resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic offers in-suite classrooms, bilingual 'children concierges' and Merengue dance lessons. The Rosewood Miramar Beach hotel in Montecito, California offers a poolside cabana classroom that cost $195 a day and swimming instead of gym
8th Oct 2020 - Daily Mail

I’ve Been Watching My Kid’s Teacher on Zoom, and I’m Horrified

We have our 6-year-old child in a Catholic school, and Catholic schools are the few schools open for in-person learning in our county. The year started with distance learning and without much notice opened for in-person learning, with an option to continue distance learning if desired. For a variety of reasons (rushed reopening with some serious safety concerns in the plan, no smaller class sizes, mixing cohorts at extended care, being the first schools in our area to reopen for in-person, and someone in our family who’s considered high-risk), we have continued distance learning for the past four weeks (along with half of the 30 students).
8th Oct 2020 - Slate

Air Zoo museum in Portage offers virtual science education labs for children

The Air Zoo Aerospace and Science Museum is deploying virtual learning programs through its museum in Portage and across the country in an effort to expose kids and their parents to science education, the museum announced in a news release. The Air Zoo’s virtual programs are for children age 3 and up, and designed up to immerse kids in hands-on science education courses. Financial aid and scholarships are offered to help both individuals and groups that meet requirements and cover the cost of most of their educational programs, Air Zoo said in the release.
8th Oct 2020 - mlive.com

Godfrey Okoye University Develops Its Own Customised Virtual Classroom

Godfrey Okoye University has gone beyond the zoom technology in teaching and learning and developed its own online learning platform with an incredibly robust virtual classroom. The technology was developed and customised by the ICT Unit of the university under the Ag. Director, Mr. Chinedu Chibuzo, an alumnus of the university.
8th Oct 2020 - Vanguard

Mature students ditch lockdown for the