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Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 24th Jun 2022

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How analytics can support online teaching

Even as they continuously improve their models, sharpen teaching practices and boost academic performance, universities have still found the need to identify areas of opportunity for providing quality service. One key party interested in this information is teachers: as they attend to students first-hand, they need to understand what concerns them and how they interact during classes. As we know, there has been an increase in digital classes across most higher education institutions, but such classes can often mean the teacher has only limited access to and knowledge of what happens during their teaching. Not visible, for example, are most direct interactions between students, nor the level of attention they pay to the class or the activities and so on.
23rd Jun 2022 - Times Higher Education

The Biggest Disruption in the History of American Education

The coronavirus caused by far the biggest disruption in the history of American education. Neither the Great Depression nor even the two World Wars imposed anything close to as drastic a change in how America’s schoolchildren spent their days. When schools closed, they shut children out of the place where much of this growth happens. Some of the lost growth was academic and social, as school closures cut children off from teachers and friends. These losses were compounded by children’s exclusion from an array of other goods and services. In the United States, almost all public services for school-age children in some way run through schools.
23rd Jun 2022 - The Atlantic

New study out of Michigan shows students in virtual learning had academic, social and sleep issues

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, data show an estimated 55 million children in the U.S. were impacted by changes to school formats. Many of those kids had to turn to virtual learning from home. “Parents were trying to do their best, educators were trying to do their best. Everyone was really trying to make the best, most important decisions for their children,” said Dr. Kimberley Levitt, Clinical Assistant Professor for the Division of Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics at the University of Michigan and a Michigan Medicine Researcher.
23rd Jun 2022 - ABC Action News


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 23rd Jun 2022

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LiteracyPlanet extends its online learning offer

LiteracyPlanet has teamed up with two new partners to further extend its range of online tutorials and learning resources. The initiative sees the Australia-based literacy platform teaming up with the learn-to-code video streaming service, CODEFLIX, and Matific, a tool for the intuitive teaching of maths.
22nd Jun 2022 - Education Technology

Back to class: London-area students opting out of remote learning in droves

In Ontario, local school boards have seen a steep decline in the number of students who want to learn virtually, a sign families may be viewing pandemic online classes as a thing of the past, officials say.
22nd Jun 2022 - London Free Press

How teachers supported children and parents through COVID-19 school closures

School closures resulted in a dramatic shift in the role that parents were required to play in their children’s learning. Teachers’ expectations of parents shifted from supporting learning at home, based on what children were doing at school, to being integrally involved in schooling at home. New research sheds light on the obstacles that parents and teachers faced, but also the effective strategies that teachers used to get parents involved with their children’s learning.
22nd Jun 2022 - The Conversation UK

Are the Russian covid-vaccine results accurate?

Dr Sheldrick’s team published their analysis on June 20th in the American Journal of Therapeutics. It was motivated by concerns that other researchers had raised earlier about one particular pattern in the Sputnik V paper: the vaccine’s efficacy was almost identical in each of the five age groups shown. The Russian scientists’ answer was that these results reflected a true efficacy that did not differ by age. But clinical trials are usually affected by all sorts of random circumstances, known as “noise” in the jargon. The implication is that, in this particular trial, the various sources of noise cancelled one another out in a way that generated a pattern of equivalent efficacy in all age groups.
22nd Jun 2022 - The Economist


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 22nd Jun 2022

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Students call for better pandemic teaching methods and learning materials

Students from Uganda, Zimbabwe and Brazil have won the 2022 FT/World Bank blog competition on how to improve education during the pandemic. Most students argued that online learning was no substitute for face-to-face interaction in schools, but some also highlighted the benefits of technology and called on policymakers to be more flexible and explore combining the best elements of both approaches. Many cited the damaging effects of lockdowns on mental health, the inability of online learning to provide a substitute for the social aspects of studying and the “digital divide” of poor internet access in many regions and countries around the world.
21st Jun 2022 - Financial Times

Michelle McIlveen announces qualification arrangements for next academic year

In Ireland, education minister Michelle McIlveen said arrangements for next year’s qualifications will "acknowledge the unprecedented disruption our education system has faced" due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2020 and 2021, students had to rely on teacher-assessed grades as the pandemic led to the closure of schools and pupils moved to remote learning. This year marked the first time in three years that pupils have sat A-levels, AS levels and GSCEs. However, several courses were amended to allow for the continued loss of time in the classroom.
21st Jun 2022 - Irish News


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 21st Jun 2022

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The Peculiar Case of Space and its Relationship with Equity in Asynchronous Online Learning

For the asynchronous online student, there’s no true equivalent of a physical classroom—though we mostly operate with the idea that a virtual course in a learning management system replaces the common space of a physical classroom. The discussion board, for example, is the space for discourse, the lesson page is a space for lecture, and so on, but this is only that which appears at the surface level. The space that directly and most immediately affects learning is the combination of the mental and physical space a student is in when accessing the lessons of a course.
20th Jun 2022 - Faculty Focus


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 20th Jun 2022

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Goa to introduce 'virtual classrooms' across the state

Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Friday said that the state is preparing to introduce 'virtual classrooms' in all schools, so that one good teacher can teach students across the state. While launching the class 7th regular curriculum teachers handbook under the Coding and Robotics Education in Schools (CARES), Sawant said that about 435 aided and non-aided schools in Goa will get such virtual classrooms.
19th Jun 2022 - Economic Times

Ontario school boards set virtual learning plans for 2022-23 year as interest drops

School boards across Ontario are nailing down virtual learning plans for the upcoming school year and some are finding that programming is challenging to offer, with significantly lower student interest. The province requires boards to offer remote learning as an option for the new school year, as is has for previous pandemic school years. But enrolment has declined each year, and not all boards are able to offer a full virtual school option.
19th Jun 2022 - Global News


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 17th Jun 2022

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The Parents Keeping Their Children in Pod Schools

Parents throughout the US sought out micro-schools and pod teaching through the pandemic’s first academic year, seeking a way for their children to socialize maskless and escape the confines of virtual learning. Many children later returned to public school, but parents who were especially resistant to masks began to see these alternatives as their only option. Then, in early March, Governor Phil Murphy lifted the statewide mandate—and yet this cluster of pods and micro-schools remained. Months of shared anger at schools had fostered solidarity among parents. That anger didn’t dissipate after mandates were lifted; it merely changed shape and direction.
16th Jun 2022 - New York Magazine


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 16th Jun 2022

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Teachers Warn of Pandemic's Cumulative Impact on US Students

Measuring the effects of the pandemic on students is challenging at this early stage. But researchers and teachers agree nearly all students were impacted in some way, even though each state and school navigated balancing safety and learning differently. The Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University estimated that one-fifth of American students were enrolled in districts that continued virtual learning for the majority of the 2020-21 school year. Those students, they say, lost the equivalent of as much as 22 weeks of learning.
15th Jun 2022 - VOA News

The metaverse is much more than a virtual copy of your campus

After two years of virtual learning following Covid-19, the higher education environment is ripe with new ideas about what universities should become. Is the large lecture in a hall still fit for purpose? Does online learning offer greater opportunities to engage students who have to undertake part-time work? How do we reorientate the value of learning when artificial intelligence is creating opportunities for students to employ computers to write their essays? Do we still need exams where access to the internet is prohibited? These are serious conversations that require us to consider what knowledge and expertise means in a digital age. For these reasons we begin to see more interest in the metaverse from within HE, but this shift is embryonic.
15th Jun 2022 - Times Higher Education


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 15th Jun 2022

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'Inspirational' teachers awarded in Perth for their efforts during Covid-19 pandemic

Teachers who were at the forefront of providing free virtual geography lessons for secondary school pupils stuck at home during the Covid-19 pandemic have been awarded medals by the Perth-based Royal Scottish Geographical Society. The Tivy Education Medal has been presented to a group of volunteers and inspirational teachers, for their collective work during the pandemic. When Covid-19 struck, there were very limited learning resources for students during lockdown. RSGS pulled together a small team of teachers and film makers to try and help. The team created 26 virtual Chalk Talks lessons covering the entire National 5 and Higher Geography curriculum, from glaciers to coasts, cities to deserts, and everything in between.
14th Jun 2022 - The Courier

The pandemic’s remote learning environment shows promise for international students

As colleges and universities move back to in-person instruction, lessons from online learning implemented during the pandemic have revealed special insights for supporting international students studying in Canada. The adjustments made to education through the pandemic provide a surprising solution to key economic and academic difficulties international students experience. By adopting a hybrid or low-residency model for programs with large numbers of international students, colleges and universities would afford these students the opportunity to find reasonable housing outside of urban hotspots, to better balance work and school timetables, and to relinquish transportation costs.
14th Jun 2022 - University Affairs


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 14th Jun 2022

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Remote learning linked to sleep, behavioral disruption in elementary students: study

Elementary school children involved in pandemic-related remote learning faced greater disruptions in sleep habits and behavior than children learning in person, according to a new small study. Researchers surveyed close to 300 parents with children ages 5-10 throughout Michigan between February and March 2021, as some schools returned to the classroom and others opted to stay online, noting their focus was to uncover pandemic-era learning’s impact on children’s foundational period.
13th Jun 2022 - The Hill

Research aims to refine digital learning to help children stay on track

Many believe the gold standard in raising children is to keep them away from technology as much as possible. But Karen Murcia, an associate professor at Curtin University and a chief investigator with the National Centre for the Digital Child, attributed that to a "dated" study that investigated the impacts of small children watching television. She said it could not be applied to today's interactive digital offerings. She has begun a new research project to examine, in detail, how the use of digital technologies can assist and influence young children's educational outcomes.
13th Jun 2022 - ABC.Net.au


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 13th Jun 2022

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Colleges 'reinventing' virtual student exchange

Rather than repeating other institutions’ mistakes, universities should embrace established ‘modalities’ for collaborative online international learning – and appreciate it as more than a Covid stopgap.
12th Jun 2022 - Times Higher Education


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 10th Jun 2022

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Remote learning was even tougher for migrant parents. Here’s what they want schools to know in case lockdowns return

When COVID forced school closures, many parents found themselves more involved than ever with their children’s learning. For some parents, it was hard work but broadly achievable. Many migrant parents, however, found themselves at a distinct disadvantage. Parental engagement is strongly linked to student learning outcomes. With learn-from-home likely to return the next time there is a pandemic or other emergency, it’s important we understand why many migrant families found this mode of education delivery so incredibly challenging – and how the system can be improved.
9th Jun 2022 - The Conversation

Biden administration lays out its plan for Covid-19 vaccinations for children under 5

The White House has announced a highly anticipated Covid-19 vaccine rollout plan for children under 5. The administration "has made 10 million vaccine doses available for states, Tribes, territories, community health centers, federal pharmacy partners, and others to pre-order," according to a White House fact sheet shared with CNN Wednesday. It is partnering with those entities to ship and distribute vaccines across the country following next week's meeting of the US Food and Drug Administration's vaccine advisers -- who will review data on these vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna -- and expected authorization from the full FDA. The first vaccinations could start "as early as the week of June 20 —with the program ramping up over time as more doses are delivered and more appointments become available," according to the fact sheet. CNN previously reported Covid-19 vaccination shots for the youngest Americans could begin as soon as June 21.
9th Jun 2022 - CNN

COVID vaccine rights waiver within reach, WTO chief says ahead of meeting

Ministers from across the globe are convening for a conference at the World Trade Organization in Geneva for the first time in more than four years from June 12-15. It comes at a critical juncture for the body and for global trade. The meeting, delayed twice by COVID-19, is a chance for the 27-year-old body to prove it can respond to what Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has described as a "polycrisis" of economic, health, environmental and security challenges.
9th Jun 2022 - Reuters


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 9th Jun 2022

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The 'Homework Gap' Persists. Tech Equity Is One Big Reason Why

Nearly a third of U.S. teenagers report facing at least one academic challenge related to lack of access to technology at home, the so-called “homework gap,” according to new survey from the Pew Research Center.
8th Jun 2022 - edweek.org

Virtual school evolves, even as the pandemic wanes

Prior to the pandemic, virtual education was kind of a niche product. It’s existed for decades, but it wasn’t an option that many public schools in the U.S. provided. During the pandemic, school districts had to offer it. And some of their students — or, to put them in Marketplace parlance, their “customers” — got a taste for it, which means public schools have had to rethink how to keep those customers happy.
8th Jun 2022 - Marketplace


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 8th Jun 2022

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How to screen remote-learning apps for privacy

Educational apps are supposed to help children learn how to add, subtract, spell and read. Behind the scenes, they’re doing a whole lot more including gathering data about students that can be used to target them with ads, privacy experts say. A new study from advocacy group Human Rights Watch found that 90 percent of educational tools are collecting data that they then send on to advertising tech companies.
7th Jun 2022 - Washington Post

Zoom School Was No Education for My Math Students

It is obvious that all math courses have a prequel and a sequel. Academic year 2020-21 placed nearly all students in a remote-learning setting. That year, I taught—and I use the term loosely—algebra-I, the prerequisite for geometry and algebra-II. Each day I kept track of the number of students who were actively engaged. All students had the option of clicking on the appropriate Zoom link, then tuning in or tuning out. On average, 20% were active, attentive participants. These 20% got a mediocre math education via distance learning. The 80% who opted out got virtually no math education along with a year’s worth of backsliding.
7th Jun 2022 - Wall Street Journal


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 7th Jun 2022

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Uses for Audiovisual Technology Beyond Remote Learning

K–12 school districts invested in many remote learning devices for teachers and students to ensure continued education during the pandemic. Districts rolled out one-to-one device programs and opted for peripherals that supported remote learning. Of these, webcams and microphones were two of the most popular products. Frequently, districts purchased USB plug-and-play peripherals for learning, but they also made large investments in classroom technology such as pan-tilt-zoom cameras. These technologies served as a life raft during emergency remote learning. However, now that students are largely back in classrooms, some schools are struggling to find ways to use these audiovisual devices.
6th Jun 2022 - EdTech Magazine: Focus on K-12


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 6th Jun 2022

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Virtual Learning Made Persistent Problems Worse for English-Learners

Bit by bit researchers continue to piece together how virtual learning impacted English-language learners’ education, from limiting vital in-person interactions with teachers and peers to leaving some without a robust support system at home. A new report from the Government Accountability Office released in May found that teachers who were teaching in a virtual environment with at least 20 percent English-learners reported that their students “struggled with understanding lessons and completing assignments, having an appropriate workspace, accessing school meals, and getting assistance at their workspace.”
5th Jun 2022 - Education Week

E-learning is a burden for the deaf and hard of hearing

When considering deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) population, research recognizes that fatigue due to communication challenges and multi-focal attention allocation is a significant concern. Given the putative heightened demands of distance learning on deaf and hard of hearing students, we investigate how an online environment might differently affect deaf and hard of hearing participants, compared to hearing participants, Portuguese Sign Language (PSL) users and non-users. Our findings show that the deaf and hard of hearing group present higher values in the post-task fatigue rates with significant differences from the hearing group (non-PSL users).
5th Jun 2022 - Nature.com

How the pandemic and remote learning have impacted teens

In many ways, the switch to virtual learning was an unexpected, unplanned experiment that was conducted on millions of school-age children. More than two years on, there’s new information about the impact that switch has had on teens between 13 and 17 years old and their parents. In a survey released Thursday by the Pew Research Center, there are signs that some things are returning to the way they were before the pandemic, but some teenagers feel left behind. The survey found that most kids have kept close relationships with friends and families over the pandemic and that they prefer going to school in person more than remotely. However, there are notable differences in how the pandemic, specifically remote learning, has affected Black and Hispanic teenagers and lower-income families.
5th Jun 2022 - The Washington Post


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 1st Jun 2022

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Using Virtual Teachers to Help Fill Vacancies: Some Pros and Cons

For-profit companies, including Elevate K12 and Proximity Education, offer districts the opportunity to fill hard-to-staff positions in everything from 6th grade reading to AP Physics, using virtual teachers who may be working in a completely different area of the country. The option is becoming increasingly popular. Is this a clever solution to teacher shortages, or another instance of shortchanging the neediest kids? It depends on who you ask. Here are some pros and cons, according to the companies and their critics.
31st May 2022 - EdWeek


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 31st May 2022

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Curriculum narrowing in wake of pandemic, find inspectors

Scottish schools are dedicating more time to literacy, numeracy and wellbeing as they emerge from the pandemic - but "in a few cases" this has been to the detriment of other subjects, finds a new review by school inspectors. According to the review, it was more difficult to develop practical skills during periods of remote learning because "teachers faced challenges in directly observing young people demonstrating their skills in practical science and drama" and pupils did not always have "access to appropriate resources, materials and equipment".
30th May 2022 - TES News


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 30th May 2022

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Distance learning: Just a stop-gap arrangement or a sustainable way of study

Schools and colleges across the country shifted to online mode during Covid as the enforcement of lockdown and social distancing rendered classroom teaching impractical. In all cases, parents were keen to safeguard their children against the virus and hence were not mentally prepared for the traditional classroom studies. The country was adapting to the innovation of distance learning (or eLearning as it is popularly called), But in effect it is online method of instruction while distance learning as previously known varies from the new evolving scenario. Online Classes or Distance Learning is in fact the new version of correspondence course. The new way of learning requires computer, smartphone, reliable internet connection, whereas in correspondence course an address(for sending study materials) was the only thing required. Online classes or distance learning has got an edge over correspondence learning as in this mode of education the teacher and students can interact simultaneously, by sitting at the comfort of their home/ preferred location and see each other.
28th May 2022 - Times of India

Using Virtual Teachers to Fill Vacancies: Smart Solution or Big Mistake?

Those are the the pitches Proximity Learning and Elevate K12, rapidly growing for-profit companies that live-stream teachers into classrooms nationwide, make to districts struggling to find an algebra or physics instructor. The companies’ approach to virtual learning, they say, offers more than just help for districts in filling vacancies and the chance for teachers to set their own hours and work from anywhere: It provides a glimpse into the future of K-12 education. Staffing shortages and the desire to prepare kids for in-demand jobs will eventually propel many schools to offer a combination of face-to-face teachers and this new live-streaming model, said Shaily Baranwal, Elevate K12’s founder and CEO.
26th May 2022 - EdWeek.org


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 27th May 2022

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Parents' evening: should they happen in-person or remotely?

As with so many aspects of school life, headteachers were forced to move parents' evenings online during the coronavirus pandemic. But while teaching and learning is now back to in-person delivery, many schools are weighing up whether to return to in-person parents' evenings or keep them virtual. Here, two teachers discuss the pros and cons of each approach, and look at what leaders need to consider when making the decision.
26th May 2022 - tes.com

Virtual learning apps tracked and shared kids' data and online activities with advertisers, report says

Millions of students who participated in virtual learning during the Covid-19 pandemic had their personal data and online behaviors tracked by educational apps and websites without their consent and in many cases shared with third-party advertising technology companies, a new report has found. Human Rights Watch, an international advocacy organization, this week published the findings of an investigation conducted from March 2021 to August 2021 that looked into the educational services, including online learning tools, used by students all over the world when school districts shifted to remote learning.
26th May 2022 - CNN


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 26th May 2022

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Online Learning Can Help Minimize Racism and Ableism In and Out of the Classroom

As pandemic restrictions continue to ease, many colleges and universities are looking to ramp up their on-campus classes and activities. However, it seems that many marginalized students would like to stay remote. In fact, 68 percent of Black students and 60 percent of Hispanic students feel positive about online learning, and the transition to virtual learning has offered some students with disabilities new educational modalities. Of course, every college student is different, and online learning won’t impact everyone in the same way. But the virtual classroom presents its own unique benefits — and challenges — for racially diverse and disabled students.
25th May 2022 - EdTech

Virtual learning compromised kids' privacy and security

There was also a cybersecurity consequence to virtual learning during the pandemic. The distance learning apps that schools used frequently scooped up reams of information about students, dramatically undermining their privacy and security, an international investigation has found. The apps grabbed personal information, including locations, and tracked the online behavior of millions of students
25th May 2022 - The Washington Post


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 25th May 2022

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The online learning phenomenon impacts higher education; 17.3M students enrolled in 2021

During the pandemic, 98% of universities in the U.S. switched to remote learning. Since then, more students are continuing with online study, with 17.3 million students in the U.S. studying online in 2021 – either full-time or partially.
24th May 2022 - St George News

Tech Tip: Choosing digital tools for a virtual classroom

Technology is responsible for some amazing advances in education. However, most of us in the classroom want to be great teachers, not IT experts. I’m a former math teacher now dedicated to developing and innovating virtual curricula for hundreds of virtual teachers across a variety of subjects. So the question I most often get from teachers is: What digital tools should I be using in my classroom?
24th May 2022 - Smartbrief


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 24th May 2022

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Pandemic school reopenings were not just about politics

Almost as soon as some schools reopened for in-person learning in the fall of 2020, research was suggesting a tidy, albeit dark, conclusion about why they did: politics. Early analyses indicated that Covid-19 health factors had virtually nothing to do with reopening decisions, and partisan politics could explain nearly all the variation. Further analyses show a more complicated picture.
23rd May 2022 - Vox.com

What Should We Call the In-Person and Virtual Meetings?

For teaching and learning, we use the term “hybrid” to describe a course that has both in-person and online components. A hybrid degree program is customarily understood as one delivered primarily online and that contains some expectations of on-campus and face-to-face contact hours. The closest language that we have for mixed in-person/Zoom meetings in a course setting is HyFlex. Students in a HyFlex course can choose if they want to attend physically (in class) or virtually (by Zoom or whatever platform is used).
23rd May 2022 - Inside Higher Ed


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 23rd May 2022

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Virtual Is the New Reality for M.B.A. Students

More business schools are venturing into virtual reality, using video delivered via headsets to immerse students in far-flung locales. The pandemic forced many M.B.A. programs to curtail international travel just as VR technology took off and headsets proliferated. Now, early experiments such as Dartmouth’s are prompting more schools to explore the technology, both in classes and as part of the overall student experience.
22nd May 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Kids Are Far, Far Behind in School

Starting in the spring of 2020, school boards and superintendents across the US faced a dreadful choice: Keep classrooms open and risk more COVID-19 deaths, or close schools and sacrifice children’s learning. In the name of safety, many districts shut down for long periods. But researchers are now learning that the closures came at a stiff price—a large decline in children’s achievement overall and a historic widening in achievement gaps by race and economic status. The achievement loss is far greater than most educators and parents seem to realize. The only question now is whether state and local governments will recognize the magnitude of the educational damage and make students whole.
20th May 2022 - The Atlantic


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 20th May 2022

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Education secretary refuses to stop plans for more online learning in the Western Isles

In Scotland, Western Isles Council is planning to to make some specialist subjects available remotely across the islands’ four secondary schools at the same time. Pupils learning remotely would be supervised at school by an adult, but not necessarily a teacher. Donald Cameron, Conservative MSP for the Highlands and Islands, wants the education secretary to step in. He says it could hold back children’s progress and “undermine the role of professional teachers”.
19th May 2022 - The Press and Journal


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 19th May 2022

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Realizing the vision: Education technology paving the way to interactive learning

EdTech platforms have redefined education by making learning more student-centric and engaging. With the introduction of learning applications, video lessons, virtual labs, and peer-to-peer discussion portals, students can not just take ownership of their learning but also build on their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. This contributes to a boost in their academic performance and their overall development through the inculcation of lifelong skills.
18th May 2022 - India Times

Remote teaching during the pandemic disadvantages students in New Jersey's lower-income school districts

The rollout of remote teaching in New Jersey during the COVID-19 pandemic was haphazard, under-resourced, inequitably delivered, contributed to student and teacher stress and may exacerbate digital and social inequality, according to a Rutgers study. By analyzing responses from structured interviews with a sample of 21 K-12 public school teachers, the researchers found students in lower-income school districts experienced inequities in online teaching and learning opportunities, compared with students in middle-income and wealthier districts.
18th May 2022 - Phys.Org

Law students report online learning gains, but in-person still wins out

A new survey of law students shows that more of them are coming around to online classes. Students surveyed this spring by AccessLex Institute and Gallup had better things to say about their remote or hybrid classes than they did a year ago, indicating that law schools improved their online offerings during the two-year pandemic. In-person instruction still takes the prize: Among surveyed students who took most or all of their classes remotely this year, 72% rated their program as either good or excellent, compared to 78% of those who took classes in person. But that’s a much smaller gap than in 2021, when 57% of online J.D. students and 76% of in-person students gave their program high marks.
18th May 2022 - Reuters


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 18th May 2022

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Video Games as an Effective Learning Medium – Are we there yet?

Considering the popularity of gaming, it begs the question: is there potential beyond pure entertainment? Have we found a way to make gaming viable for education, or is it destined to just be a fad? When considering this, it’s important to understand the gap that often exists between the actual appeal of gaming and what education has typically tried to gamify. As well as the extent of its ability to effectively teach different practices and emulate real-world scenarios.
17th May 2022 - FE News

Remote classes affected students and teachers differently worldwide: Waterloo study

Switching to remote learning affected university students and teachers quite differently in developed and developing countries, a Waterloo study found. Researchers from the University of Waterloo analyzed the impact of shifting to “emergency response teaching” in early 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They collected data from developing countries, including Bangladesh, Malaysia and China, and developed countries, including Canada, the United States, Germany and Spain, through a combination of surveys and interviews with students and teachers.
17th May 2022 - The Record


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 17th May 2022

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Robust Technology Supports Higher Education Cybersecurity Training Programs

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts jobs in information security will grow by 31 percent by 2029. To address both current and expected workforce shortages, higher education is ramping up its offerings, with cybersecurity exploding as an academic discipline. It takes robust technology to support learning, both in person and remotely, in this tech-centric field of study.
16th May 2022 - Ed Tech

How Could Universities Use the Metaverse in the Future?

Implementing virtual reality into education could have a positive impact for students and the social aspect of school and university. Over the past few years, remote learning has become a key issue for students. With the World Economic Forum reporting that registrations for online courses shot to 92 million in 2021. However, learning over video calls can have an effect on students’ engagement, as reported by Ofqual. This could mean by improving the online environment in which students learn, the social and creative element of the Metaverse could change how students learn and interact positively
16th May 2022 - FE News


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 16th May 2022

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The impact of remote learning and what it’s meant for the advancement of edtech

Peter Claxton, senior director for edtech solutions at ViewSonic, offers his opinion on where schools turn next in their technology journey. He explains that "the ability to meet others online in a classroom, or lecture theatre is something we are going to see emerging from the edtech world. Children are used to playing in various gaming environments in an immersive environment and the technology now will allow that to happen."
13th May 2022 - Education Technology

Using remote learning technology to boost student engagement and interaction

As face-to-face teaching returns, educational technology can be used to boost student engagement in ways that are not possible in a physical classroom. Ironically, remote learning has opened the opportunity for more intimate instruction, not less. Use online learning spaces to divide large classes into small groups via “virtual tables”, organised by student comprehension, subject matter interest, location, native language or nothing at all.
13th May 2022 - THE Campus


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 13th May 2022

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Gamification Of EdTech: Virtual Learning On The Road To The Metaverse

Increasingly, as 76% of U.S. kids play video games weekly, educators are looking to video games as a solution. The gamification of remote learning is moving to the next level through immersive virtual reality (VR) content, which is already used to train employees in construction, motor and aviation industries. Exciting game-based elements can entrance students with their variations of accessibility and creative communities. Instead of watching a lecture, students learning in video game-type simulations gain exposure to the emerging metaverse of connected online worlds.
12th May 2022 - elearningworld.eu


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 12th May 2022

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Game-Based Learning Prepares K–12 Students for a Digital Future

As educators seek tools for online environments, one of the solutions they’re increasingly turning to is game-based learning. One of the best ways for students to learn is through play, and growing up in a digital world, they are already playing video games outside the classroom. Bringing learning to students in a format with which they’re already familiar can help K–12 educators deliver important lessons. Video games can be used to teach students about the complex problems in the modern world, and they can teach students how to be better prepared for the future.
11th May 2022 - EdTech


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 11th May 2022

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It's time for educators to embrace the powers of AI and virtual reality

AI is utterly different to conventional digital technology because it is both adaptive — it personalises itself to the individual student and teacher — and it is autonomous — it operates independently, allowing students to learn at their own times of day, in their optimal way, and in their location of choice. It is akin to each student having a personal tutor and teacher in each and every subject, presenting them with material and giving them feedback and pastoral advice, at their beck and call any hour of night and day, 365 days a year. When allied to virtual reality (VR), AI offers students mind-boggling experiences, with experiments in science, modelling in mathematics and the social sciences, and scenarios in literature and history, beyond the imagination, literally, of those presiding over our education system at present.
10th May 2022 - The Times

NYC to launch two ‘full-time’ virtual schools, education officials say

New York City is planning to launch two fully virtual schools, top education department officials said during a City Council hearing on Tuesday, though key details about how and when they will be created have yet to be revealed. City officials told local lawmakers that launching the “full-time” virtual schools will be part of the solution to high rates of chronic absenteeism and re-engaging students in the wake of pandemic disruption. About 37% of the city’s K-12 students are on track to be chronically absent, defined as missing at least 10% of the school year, substantially higher than the years before the pandemic.
10th May 2022 - Chalkbeat New York

Virtual learning set poor children even further behind, study shows

Students in high-poverty schools paid a far higher price for virtual learning than did their peers in low-poverty schools, leaving vulnerable students even further behind than when the pandemic started, according to a working paper published last week by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The authors focused on the costs of virtual learning and warned of dire consequences from not addressing the gaps.
10th May 2022 - The Washington Post


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 10th May 2022

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CPS expands access to remote learning: 'For kids who are high risk ... this is a very good option'

Alaina is a student in the Virtual Academy, the remote-learning option Chicago Public Schools introduced in August for “medically fragile” students as the district returned to full-time, in-person learning for the first time during the COVID-19 pandemic. CPS recently announced it is relaxing the academy’s admission guidelines for the fall and increasing access to advanced coursework. The Tribune spoke with parents of four children enrolled in the academy this year. They shared differing experiences, but each said they were grateful for the program because they were able to limit exposure to the coronavirus.
9th May 2022 - Chicago Tribune

Virtual learning or hybrid learning: How do we choose?

With a more flexible workforce and the popularity of hybrid working comes a need for L&D practitioners to meet the learning requirements of those working in home, remote and office settings. The challenge we now have is knowing when it is appropriate to go virtual and when we choose hybrid. More and more clients and employers are asking if training sessions can accommodate both ‘on the Zoom’ (other platforms are available) and ‘in the room’, without considering the impact or fear behind that question!
9th May 2022 - TrainingZone.co.uk

Khan Academy: the maths teacher with 135 million pupils

The Khan Academy now has more than 135 million registered users in 190 countries and operates in 51 languages. It offers thousands of free video tutorials and exercises to anybody with an internet connection. At the start of the pandemic, when schools closed around the world, the number of minutes spent learning on the website tripled almost overnight from 30 million to 85 million a day.
9th May 2022 - The Times


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 9th May 2022

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How a tutoring service helps students with learning deficits

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, students continue to struggle to make up the learning deficit that came with reduced and compromised learning opportunities. Math test scores saw the greatest loss according to research from The Anneberg Institute. Of the $122.7 billion in the American Rescue Plan Act, 20% is to be used by local elementary and secondary education agencies to address learning loss. “There’s really a need for programs that can address the learning loss that’s happened in the last couple of years,” Kevin Kemper, co-owner of online math tutoring program My Math Experts.
8th May 2022 - Azed News

Taiwan donates multimedia classroom equipment to Saint Lucia

Taiwan's embassy in Saint Lucia recently donated equipment for two multimedia classrooms, to help strengthen basic education and digital literacy in the Caribbean island nation. The equipment, which includes 65-inch interactive screens and high-definition cameras and speakers, can be used to facilitate remote classes, musical performances and virtual meetings, according to the Taiwan embassy in Saint Lucia.
8th May 2022 - Focus Taiwan


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 6th May 2022

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The Conversation About Quality in Online Learning: Key Podcast

This week’s episode of The Key, Inside Higher Ed’s news and analysis podcast, explores the special report, “The Evolving Conversation About Quality in Online Learning.” The report explores a wide range of issues around the current and future state of technology-enabled learning to try to help administrators and faculty members prepare to deliver high-quality virtual instruction, however it fits into their institutional missions. Lori Williams, president and CEO of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA), discusses the report and its implications for colleges, professors and policy makers. Williams discusses how the pandemic has changed perceptions and practices around online education and how to judge quality in virtual learning, among other topics.
5th May 2022 - Inside Higher Ed

Writing Effective Recommendations for Remote Students

Many students have been struggling to request and secure letters of recommendation during the pandemic. They may be unsure how to ask for letters at the best of times, and with COVID and less face-to-face contact, they have faced even more barriers. This situation will only become more difficult when the faculty members whom students feel they know best refuse to provide letters and/or recommend they reach out to someone else. Just as faculty members have updated their practices to become effective remote teachers, they can rethink how to approach letters of recommendation and references for remote students.
30th Nov -0001 - Inside Higher Ed


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 5th May 2022

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Biden Administration Awards Nearly $77 Million to Expand Internet Access for Dozens of Tribes

The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has awarded 19 grants as part of the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program. The grants, totaling nearly $77 million, are being awarded in 10 states, and will fund internet use and adoption projects to improve healthcare, workforce development, education, housing, and social services in tribal communities.
4th May 2022 - commerce.gov

Remote learning continues to affect student outcomes – study

Three-in-five (64%) Australian parents say their kids have been seriously impacted by continued disruptions due to COVID-19, new research shows. According to the latest data captured within the Real Education Report 2022, the past two years have left more than half (51%) parents feeling their children have fallen significantly behind academically and are struggling to catch up. In addition, 46% of parents also feel the constant disruptions will also lead to long-term impacts on their academic progress and job prospects.
4th May 2022 - The Educator

Study offers insight into how remote learning impacts motivation of school students

Over 40% of parents of primary school students and 38% of parents of secondary school students felt their child found remote learning 'difficult' or 'very difficult', according to new data from the Schools Infection Survey (SIS). 'Struggling with motivation' was reported as the main barrier to learning at home by 39% of primary school pupils' parents, 44% of secondary school pupils' parents and 55% of secondary school students themselves. The main concern for teachers about providing remote education was a lack of engagement from pupils (69% in primary and 74% in secondary).
4th May 2022 - News-Medical


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 4th May 2022

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The Pros and Cons of Online Classes

Online courses have a bright future. It is not hard to imagine a world where students can freely access education that is relevant to their needs and flexible to their schedules. But as they exist today, university online courses are an implicit admission that many schools treat education solely as a series of hurdles to be jumped through. The structure of a typical online course reveals that the goal is not learning but to prove that an attempt at learning was made.
3rd May 2022 - The Wall Street Journal

Op-Ed: Virtual internships and learning experiences are just as valuable as in person ones

Roger Adkins is the executive director of the Center for Global Education at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana..He writes: "As the pandemic picked up steam, our signature global learning programs and fully funded internship and research program at Earlham College were abruptly paused. As our students and faculty shifted to online coursework, many did so for the first time in their young lives or long careers. Virtual internships and online global learning experiences were offered simply to fill the void. But instead of reading student reflections decrying these as second-rate experiences, I’ve heard a refreshing narrative for the last two years." "Despite missing out on the more esoteric kind of learning when we experience things in real life, many who work in the experiential education space are learning that online internships and virtual study abroad experiences have significant capacity to prepare young people for the world of work while sharpening their worldviews."
3rd May 2022 - Yahoo


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 3rd May 2022

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Four lessons from online learning that should stick after the pandemic

What have we really learned about online education? And what do we do now? Online learning isn’t new, and lessons can be drawn from existing research and experience. Athabasca University pioneered the world’s first online MBA, M.Nursing and M.Ed progams over 28 years ago. And today, it’s one of Canada’s leading online universities. The experience of online pioneers highlights four distinct aspects of online learning that should stick post-pandemic: learning to learn online, designing online teaching with purpose, blending space and time online and continued disruption with AI.
2nd May 2022 - The Conversation

Empowerment, Exit and Entrepreneurship Will Continue to Transform Education

Over the past two years of social and economic disruption, U.S. education has experienced an extraordinary transformation that can best be defined by 3 “Es”: Empowerment, Exit and Entrepreneurship.
2nd May 2022 - Forbes


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 29th Apr 2022

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An Educational Revolution Waiting To Happen

Most American kids don’t have access to an adequate education. Online or remote learning could increase access to quality education for vast numbers of people by an order of magnitude. For most people, the excellence of long-distance learning could even become superior in many ways to anything else they can currently afford, even if education within a brick-and-mortar setting remained of higher quality for the few who can afford it. A universal embrace of online learning would represent a seismic uptick in opportunity for entire societies.
28th Apr 2022 - Forbes

2 years after COVID, remote learning lessons are clear

It has become accepted wisdom in some quarters that remote education is simply worse across the board for students than traditional in-person models. Certain studies have blamed virtual education for learning loss, social isolation, mental health and behavioral issues, and more. However, using remote learning as a catch-all for a variety of school-related challenges (many of which existed before the pandemic) misses some nuances.
27th Apr 2022 - eSchool News


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 28th Apr 2022

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Reopening With Resilience: Lessons from remote learning during COVID-19 - Eastern and Southern Africa

The widespread school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbated the learning crisis for children living in Eastern and Southern Africa. The crisis has also shown the great need to develop resilient education systems that can provide learning when schools are forced to close. Understanding how to provide remote learning equitably utilizing multiple modalities and emphasizing low-tech solutions in Eastern and Southern Africa is critical given the great challenges facing the region in terms of electricity and connectivity access.
27th Apr 2022 - ReliefWeb


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 27th Apr 2022

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Virtual learning due to COVID-19 helps UMKC student with disability

With the introduction of lockdown browsers and proctoring, universities are able to maintain academic integrity while still allowing students the freedom to receive an education remotely. This is the future of the college experience for many people in unique circumstances, and the shift to online learning helps professors become more helpful and understanding.
26th Apr 2022 - UMKC

How Higher Ed Institutions Are Meeting the Demand for Student Devices

When universities pivoted to remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, devices became even more crucial resources — which, for some students, proved problematic. An EDUCAUSE survey fielded the year before the pandemic struck found that although 99 percent of college students felt laptops were at least moderately important for academic success, 8 percent (potentially more than a million students) didn’t have access to one. While many universities provided devices to some students before 2020, the expanded use of online instruction has ushered in a new emphasis on device availability.
26th Apr 2022 - EdTech


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 26th Apr 2022

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Free virtual production learning platform launched at NAB

On April 24, 2022, Zero Density announces the launch of a new online learning platform for creators of real-time broadcast graphics and virtual sets, “Zero Density Academy.” Featuring more than 50 in-depth video lessons, Zero Density Academy enables broadcasters to learn future-proof skills and earn a globally recognized certification — all for free.
25th Apr 2022 - fenews.co.uk

More Canberra schools expected to go to remote learning in Term 2 as winter looms

More schools in Canberra are expected to switch to remote learning in Term 2 as all education systems brace for a winter COVID-19 wave. ACT public schools will have the toughest regulations when school returns, as Canberra's non-government schools and NSW schools loosen their restrictions.
25th Apr 2022 - The Canberra Times


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 25th Apr 2022

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What Happens to the Right to Education, Online?

We have seen how the pandemic not only amplified existing inequalities in access to education through school closures and disrupted teaching, but also altered the nature of the learning experience. In March 2020, UNESCO reported that 87% of the world’s school children had been affected by COVID-19-related school closures and cessation of learning, signalling a major rupture in education. In May 2021, Human Rights Watch called for governments to devote serious attention and resources to ameliorate, mitigate, and correct the long-standing inequalities in education systems that have been highlighted and exacerbated during the pandemic. Added to that, the camera is believed to have induced a whole new level of anxiety among ill-prepared teachers and learners, and exacerbated privacy violations, even as the question of the efficacy of a digitised education process remains unsatisfactorily answered
24th Apr 2022 - The Wire

Virtual STEM learning programs ramped up during the pandemic

The chasm of need for creative virtual learning experiences grew during the pandemic, especially in STEM classroom activities. Some organizations stepped up with programs to fill this learning gap that existed before schools went online and will continue to exist after kids are back in the classroom. “Many schools simply don’t have the resources to augment classroom instruction with valuable hands-on, experiential alternatives,” says Sarah Buhayar, Pacific Science Center board member and a director at the Gates Foundation.
24th Apr 2022 - Seattle Times

COVID changed the way colleges prepare future teachers

As COVID-19 brought winds of change in K-12 education, schooling of future teachers shifted, as well. Colleges of education in Oklahoma say they modified the way they prepare students for a career in education during the pandemic era. Readying future educators to teach virtually is the foremost adjustment, said Jon Pedersen, dean of Oklahoma State University’s College of Education and Human Sciences.
24th Apr 2022 - Oklahoman.com


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 22nd Apr 2022

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Third of primary school leaders cutting edtech spending – report

Almost a third (32%) of primary school leaders say they have had to cut back on information technology (IT) equipment because of financial constraints, according to a new survey carried out by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER). In secondary schools, the figure is 20%. The findings form part of a report on catch-up funding published by the Sutton Trust. While a higher proportion of poll respondents reported having to cut back on teaching and support staff, the widespread reduction in edtech spending is nevertheless a cause for concern in its own right. As the move to remote learning during the pandemic underlined, poorer students and schools are on the wrong side of a digital divide, even without factoring in the likely impact of a cut in IT investment.
21st Apr 2022 - Education Technology

Stress Still Driving Students to Consider Stopping Out

Three-fourths of students in bachelor’s degrees programs and two-thirds of adults seeking associate degrees who considered taking a break from college within the last six months cited emotional stress, according to a new Gallup-Lumina report. The report also said that 44 percent of adults not currently enrolled in a college degree or certificate program have considered enrolling in the past two years. The report is based on a survey of 11,227 U.S. adults conducted last fall and expands on a 2020 study of U.S. higher education “that found rising concerns among students about the shift from in-person to remote learning. That research confirmed the spread of COVID-19 had jeopardized student retention, with about half reporting the pandemic was ‘likely’ or ‘very likely’ to affect their enrollment,” according to Gallup and the Lumina Foundation.
21st Apr 2022 - Inside Higher Ed

Hybrid teaching harming teacher mental health

The extra time, energy and workload required to deliver hybrid teaching is having a detrimental effect on the health, safety and welfare of teachers, representatives heard at the Annual Conference of NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union. Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT general secretary said, “Teachers have adapted to new ways of online working and embraced new tools out of necessity to help children while they were learning from home during the pandemic. But it cannot be right that their health and wellbeing have been affected adversely by the excessive workload required to deliver remote education."
19th Apr 2022 - HSM


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 21st Apr 2022

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Meta funds virtual classrooms at 7 universities complete with VR headsets

College students at schools from Georgia to Oregon will have a new back-to-school supply this fall: virtual reality headsets. Seven universities and colleges are opening digital twins of their campuses to offer an alternative to class via video call. Each school will roll out a digital twin of campus for students to attend either on campus or remotely. Each student will receive a Meta Quest 2 virtual reality headset for use during the course. Courses will be synchronous as if they were attending class on a physical campus.
20th Apr 2022 - TechRepublic

Mixed-reality virtual learning platform secures £150k seed funding

Focus MRS, a mixed-reality virtual learning platform, has secured a £150,000 seed investment from Jenson Funding Partners . The technology is designed to enhance the teaching of practical subjects, such as construction, barbering, and personal training, with educators able to pre-record or stream 360-degree videos for students who can then watch them on their smartphone with the aid of a “low-cost” headset and VR viewer. Educators are provided with a 360-degree camera to capture the lesson, which they can then upload to the Focus MRS platform. Students can log in, review their lesson timetable, select the lecture, and put on their viewer.
20th Apr 2022 - Education Technology


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 20th Apr 2022

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The Gamification Of EdTech: Virtual Learning On The Road To The Metaverse

Exposure quarantines pushed remote classroom learning from the occasional into the commonplace. Both teachers and educational institutions are scrambling to identify new ways to improve distance learning experiences, engagement and equal access to tools and facilities in the post-pandemic world. Increasingly, as 76% of U.S. kids play video games weekly, educators are looking to video games as a solution. The gamification of remote learning is moving to the next level through immersive virtual reality (VR) content, which is already used to train employees in construction, motor and aviation industries.
19th Apr 2022 - Forbes

Research suggests that virtual learning is the most popular method for adults

New unweighted research into virtual learning, commissioned by learning management system provider Digits, has shown that watching online videos and taking part in online courses are now the most popular learning methods in the UK. On average, over one in four of the 2,000 people polled say they most enjoy learning via videos and courses on the internet (29% and 28% respectively), while face-to-face options, such as in-person classes with others present and one-to-one tutoring, were favoured by less than one in four people (23% and 19% respectively).
19th Apr 2022 - Education Technology


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 19th Apr 2022

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“We must show the same sense of urgency to abolish digital poverty for teachers as we do for children.”: Tackling the Digital Divide

The pandemic shone a spotlight on the number of children with limited digital access, and indeed a number of worthwhile schemes sprung up over the pandemic to provide children with devices to get them online. However, in the admirable efforts to improve digital access, one crucial group was neglected – teachers. Recent research from the Digital Poverty Alliance highlighted that 47% of teachers in the UK have struggled with digital connectivity. Many of them must share their home device with others in their household or simply do not have access to a device once they leave work. And when teachers cannot fully engage with technology, their pupils are directly affected, whether connecting remotely or engaging with digital learning in class.
18th Apr 2022 - FE News

Pandemic Learning Was Tough On Everyone. Bilingual Students Faced Additional Challenges

As with other problems that long dogged the education system, the pandemic exposed the lack of resources along with barriers that English-learning students face in receiving an equitable education, says Leslie Villegas, a senior policy analyst at New America’s Education Policy Program. She was part of a research duo that interviewed 20 English-language education leaders across the US to learn how they and students managed during virtual schooling. Their new report found that the sudden shift to remote instruction—and all its limitations—had a “disproportionate impact” on students who were learning English.
18th Apr 2022 - EdSurge


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 14th Apr 2022

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Is Tech Destroying Kids' Social Skills? Here's How Social-Emotional Learning Can Help

Technology’s effect on children’s social skills and well-being has caused a lot of hand-wringing over the years—and parents’ and educators’ concerns have only grown with the pandemic as students have done more socializing and learning on their digital devices. Social media, virtual learning, online gaming, and ubiquitous devices present new social challenges for kids. So, what social-emotional skills do they need to flourish in an increasingly tech-centric world, and are schools teaching them?
13th Apr 2022 - Education Week

Will virtual teaching become the new normal in UK independent education?

New research suggests more than a quarter of independent school teachers in the UK would consider virtual teaching permanently. Specialist education insurer Ecclesiastical has released research which suggests 28% of independent school teachers in the UK would consider taking on a virtual role permanently in the future. The survey also found that a third of independent school teachers have seen an increase in virtual roles being advertised and two in five are more concerned about falling behind technological changes since the pandemic. Nine in 10 respondents said that their schools has invested in more technology since the pandemic.
13th Apr 2022 - Education Technology


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 13th Apr 2022

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Some Colleges Are Ending Hybrid Learning. Students Are Pushing Back.

Johnny Ellsworth would like nothing more than to return to a classroom in a world without a pandemic, where the sophomore at Pomona College could “connect with people in a more intimate way than you might be able to over Zoom.” Instead, as a person who is immunocompromised, he wakes up every morning and checks his phone to see what the local Covid rates are before he heads to class, reminding himself of all the reasons his education is important to him, including his family and his future job.
11th Apr 2022 - The Chronicle of Higher Education


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 12th Apr 2022

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Even in a virtual classroom, preschoolers can gain reading skills

When the COVID-19 pandemic closed schools nationwide, students of all ages — from high-schoolers in Advanced Placement classes to preschoolers getting the hang of the ABCs — shifted to remote learning on a screen. And while learning to read in an online setting may seem a tall order, a new study by the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences finds that children can develop key reading skills in a virtual classroom with other students. Researchers say their “Reading Camp” program demonstrates not only the effectiveness of the approach, but also the potential to reach larger numbers of students remotely, by necessity or by choice.
11th Apr 2022 - University of Washington


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 11th Apr 2022

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How Can Immersive Learning Be Used in Hybrid Classrooms?

As the pandemic affected higher education and forced universities to think creatively about keeping students engaged from afar, immersive learning continued to gain traction as a virtual tool to bring previously inaccessible concepts, locations and objects directly to students using technology. It’s important to know what it is, the technology needed to use it, and its potential to impact remote and hybrid education models.
6th Apr 2022 - EdTech Magazine


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 8th Apr 2022

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How Can Immersive Learning Be Used in Hybrid Classrooms?

As the pandemic affected higher education and forced universities to think creatively about keeping students engaged from afar, immersive learning continued to gain traction as a virtual tool to bring previously inaccessible concepts, locations and objects directly to students using technology. An EDUCAUSE QuickPoll conducted in November 2021 indicated that while many respondents were either not currently adopting extended reality technologies (34 percent), were in early stages of adoption (16 percent) or had adopted for a few specific projects (39 percent), 90 percent believed that extended reality adoption will increase over the next five years
7th Apr 2022 - EdTech

How COVID-19 Affected the Mental Health of Teens

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is shedding new light on how difficult the COVID-19 pandemic has been on high school students. The agency has released its first nationally representative survey of teens’ mental state during the COVID-19 outbreak. “With disruptions in normal routines and moving to virtual learning, students faced isolation, loneliness, and loss of structure in their day,” Dr Asha Patton-Smith said. “Many teens lost important connections forged in the school environment, both with peers and with school staff, which caused many students to lose their support systems"
7th Apr 2022 - Healthline

Reforming learning disorder diagnosis following COVID-19 educational disruption

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, millions of children across the globe have experienced the partial or full closure of schools and/or prolonged reliance on virtual learning. The effects of this ongoing educational disruption are still unfolding. Early studies from the COVID-19 era have associated educational disruption with increased mental health concerns (including depression and anxiety) and diminished learning gains (especially in maths and reading) in young people. Those affected by racial and economic disadvantages have been more likely to experience longer periods of educational disruption
7th Apr 2022 - Nature.com


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 7th Apr 2022

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US and UK pupils want remote working options in higher education and employment

Remote learning may have been a temporary education measure during the pandemic, but for many students it has had a permanent impact – affecting their readiness for post-secondary education and career plans, future workplace outlooks, and choice of where to live. The majority (58%) of students surveyed said they envision a combination of remote and in-person work for their future careers, with nearly one in five stating that the ability to work remotely is a factor in their decision about what to study or what jobs they might pursue.
6th Apr 2022 - Independent Education Today

Did we really learn anything about schools in the pandemic?

If you Google “lessons learned about schools during the pandemic” you will see a long list of articles that purport to tell us about all the things we learned about teaching and learning in the two years since the coronavirus crisis began in March 2020. Many of the pieces highlight similar “lessons” — on inequity, technology, in-school learning, funding mechanisms and other issues — that seemingly hadn’t been thought of before. But for anybody paying the slightest bit of attention there is nothing on the list of pandemic school “lessons” that we didn’t already know before covid-19 — and for a long, long time.
6th Apr 2022 - The Washington Post


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 6th Apr 2022

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Nearly One in Five Teenagers are Factoring the Ability to Work Remotely into Their University and Career Plans, Survey Shows

Remote learning may have been a temporary education measure during the pandemic, but for many students it has had a permanent impact — affecting their readiness for post-secondary education and career plans, future workplace outlooks, and choice of where to live. Those are some of the findings of a survey of 16- to 18-year-olds in the U.S. and U.K
5th Apr 2022 - FE News

Incorporating Asynchronous Learning in K–12 Districts

Asynchronous learning, an educational model in which students learn on their own schedule, is exploding in popularity in K–12 schools. As the number of devices and familiarity with online learning increase, districts are finding students prefer a more flexible schedule. There are many ways districts can approach this trending educational model, including flipped classrooms, virtual-only schools and through variations of blended learning, project-based learning and more. While it might seem overwhelming at first glance, it isn’t difficult to incorporate asynchronous learning into the classroom.
5th Apr 2022 - EdTech Magazine

Evolving Conversation About Quality in Online Learning: Special Report

Inside Higher Ed has publishing a new special report, “The Evolving Conversation About Quality in Online Learning.” This free print-on-demand report explores how the COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped both the practice and perceptions of online, hybrid and blended learning in postsecondary education. Among the topics it explores are changing student demands and expectations regarding online quality; growing institutional support and training for faculty members; how quality is judged in virtual learning, and who does the judging; and best practices for high-quality instruction, however it is delivered.
5th Apr 2022 - Inside Higher Ed


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 5th Apr 2022

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More Brits would rather learn online than in-person

Given the choice, more people prefer to learn new skills and knowledge online – and most likely alone – than alongside other people. That’s according to new virtual learning research, commissioned by learning management system provider Digits, which reveals that watching online videos and taking part in online courses are now the most popular learning methods in the UK. On average, over one in four of the 2,000 people polled say they most enjoy learning via videos and courses on the internet (29% and 28% respectively), while face-to-face options, such as in-person classes with others present and one-to-one tutoring, were favoured by less than one in four people (23% and 19% respectively).
4th Apr 2022 - FE News


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 4th Apr 2022

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Student group work: how to improve engagement online

Online learning can leave students feeling lonely, disengaged and unmotivated. Because they do not attend classes in person on campus, they can lack a sense of belonging and do not readily identify with their university. Often they have never met their instructors in person and may never have visited the campus. Incorporating group activities into online college coursework can help increase engagement and a sense of belonging. With group work, online students collaborate to complete short assignments or long-term projects, all the while interacting with each other on a more personal level.
3rd Apr 2022 - Times Higher Education

Emergency remote teaching and the learning loss that came from it; Were Mass. educators properly trained to t

The pandemic disrupted classrooms across the US. A McKinsey study discovered that K-12 students are currently, on average, five months behind in their expected mathematics levels and four months behind in their expected reading levels. MCAS scores from 2019 and 2021 — the MCAS wasn’t offered in 2020 due to the pandemic — showed a decline in almost every grade level across Massachusetts. Professionals attribute the decline in test scores to the state-wide switch to emergency remote teaching during the 2020-2021 school year. “Drops were seen all over the commonwealth of Massachusetts including in our wealthier suburbs,” commissioner Jeffrey Riley said during a Board of Elementary and Secondary Education meeting where the scores were unveiled. “These are drops we haven’t seen in decades.”
3rd Apr 2022 - MassLive.com


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 1st Apr 2022

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Organisations harness the power of learning to support families in their communities

This year’s Family Learning Award shortlist, shows how organisations are using imaginative, innovative and inclusive ways to deliver learning opportunities which help families in their communities. The awards, organised by education charity Campaign for Learning, celebrate learning activities that supported families during lockdown and beyond and supported health and wellbeing. As to be expected, some of the top priorities for organisations were focused around the significant changes to how learning is delivered beyond the pandemic, keeping families connected, boosting mental health and ensuring everyone can access opportunities to learn.
31st Mar 2022 - fenews.co.uk

DfE warned over 'unrealistic' remote learning guidance

In England, updated government guidance on remote learning for schools has been criticised as "unrealistic" and "a distraction" by heads and teaching profession leaders. The non-statutory guidance, published this week, sets out expectations over how schools should "deliver high-quality remote education" when in-person teaching is not possible. Its suggestion that schools should consider "securing appropriate internet connectivity solutions where possible" has been described as a "huge demand".
30th Mar 2022 - tes magazine


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 31st Mar 2022

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The challenges of large hybrid lecture courses (opinion)

Sarah Marsden Greene is a lecturer in economics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She writes: "The COVID-19 pandemic has forced monumental and continually shifting changes to the way we teach college students. As the spring 2022 semester has rolled along amid pressure from virus variants, part of me is still processing the fall 2021 semester. It was a semester in which the private four-year college where I teach economics courses faced the challenge of turning the tide of instruction modality from COVID-imposed online to in person. It was a transitional time, with most students returning to residential living, while a very few were not. In-person learning was no longer a modality deemed too risky but was practically a requirement, as in pre-COVID semesters. A rigorous approval process was in force for those students seeking remote learning, with many being flatly denied and forced to withdraw for the semester. Only a very few were approved for remote learning. The COVID-era of accommodating students in their many varied situations had ended as of fall 2021. As an instructor, part of my understanding for this hard-line approach is to prevent disgruntled parents from complaining that they are paying for room and board while their students are not attending class and, in the worst case, commencing lawsuits over tuition charged for online classes."
30th Mar 2022 - Inside Higher Ed

Why we should let online elementary students lead

The role of elementary teachers has never been more important, especially as kindergarten through fifth grade students today are facing more change than ever before–from the effects of the pandemic to social media and stressful current events being right at their fingertips. According to The Annie E. Casey Foundation, the annual average learning gain for Kindergarten through second grade students is higher than at any time during a child’s years in school. This is why we both decided to become elementary school teachers–to make a positive impact in children’s lives during such a critical time of development and growth. While it is essential for students to understand and master their learning in elementary school, it is also important that students develop confidence, feel ownership over their work, and become passionate about learning
30th Mar 2022 - eSchool News

Covid closures still affecting 400 million pupils - Unicef

Schools in 23 countries, with 405 million pupils, are still partially or fully closed because of Covid, the United Nations Children's Fund says. The charity, Unicef, estimates 147 million children have missed at least half of their in-person schooling. Some vulnerable children, especially girls, have not returned to those schools that have reopened. Unicef executive director Catherine Russell says children are "the hidden casualties of the pandemic". While children have been less vulnerable to the most serious health effects of coronavirus, their lives have been turned upside down by the school closures of the pandemic.
30th Mar 2022 - BBC.com


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 30th Mar 2022

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Teaching data science: a guide to using online tools

Learning to code can be intimidating; first attempts can be frustrating and require repetition and feedback to gain confidence. Often learners will move at very different paces, depending on prior experience and confidence. As a result, online or blended learning, combining self-paced workbooks with instructor contact, can be the perfect environment for teaching data science. Luckily, there are many platforms and tools to enable successful blended learning
29th Mar 2022 - Times Higher Education

Remote education is here to stay - optimising the home learning environment

Remote education creates a pathway to develop skills outside of the traditional classroom, offering individuals the opportunity to learn without limits – on their own terms around other aspects of their lives. With remote education here to stay, there are some key considerations for both learners and providers to make the most of the experience.
28th Mar 2022 - FE News

Where Does Blended Learning Go from Here?

Education has always been a conduit to prosperity and opportunity. It is therefore critical that, as our approach to teaching evolves and becomes more digital, its value and accessibility improves, rather than diminishes. Research has shown that online learning is effective only if students have reliable access to the internet and computers, and if teachers have received adequate training and support. The truth of this sentiment was clear in a global survey of teachers in high-poverty schools who found virtual classes to be ineffective during the pandemic, rating them 3.5 out of 10. With blended learning, teachers report higher levels of engagement and an overall increase in motivation.
28th Mar 2022 - Education Technology

Report shows impact of pandemic on students’ performance

A statewide report on public school students in Connecticut during the pandemic has concluded that while graduation rates rose, other evidence showed evidence of learning loss. Those who learned in in-person settings during the 2020-21 school year lost the least ground academically, the Department of Education’s Condition of Education report concluded. That trend held true across all grades and most student groups. Those students who learned in hybrid or fully remote models showed “substantially weaker achievement and growth during the pandemic,” particularly in mathematics, according to the report.
28th Mar 2022 - Associated Press


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 28th Mar 2022

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The pandemic upended education. Two years later, what changes are here to stay?

Two years ago, the pandemic upended the education system. And while students are now back at their desks in before-times style, other parts of schooling will likely never be the same. From Chromebooks in classrooms to added mental health and social supports, some pandemic-induced changes appear to be here to stay — at least for now. What are COVID-19′s lasting impacts on the way kids learn, how schools operate, and how communities interact with them? Some educators and parents shared their perspectives.
27th Mar 2022 - The Philadelphia Inquirer

Enrolling and Engaging Online Learners: A Compilation

“Enrolling and Engaging Online Learners” is a new print-on-demand booklet from Inside Higher Ed. You may download the free compilation of news articles and essays here. On Wednesday, April 27, at 2 p.m. Eastern time, Inside Higher Ed will present a webcast to discuss the themes of the booklet and answer your questions.
27th Mar 2022 - Inside Higher Ed


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 25th Mar 2022

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A teacher's tips for effective edtech integration

Integrating technology into the classroom offers numerous benefits for students, including increased communication and collaboration skills alongside better engagement. The first thing that needs to be done in order to successfully integrate technology in the classroom has to be instructing/training teachers to do so. Having professional development sessions offered yearly and up to date with the ever-changing tech tools that schools are offered would be something that every teacher could benefit from. Students, as a result, will reap the benefits of their teachers’ pedagogical tech skills.
24th Mar 2022 - eSchool News

How Virtual Learning Can Help Bridge the Skills Gap

Though online learning predates COVID-19, the pandemic quickened the pace of digital learning’s evolution in higher education. The last two years alone have seen an explosion in online courses and the expansion of online degree programs. Moving forward, higher education institutions must innovate to increase access, engagement and the overall experience for students of all types, while also embracing the idea of “lifelong learning,” said Judy Olian, president of Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, during a webinar on “How Virtual Learning Is Enabling Lifelong Skill-Building.” Olian and three other panelists discussed where online education fits into the future of higher ed and how institutions must adapt moving forward.
24th Mar 2022 - U.S. News & World Report


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 24th Mar 2022

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Why learning together is the future of online education

Following the ed tech revolution, we’re seeing an exciting and necessary evolution—one to address the elephant in the online classroom. The reality is that online learning engagement and completion rates are famously low. Learning leaders struggle to boost engagement, even when learners have access to content on nearly every skill imaginable. Not enough people are making the progress they want with online education. What is standing in the way? there are three core reasons: accountability, effectiveness, and connection.
23rd Mar 2022 - Fast Company

Virtual teaching: How to share resources with your music students

With the pandemic affecting everyone’s everyday lives, virtual learning has become the norm for a lot of students, parents and teachers. Many tutors and teachers wonder how they can make the most of the online world to make learning fun and effective. The same goes for learning and teaching music. It might be quite a change for some, but there are still ways to keep each other inspired. In this article, we will be looking at several ways in which teachers are able to share various resources with students virtually, so that they receive the same level of learning as they would within the classroom. But most importantly, these digital tools can help us maintain our love for learning and music.
23rd Mar 2022 - Mail and Guardian


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 23rd Mar 2022

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How colleges and universities are reimagning remote learning

The COVID-19 pandemic has not only accelerated trends towards online learning, but it also has broadened the types of people who want targeted skills training. These tools can help prepare them for jobs of the future. However, the ideal model has yet to be developed, as remote learning needs can vary dramatically from person to person. Across the sector, private universities and colleges are seeking outside assistance and advice from organizations such as IFC to help improve online learning offerings.
22nd Mar 2022 - WEForum

Staff absences due to Covid could spark return of remote learning, council warns

Edinburgh City Council, Fife Council and Dumfries and Galloway Council all said remote learning may have to be considered as the pandemic continues to rip through teachers and pupils. Director of education for Dumfries and Galloway council, Gillian Brydson, said individual classes or year groups could face the return to online learning despite the easing of restrictions. This is due to rising case numbers, she said, leading to “very challenging” situations for “a number of our schools and early years settings”.
22nd Mar 2022 - The Scotsman


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 22nd Mar 2022

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Changing Classroom Paradigms Post-Covid

Mamta Saikia, Chief Executive Officer of Bharti Foundation, writes about the ways in which the pandemic has changed education in India: "we simply cannot go back to traditional teaching and learning processes. A lot has changed, and we have to rebuild our classroom strategies keeping in mind the way things have evolved."
21st Mar 2022 - BloombergQuint

Tasmania's education union calls for more support for teachers delivering virtual learning to COVID-impacted students

Teacher shortages in parts of Tasmania are making virtual learning impossible for children isolating at home due to COVID-19, the state's education union says. Children who are in the same household as an active case of COVID-19 are required to isolate for seven days from the date of the case diagnosis. This means that they are forced to do their education remotely, as is the case with children with COVID-19. Australian Education Union state president David Genford said these students needed the full learning support they deserved.
21st Mar 2022 - The Examiner


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 21st Mar 2022

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Districts face difficulty luring covid-cautious parents back to school

In the US, the push to return to a pre-pandemic normal has tested the resolve of parents still worried about covid’s risks. Perhaps nowhere has the shift back to normal been more jarring than in Prince George’s schools. Though not its original intent, the Maryland district of about 130,000 students set up a massive virtual learning experiment when, to placate anxious parents, it extended enrollment in its remote program for K-6 students during last summer’s delta variant surge. Thousands of families chose that option, which the district said would last only for the first semester, when a pediatric vaccine was expected to be approved.
20th Mar 2022 - The Washington Post

Learning How to Blend Online and Offline Teaching

In the pandemic many higher ed faculty, forced onto Zoom and other videoconferencing platforms, have continued teaching online just as they always did face to face, delivering lectures over streaming video as they did in person. Many are unaware that teaching online can actually open new possibilities to innovate their teaching practice. Even so, there are some instructors who have found new and rewarding ways to teach, thanks to the forced experiment with online—by doing things that stimulate active learning, turning video conferencing classes into engaged, peer-to-peer discussions of what students explored on their own or with others between class sessions—activities such as viewing videos, visiting websites and reading scholarly books and articles, among other offline resources.
20th Mar 2022 - EdSurge

Universities' online teaching and 'blended learning' to be reviewed

In the UK, the quality of online teaching and “blended learning” at universities is set to be reviewed, over fears that students’ poor experiences of online learning during the pandemic may have undermined the potential of mixing face-to-face lectures with online study. The Office for Students (OfS) has launched a review to explore how universities are delivering blended learning, which will aim to give students and applicants information on whether the elements of their courses taught online are of a high enough quality.
20th Mar 2022 - North Wales Pioneer


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 18th Mar 2022

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Digital teaching materials: moving away from print for better results

Waste paper is often discarded in classrooms, and Microsoft Word-based worksheets tend not to be particularly engaging, especially during online teaching periods. Moreover, interactive questions, audio and video can’t be included in printed materials. HTML 5 packages (H5P) provide a new way to create rich interactive content within learning management systems such as Moodle, Canvas and Blackboard. Content types include multiple-choice questions, gap fills, drag and drop, interactive video, parallax presentations and many more. An interactive book allows many of the content types to be embedded in a comprehensive browser-based workbook.
17th Mar 2022 - Times Higher Education

Universities’ online teaching and ‘blended learning’ to be reviewed

In the UK, the quality of online teaching and “blended learning” at universities is set to be reviewed, over fears that students’ poor experiences of online learning during the pandemic may have undermined the potential of mixing face-to-face lectures with online study. The Office for Students (OfS) has launched a review to explore how universities are delivering blended learning, which will aim to give students and applicants information on whether the elements of their courses taught online are of a high enough quality.
17th Mar 2022 - Evening Standard


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 17th Mar 2022

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Singapore’s Chan Sees More Online School Learning in Covid Shift

Singapore plans to move more school lessons online and make better use of technology to improve the learning and teaching experience, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing said Wednesday. Transmission of knowledge can be done via digital channels, which will free up in-person school time for pupils to sharpen their collaborative skills and creativity, Chan said in an interview. The minister also sees technology as “a great enabler” that helps lighten the workload of teachers and accelerate the pace of education.
16th Mar 2022 - Bloomberg Quint

Fix digital weaknesses to make up for learning losses

As Malaysia enters the endemic phase of Covid-19, it is time to look closely at the remote learning issues that cropped up during lockdowns and reimagine Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) education as a whole. This is crucial to ensure continuity and to prepare pupils for the workforce. The pandemic highlighted the importance of technologies in remote teaching and learning (T&L) amid the closure of educational institutions. But shortfalls in remote learning and the digital divide severely disrupted education access for many pupils, particularly those from poorer socioeconomic backgrounds.
16th Mar 2022 - New Straits Times


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 16th Mar 2022

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Singapore's Chan Sees More Online School Learning in Covid Shift

Singapore plans to move more school lessons online and make better use of technology to improve the learning and teaching experience, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing said Wednesday. Transmission of knowledge can be done via digital channels, which will free up in-person school time for pupils to sharpen their collaborative skills and creativity, Chan said in an interview to be broadcast as part of the Bloomberg Asean Business Summit. The minister also sees technology as “a great enabler” that helps lighten the workload of teachers and accelerate the pace of education. “We will move more and more of our lessons online, allowing our students to do more self-paced learning” Chan said, citing the experience from the Covid-19 pandemic. The city-state began preparations for virtual classrooms even before the start of the virus spread, he added.
16th Mar 2022 - Bloomberg

Over half of disabled students considered leaving full-time education during the pandemic, study finds

Disabled students were left without support during the pandemic and over half considered leaving full-time education, according to a survey of pupils at 69 UK universities and higher education providers. Just 23.1 per cent of disabled students received the support they needed over the pandemic, with many saying they felt “left behind”, “alienated”, and “forgotten” by university staff. Campaigners are calling on universities to maintain a hybrid of online learning and in-person teaching, with one student saying: “There shouldn’t have had to be a pandemic to make things accessible.”
15th Mar 2022 - The Independent

Breakout room anxiety: how to address this among students

Much of the anxiety of a breakout room comes from not knowing who one’s randomised group members will be. This feeling is exacerbated because students may not have had the chance to become familiar with most of their course mates, as they would have in traditional settings. And unlike physical class, they have no idea when a lecturer might randomly “visit” their breakout room. Here are a few steps lecturers can take to help make students feel more comfortable in breakout rooms: Build rapport among students; Focus on one or two specific, focused and inspiring tasks to complete under 10 minutes; Limit the use of breakout rooms; Ask for constructive feedback from students.
15th Mar 2022 - Times Higher Education

How can Artificial Intelligence in online learning support emotional and social development?

In reacting to COVID-19, the priority for education providers was ensuring face-to-face learning and assessment activities were transitioned to an online environment. In doing so, practitioners may have lacked the capacity to consider the implications an online environment might have on the emotional and social development of learners. Whilst some learners thrived under the remote circumstances, many struggled to adapt to this new way of teaching and learning. This view is supported by anecdotal evidence which suggests that many learners experienced feelings of isolation and demotivation as the rapid transition to online learning was made.
15th Mar 2022 - FE News


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 15th Mar 2022

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Hawaii schools to receive $72 million in federal funds for online learning

More than $72 million in federal COVID-19 assistance funds has been awarded to Hawaii public schools, and a handful of charter and private schools, to help close the “digital equity” gap suffered by students who don’t have a way to connect to the internet at home.
14th Mar 2022 - Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Flexibility of virtual learning prompts some post-secondary students to pursue more online studies

Most Canadian post-secondary students experienced virtual learning of some sort during the pandemic. Although many were not fans, its greater flexibility and accessibility is prompting some students to seek out virtual classes and forcing universities to rethink how they structure online degrees, including science courses that depend on in-person laboratories, practicums, co-ops and residences.
14th Mar 2022 - CBC.ca


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 14th Mar 2022

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Universities Reimagine Teaching Labs for a Virtual Future

The COVID-19 pandemic forced the closure of university teaching labs worldwide. Students in STEM classes stopped using industry-grade equipment on campus, and instead tried to problem-solve independently with take-home kits that provided limited functionality. As classroom instruction moved from in-person to virtual, professors and teaching assistants quickly realized this new learning experience created many challenges. Real-time instruction and hands-on experience gave way to students trying to solve problems independently. Engineering professors at Morgan State then began using more advanced virtual lab options, which allowed students to access industry-grade lab equipment.
13th Mar 2022 - EdTech

Using immediacy cues in the classroom

As equity-focused educators, we can practise immediacy cues – both verbal and non-verbal, in physical and virtual classrooms – to signal to all students that they are welcome, that we respect and value them, and that we’re interested in them. These signals go a long way to creating an inclusive environment and promoting positive learning outcomes for all students. We’ll look first at verbal immediacy cues in person and online because these may be things we’re already doing, and therefore may be easier to increase as we deliberately strive to create more welcoming spaces.
13th Mar 2022 - Times Higher Education


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 11th Mar 2022

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Why video creation encourages classroom innovation

Some of the best educational content develops with creative thinking and a willingness to try new things–and if teachers and students have the right tools, they’re on the right path. Learn more during this eSchool News webinar featuring educators and edtech experts who can speak to how video lets teachers gauge student understanding, enables students to access content at their own pace, and more.
10th Mar 2022 - eSchool News

Taking best of innovations, lessons of pandemic education

The Future of Teaching and Learning Task Force convened in the spring of 2021, and the group has now released its report. The initiative brought together faculty and staff from across Harvard’s Schools and units to explore the innovations and lessons that emerged from pandemic-era teaching and imagine how the University might create more engaging and equitable learning opportunities in the future.
10th Mar 2022 - Harvard Gazette


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 10th Mar 2022

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Teachers Are Transferring Their New Virtual Teaching Skills to In-Person Instruction

One big result of the pandemic is that it is spurring many schools to embrace technology in deeper and more sustained ways than ever before. What’s driving that momentum? To begin with, digital learning devices have become way more common in classrooms and students’ homes, thanks in part to billions of dollars in federal relief funds. Nearly half of the educators—49 percent—identified improved access to laptops, Chromebooks, and tablets as a major boost to their expanded use of education technology in the classroom, according to an EdWeek Research Center survey. Almost as many teachers, principals, and district leaders—46 percent—said teachers’ new facility with technology has been highly beneficial for teaching and learning.
9th Mar 2022 - Edweek.org

Unis 'should capitalise on knowledge gained from their online learning experience'

COVID-19 restrictions required universities to move their classes online. It was a tremendous – although difficult – learning experience for all involved in this shift. As restrictions have been lifted, universities are moving back to in-person teaching. With campuses getting busy again, it may look like nothing has changed. Universities would be wise, though, to reflect on lessons learned during the pandemic. They should capitalise on knowledge gained from their online learning experience. Universities should continue to encourage and help lecturers to be creative and flexible in how they design their courses and interact with their students
9th Mar 2022 - Study International News


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 9th Mar 2022

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The 10 most innovative education companies of 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic blasted online education years into the future, and exposed its many challenges. At a time when educators and parents alike are still grappling with school disruptions and learning loss, this year’s most innovative education companies sought to supplement traditional schooling and democratize access to education. Some of these companies, like Duolingo and Coursera, which pioneered online learning, are expanding their reach into new markets with a slate of offerings targeted at moving higher education online. Others are offering a new spin on more conventional modes of instruction.
8th Mar 2022 - Fast Company

Many companies are offering employees the benefit of online courses. Do they actually help your career?

Many companies offer some form of tuition reimbursement, but some are taking it a step further and providing their workers with access to online skill development courses. But do these programs really lead to new jobs and promotions? The short answer is that it depends. While companies are investing in skills-development training, hiring based on those courses hasn’t caught up in a big way yet. However, that’s shifting in this increasingly tight labor market as employers look beyond the job potential employees have on their résumé.
8th Mar 2022 - Fortune

Further study moves to hybrid – but will the changes stick?

In recent years, more students have gone to a so-called “fourth-level” course after a few years – or even decades – in work, a shift away from a time when most postgraduates went straight from college into their master’s degree course. Many have families, full-time jobs and other commitments, so finding the time and money for a postgraduate course can be tricky. As a result of this shift and the changing needs of learners, higher education institutions have been moving towards providing more flexible, online and blended learning options. And when the pandemic hit, almost all postgraduate learning moved online. So, with society opening up, how are postgraduate courses being delivered now?
8th Mar 2022 - The Irish Times


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 8th Mar 2022

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Online Learning Can Lead to Increased Success for Minority Students in Higher Education

Research shows that student performance in gateway courses can predict retention, the likelihood of graduation and all-around student success. Historically, minority students have been underserved in these courses. This leads to a higher number of minority students receiving grades of D or F, withdrawing or receiving incomplete grades, often resulting in lower retention rates. While online learning is not without its challenges, experts say it can be a catalyst for improving course outcomes for disadvantaged and historically marginalized students.
7th Mar 2022 - EdTech Magazine

Creating Meaningful Connections: E-journaling and Self-assessment for Online Courses

There are challenges in finding meaningful ways to engage with students in asynchronous online courses. Some students find learning new concepts difficult when taking a course with an asynchronous format. It can lack personalization and a clear path for self-directed learning. Additionally, instructors often look for options to engage with online learners beyond a synchronous virtual meeting format. Providing self-directed learning opportunities can feel overwhelming to instructors given that it is an additional step instructors need to grade. However, utilizing e-journaling as a tool for online instruction can establish connections and lighten the assessment load by utilizing student self-assessment strategies.
7th Mar 2022 - Faculty Focus


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 7th Mar 2022

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Virtually the same?: Online higher education in the post Covid‐19 era

For this special section for the British Journal of Education Technology on the future of online higher education in the post-covid-19 era, we called for research papers to analyse and reflect on the lessons and experiences universities, East and West, have gained over the period of the ongoing pandemic. We intended that the special section would also explore the implications for the future of online university education.
6th Mar 2022 - BERA Journals

Western University's new 5G connection 'a game changer' in virtual learning

A new 5G network, exponentially faster than anything that has come before, is being touted as “a game charger” by Western officials who say they are the first university in Canada to have the technology. The internet upgrade will pave the way for a more immersive experience for students trying to learn online, among other things, officials there say. “Western is the only university in Canada that has a fully functional 5G network up and running,” said Peter White, Western executive director of government relations and strategic partnerships.
6th Mar 2022 - The London Free Press


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 4th Mar 2022

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Students with disabilities are not getting help to address lost opportunities

Even before the pandemic hit, 98% of U.S. school districts said they didn’t have enough special education teachers to serve all the students who needed their help. During the pandemic, short-handed school districts were even more stretched to provide learning support to students with disabilities. Now, those students are struggling to catch up with where they should be. When then the pandemic forced schools to rapidly shift from traditional in-person teaching to virtual classes on laptops and smartphones in students’ homes, the sorts of services common in special education – additional support within a child’s classroom, and dedicated time with specialists outside the classroom – became difficult, or even impossible, to provide.
3rd Mar 2022 - The Conversation

Online tutoring effective at making up for COVID-19 learning loss

A pilot program intended to measure the results of online tutoring for K-12 students has shown promising results in helping them recover from pandemic-driven learning loss, researchers at UC San Diego announced Wednesday. Conducted in partnership with the volunteer mentorship nonprofit CovEducation, the program matched students with volunteer student tutors from research universities. According to the findings, students who got more hours of online tutoring experienced better results.
3rd Mar 2022 - KPBS


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 3rd Mar 2022

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Tech Leads the Way to Equitable Education for K–12 Students

The recent rise in educational technology has allowed K–12 students to become more connected than ever before, despite being physically farther apart. This is partially due to an increased focus on connectivity for students at school and at home, as — even at the state level — leaders are working to get learners online. Additionally, the increase in technology has broken down geographical barriers that formerly determined how students could learn. From virtual field trips to specialized classes, ed tech is taking students all over the world.
2nd Mar 2022 - EdTech Magazine

Masterclass on tackling remote learning for higher education

While the initial frenzy of switching from in-person to remote learning has subsided for higher education institutions, the process is far from over. Students and educators must continue to learn and teach as much as possible without the immediate interpersonal communication and in-person learning setting, not to mention acclimatising to the energy of a home while working. With this abrupt change from lecture halls to the online universe, some are wondering whether the acceptance of online learning will sustain post-pandemic and how such a shift will affect the global education system.
2nd Mar 2022 - The Star

How remote learning can help close the digital skills gap

John Perks, global principal architect of the NextGen professionals programme at ServiceNow, and Simon Maskrey, senior global partner manager at Salesforce for Trailhead, discuss why businesses will benefit from helping to close the digital skills gap. Both Perks and Maskrey see the benefit of readily available online content. The former notes that, at ServiceNow, “the training is somewhat traditional in that we still use a virtual classroom, but we’ve also taken those classes online to create an on-demand experience, with a combination of videos, simulators and the classic writing on screen.”Maskrey comments how the pandemic forced a change of attitude toward teaching methods. “Outside of the US, there’s been a huge degree of resistance to remote learning and virtual classrooms until about two years ago … Until then there were a lot of people who perceived that you couldn’t learn online and that, for the best premium learning, you had to be in a room with people. I think the reality is that it just isn’t true.” As a result of the lack of access to classrooms, as well as restrictions on travel, there has been a greater emphasis on remote learning.
2nd Mar 2022 - SiliconRepublic


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 2nd Mar 2022

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Ontario's first fully virtual high school hints at the future of public education

Providing students with choice on how they complete their education is a good thing, but only if necessary supports and resources are made available to ensure their success. Last week, Peel District School Board announced the creation of Peel Virtual Secondary School — an entirely online public high school available to the region’s students this coming fall. Establishing a publicly funded virtual school is a huge move for PDSB. As Ontario’s second-largest school board, it could influence other boards to follow suit.
1st Mar 2022 - Queen's Journal

The Future of Higher Education Will Be a Virtual Balancing Act

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, some pundits predicted that it might mark the entrance into a new phase of higher education: a virtual one. It would be the end of the residential college model, they said. Indeed, universities quickly pivoted to online classes in the spring of 2020. It was a grand experiment in a new mode of teaching and learning, one heavily reliant on technology. But, as Northeastern University President Joseph E. Aoun said during a recording of higher education podcast Future U. on Monday, the results emphasized the enduring importance of human interaction.
1st Mar 2022 - Northeastern University News


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 1st Mar 2022

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Los Angeles Unified to expand online learning, improve independent study

To accommodate an expected increase in the number of students in remote learning once its school vaccine mandate takes effect, the Los Angeles Unified School District is creating new online schools that will open in the fall. The schools will take the pressure off the district’s current independent study program, which was inundated with students this school year after the state’s distance learning statute expired last summer. The district’s independent study program, City of Angels, was the main option for students who didn’t return to in-person instruction in the fall. This year, it enrolled nearly 10 times the number of students it did prior to the pandemic.
28th Feb 2022 - EdSource

MSU embraces virtual learning in online grad programs

Students, parents and teachers across the world have become accustomed to online learning in the past two years, with most schools opting for virtual learning at some point during the pandemic. However, the subject has proved to be divisive throughout the country. Some have objected to the return to in-person learning amidst safety concerns with the COVID-19 pandemic. Others have protested the delay to in-person learning, citing studies that have shown the detrimental effects of virtual learning on students. In the case of Michigan State University’s Master of Science in Global Health and Graduate Certificate in Global Health programs, online learning has not been looked at as a pandemic obstacle or pandemic precaution but has been embraced as a way to allow people of all backgrounds to receive an education.
28th Feb 2022 - The State News


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 28th Feb 2022

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How the metaverse is transforming the edtech market

The metaverse has grabbed the attention of top industrial honchos, as learning through the metaverse provides a gamified learning experience and constant access to study material for students. The edtech market is one of the fastest growing of its kind. According to Future Market Insights’ recent study, revenues of the edtech market are expected to surpass $288.4Bn by the end of 2031 at a staggering 14.5% CAGR (compound annual growth rate). Top tech companies are investing in the edtech market to gain early mover advantage and promote learning through the metaverse.
27th Feb 2022 - Education Technology

The invisible children: how online learning failed special needs students

Too often, educators say, the debate on remote learning has ignored how the switch has hit hardest those children who were already struggling and whose needs make learning online particularly challenging. It is common, they point out, for any child to struggle to focus while learning from home; but for a child with ADHD (Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder) it can be near impossible; it is common for people working from home to complain about distractions, but for children with hearing impairments even modest background noise can entirely drown out what is being said on-screen. The danger, educators warn, is not only that special needs pupils are falling further behind their peers, but that many are regressing and losing hard-earned behavioural gains. As they do so, frustration mounts for both parent and child. Meltdowns become more common and isolation takes its toll, making learning even harder
27th Feb 2022 - South China Morning Post


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 25th Feb 2022

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How technology is improving student engagement at home and in the classroom

The education sector has witnessed a drastic transformation over the past two years as blended learning has become the norm. Classrooms have needed the right technology to support this, providing remote learners with an experience that replicates in person teaching as closely as possible. Needs from teachers and students have evolved, and expectations of what can be achieved with technology are higher than ever. Now, educators are looking to invest in technology that not only allows teaching and learning to continue, but technology that helps to keep students engaged in new and creative ways, regardless of where they’re working
23rd Feb 2022 - Education Technology


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 24th Feb 2022

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Ontario to require virtual learning option for next school year

The Ontario government is going to once again require school boards to offer virtual learning, as an option for students in the 2022/2023 school year. During a funding announcement press conference, Education Minister Stephen Lecce explained the virtual learning option has been seen as a strength in the school system by some parents. “There are roughly 150,000 [students] this year [who] exercised that choice. What I’ve heard from their parents and some educators who are involved in virtual learning is, [it] is a strength for that strong minority of children. So, we’re going to continue to offer it,” Minister Lecce said.
23rd Feb 2022 - The Star

25 Brilliant Preschool Virtual Learning Ideas

Distance learning is a massive struggle with pre-schoolers. Keeping their attention focused can feel like herding cats at first, but the internet is a cornucopia of resources making this daunting task more manageable. Keeping them engaged and active is difficult enough in a classroom but being connected by a screen increases the challenge tenfold. Pre-K and preschool teachers really have their hands full with distance learning but here are 25 ideas to make the virtual classroom every bit as fun and educational as hands-on learning.
23rd Feb 2022 - Teaching Expertise


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 23rd Feb 2022

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Education ministry boosts efforts to support online education as more schools adapt

In Japan, the education ministry is stepping up the establishment of online learning environments for public elementary and junior high schools as the coronavirus pandemic continues. A Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology project to provide a tablet computer to each student was completed within the 2020 school year, which ended in March 2021, three years ahead of schedule, enabling schools to adopt staggered attendance and online classes if a COVID-19 state of emergency or similar restrictions are introduced.
22nd Feb 2022 - The Japan Times


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 22nd Feb 2022

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An exploration of instructors' and students' perspectives on remote delivery of courses during the COVID‐19 pandemic

The world-wide pivot to remote learning due to the exogenous shocks of COVID-19 across educational institutions has presented unique challenges and opportunities. This study documents the lived experiences of instructors and students and recommends emerging pathways for teaching and learning strategies post-pandemic. Seventy-one instructors and 122 students completed online surveys containing closed and open-ended questions. Quantitative and qualitative analyses were conducted, including frequencies, chi-square tests, Welch Two-Samples t-tests, and thematic analyses. The results demonstrated that with effective online tools, remote learning could replicate key components of content delivery, activities, assessments, and virtual proctored exams. However, instructors and students did not want in-person learning to disappear and recommended flexibility by combining learning opportunities in in-person, online, and asynchronous course deliveries according to personal preferences.
21st Feb 2022 - BERA Journals

Triumphs and Troubles in Online Learning Abroad

When the pandemic careened across the globe in spring 2020, U.S. higher ed responded swiftly by opening online in a few weeks, a feat made possible only because privileged American secondary intuitions long ago introduced digital access in nearly every college in the nation. As campuses locked their gates out of fear of infection, most American college students rushed to their laptops to study from home. Elsewhere, not everyone was as fortunate. During the global crisis, 1.6 billion young people in 161 countries were not in college. Shockingly, without internet access, COVID-19 locked out close to 80 percent of the world’s enrolled students. Africa was hit hardest, cruelly, with 82 percent of college students in sub-Saharan Africa without internet access.
21st Feb 2022 - EdSurge


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 21st Feb 2022

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Enrollment in virtual schools is exploding. Will students stay long term?

Across the US, enrollment in charter schools, which are publicly funded and privately operated schools, increased by 7 percent — around 240,000 more students — during the 2020-2021 academic year, according to a report from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. In many states, virtual charter schools drove the outsize growth in charter school enrollment, according to the report, even as the quality of them has come under scrutiny. On top of that, state education departments, including Florida’s, experienced massive enrollment upticks in their statewide virtual schools.
20th Feb 2022 - The Washington Post

The Art of Remote Learning: How One Virtual School Recreated Traditional Class

When the COVID-19 pandemic halted in-person learning in March 2020, interest in virtual schools skyrocketed. One of two virtual schools in the state, Iowa Virtual Academy opened in 2012 with 61 students, and as of the end of last school year served about 540 students, said Steve Hoff, principal of Iowa Virtual Academy. For some students who were struggling academically in-person, virtual can help them tailor their own learning environment. For other students struggling with illnesses or who are in the hospital, virtual school helps them stay afloat academically. Sometimes students want a quicker academic pace so they can graduate earlier.
20th Feb 2022 - Yahoo News

For some children, online learning had unexpected benefits

Many students and parents complained about the hardship of learning at home, from technological glitches to little ones dissolving into tears having to stare at a screen all day. But some students thrived. For them, learning online carried unexpected benefits. This was especially true for children who had felt excluded or uncomfortable in their schools prior to the pandemic – those who had experienced racism or bullying in their classrooms, or have anxiety or learning disabilities. Experts say all of this raises deeper questions about how public education can adapt to meet the needs of students.
20th Feb 2022 - The Globe and Mail


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 18th Feb 2022

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Ontario school boards required to offer remote learning option for 2022-2023

Ontario will require school boards to offer virtual learning as an option for one more school year. Government officials say they are making investments to make schools safe for in-person learning, but given the evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, they want to offer parents one more year of choice. The province is announcing its funding amounts for the next school year today, including $26.1 billion to school boards amounting to $13,059 per student, an increase from the previous year.
17th Feb 2022 - Global News


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 17th Feb 2022

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Report Demonstrates How Virtual Communities Can Foster Belonging in Online Learning Settings

The College Innovation Network has published the results of a study that illuminates the importance of fostering belonging among online students, and demonstrates how intentional design of virtual spaces can enable impactful peer connections. Previous research has shown the benefits of improving belonging for college students. For example, underrepresented and underserved student populations at a broad-access university who took part in a belonging intervention had greater academic persistence over two years as a result of increased belonging.
16th Feb 2022 - Yahoo Finance

Access to tech key to pupils levels of remote learning engagement – study

Irish primary school children were more engaged with remote schooling during the first Covid-19 lockdown if they had access to adequate digital technologies as well as help from parents and teachers. This is according to the first nationwide study in Ireland investigating primary school children’s experiences of remote schooling, which was led by Dr Yekaterina Chzhen, assistant professor at the Trinity College Dublin Department of Sociology. The first Covid-19 lockdown in spring 2020 resulted in the greatest disruption to children’s schooling in generations in Ireland and was a time of rapid and unexpected transition from in-person to distance learning. Schools in Ireland were closed for 141 days, which was one of the longest school closures across rich countries at the time.
16th Feb 2022 - TechCentral.ie


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 16th Feb 2022

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Clear Goals and Engaging Hosts: How to Create Powerful Virtual Learning Experiences

Virtual learning experiences present some excellent aspects that in-person sessions may struggle to offer. To reach their full potential, however, online sessions require a mixture of strategies and techniques. This is why people designing and developing learning events should be equipped with the knowledge, skills, and technology competencies to create engaging virtual sessions. In this respect, the article will explore some of the best practices to help you tailor a virtual learning experience that your attendees will truly appreciate.
15th Feb 2022 - fenews.co.uk

Top tips for establishing close relationships with students online

As anyone who has spent time teaching at any level will tell you, forming a close relationship with students is a crucial aspect of education – whether that’s in the classroom or in an online environment. The quality of the crucial relationship between teachers and students is a true learning booster for students and can become a source of well-being for teachers, too – after all, emotional exhaustion is reduced when close relationships develop. So with this in mind, how can a teacher forge and maintain close relationships in the classroom that foster commitment and learning? Here are some ideas for teachers to consider for establishing meaningful connections with students.
15th Feb 2022 - Times Higher Education (THE)

How Online Learning Is Reshaping Higher Education

“When the pandemic hit, it was a provocation, as well as a demand for innovation,” said Caroline Levander, the vice president for global and digital strategy at Rice University in Houston, during a recent webinar on the future of online learning hosted by U.S. News & World Report. While the changes were challenging for many, faculty members at Rice and elsewhere embraced the new opportunities that online learning offered. Levander shared an example of a Rice physics professor, Jason Hafner, who capitalized on the virtual environment to find compelling new ways to teach concepts to students.
15th Feb 2022 - U.S. News & World Report


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 15th Feb 2022

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Online learning for the underprivileged: Simple steps towards a brighter future

The pandemic has changed the world of education dramatically in India. The closure of schools and switch to hybrid model of learning have laid bare the existing digital divide. Underprivileged children, who don’t have access to basic resources of online learning are now challenged by the perils of the pandemic and they deserve maximum attention. Transforming community centres or developing educational centres as smart classes for communities with internet facility, digital screens, phones and computers can solve the problem of unavailability of resources and provide better access to education.
14th Feb 2022 - The CSR Journal

Less than one in three students rate their online education as good – study

Less than one in three students in full-time education rated their online education experience during the pandemic as excellent or good, a survey has found. More than six in 10 people in part-time education rated their online education experience during the pandemic as excellent or good. The figures were revealed after the Central Statistics Office (CSO) published its analysis of remote learning from the Our Lives Online pulse survey. The report includes insights into online education experienced during the Covid-19 pandemic as well as analysis on future online learning opportunities.
14th Feb 2022 - The Independent


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 14th Feb 2022

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Will Covid-19 bring edtech closer to overcoming challenges of virtual schools, colleges? Here's what experts have to say

Educational technology (EdTech) entities have been operating since the emergence of niche technologies. The EdTech sector witnessed exponential growth following the disruption due to the Covid 19 pandemic. India-based data confirms that the EdTech revolution is not going to subside anytime soon. It is an ongoing process with newer and better developments in the pipeline. The lack of a proper tool to operationalise the virtual classroom is the primary challenge in online education. Most institutions are just relying on video conferencing tools and messaging applications to run the classes.
13th Feb 2022 - India Today

Let's not allow tradition to stifle innovation in higher education

Britain’s higher education sector could miss a major opportunity to cement its reputation as a world leader if innovative online learning measures introduced during the pandemic are phased out to accommodate calls to return to a fully face-to-face university experience. While leading universities across the globe use online tools to enhance their offerings and create a world-class educational experience for their students, there’s an embedded school of thought in the UK (and elsewhere) that online learning is of inherently poorer quality or provides a poorer experience. As a nation with ambitions to be digitally driven, we should realise that this couldn’t be further from the truth. If we want our students to really thrive and get the best value for money for their education, shouldn’t technology play a part?
13th Feb 2022 - Times Higher Education (THE)


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 11th Feb 2022

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Four Tips To Increase Student Engagement In Hybrid Learning

One of the most common complaints from teachers and parents is that it is difficult to engage with students remotely. Educators constantly worry that students’ attention will wander, and they may slack off during school hours. Therefore, it is important that the education experience is the same for all students regardless of their location, whether they are learning from the classroom or attending the lessons remotely. Here are four tips on how educational institutes can get the most out of their hybrid education setup
10th Feb 2022 - BWEducation

How to work with Forage to implement virtual internships

In January 2020, the University of Westminster embarked on a new work-based and placement learning (WBPL) project with the aim of embedding employability across all undergraduate courses. The aim is to enable all undergraduates to gain valuable employability skills that will help them prepare for a competitive job market. With the onset of Covid-19, we needed to find quick and innovative ways to be able to move WBPL online so our students could gain these vital employability skills.
10th Feb 2022 - Times Higher Education (THE)


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 10th Feb 2022

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Malaysian student gives free gamification workshops to enliven virtual lessons

Like other schoolgoing children, teenager Sheldon Chong has been attending online classes throughout the pandemic and finds it mainly one-dimensional, without much interaction and engagement. So to make elearning more enjoyable, Chong decided to offer gamification workshops so that teachers and students can create games for virtual lessons. Gamification in education applies game elements to a learning environment. Chong, an award-winning game developer and digital illustrator, will be holding two 90-minute online workshops entitled, Create A Virtual 2D Game (for students) (Feb 10, 8.30pm) and Create A Gamified Virtual Classroom (for educators) (Feb 11, 8.30pm) for free.
9th Feb 2022 - The Star Online

15 Ways to Engage Your Students In-person, Online, and in Zoom

Marti Snyder, PhD, PMP, SPHR shares 15 strategies he uses most often in various formats - in-person, hybrid, and online - to engage students. Many of these strategies overlap and can be used regardless of delivery mode.
9th Feb 2022 - Faculty Focus

Cornish language has new learners after pandemic moves courses online

A rise in learning apps and online classes as well as a project in schools is behind an increase in the number of people learning the Cornish language. Pre-pandemic there were no apps or online courses for the language that had died out in the 18th Century. Now there are several apps including European Union funded Indylan - recently launched by Cornwall Council. Cornish language teachers said online courses had enabled a "huge rise" in demand.
9th Feb 2022 - BBC News


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 9th Feb 2022

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TCEA 2022: Online Learning Success Starts with a Strong Foundation

Teachers have come a long way since March 2020, when many were thrown unprepared into the remote learning world. But instructional technology consultant and author Lindy Hockenbary says there’s still a lot more teachers can learn about online learning success. At this year’s in-person TCEA 2022 conference in Dallas, the A Teacher’s Guide to Online Learning author used her session, titled “The Recipe for K–12 Online Learning Success,” to share with teachers, instructional technologists and other educators how to cook up a satisfying online learning experience.
8th Feb 2022 - EdTech Magazine

School's Out: Mental Health and Virtual Learning

It has been nearly two years since the coronavirus disease was declared a pandemic. Social distancing measures have led to school closures in many countries around the world, and repeated follow-up measures have led to a large degree of inconsistency in the delivery of education for many children. In the Americas alone, schools remained closed for more than 41 weeks. One year into the pandemic, nearly 50% of students worldwide were still facing partial or complete closures of school. Although many students were able to navigate these circumstances with and even saw an improvement in their mental health status, a significant number were unable to do so.
8th Feb 2022 - Medscape


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 8th Feb 2022

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UK parliament launches online SEND sessions

Set to launch in April 2022, the UK Parliament Education and Engagement team have announced a new free online SEND workshop aimed at young learners aged 7-25. The workshop will involve sensory-based digital sessions. During the online class, students will use their senses to explore Parliament, find out who works there, and explore what they do. A poem will form the basis of the workshop, which will guide the students using rhyme, repetition and actions around the building.
7th Feb 2022 - Education Technology

President Speaks: Stop asking whether online learning is 'worth it.' Start focusing on how it helps working adults.

Don Kilburn is the CEO of UMass Online, the online arm of the University of Massachusetts.He writes: "I hope we are, particularly in light of recent events, well past the stage where the value of online learning as a modality is in any doubt. Yes, there can be a stupefying spectrum of quality of online learning programs, ranging from the shoddy to the world class, but that same spectrum applies to face-to-face learning. Rather than engaging in a conversation about whether online learning is "worth it," we need a more evolved debate that examines the nuances of strong online programs and how we can make them work better for today's students, particularly those already in the workforce."
7th Feb 2022 - Higher Ed Dive

‘Pupils feel attendance doesn’t matter following lockdown online learning’

In England, pupils feel they do not need to be in school because of the remote learning provided during national lockdowns, which is driving poor attendance, the education watchdog has found. In a report published on Monday, Ofsted said that, in secondary schools in particular, “it appears that the provision of remote education during national lockdowns has negatively affected some pupils’ perceptions of the need to be in school”. Some parents also expect that online learning will be provided for their children if they go on holiday during term time, Ofsted found.
7th Feb 2022 - The Independent


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 7th Feb 2022

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Ottawa's public school board will offer virtual classes in the fall

Ottawa's public school board will offer virtual learning for a third straight school year in the fall. The Ottawa Carleton District School Board says it will offer in-person learning, along with the "Ottawa-Carleton Virtual School" for the 2022-23 school year. The virtual learning community is made up of Kindergarten to Grade 12 students across the board, engaged in 300 minutes of remote classes each day.
6th Feb 2022 - CTV Edmonton

Gamification in virtual education

Living in a world with technological advances that are difficult to keep up with has seemingly created a rift between old school and new school - making for an interesting discussion around the impact it has on the education sector, globally, and in South Africa. With so much opportunity for online learning available today, and the various platforms offering a vast variety of virtual learning content, it is impossible to look past the impact of online gaming.
4th Feb 2022 - Bizcommunity


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 4th Feb 2022

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We need to move beyond the synchronous versus asynchronous debate

The pandemic’s push to experiment with online materials has brought to the fore the possibility of replacing traditional educational models with ones enhanced by technology. On the supply side, rather than watching a video of your professor give an introductory lecture on a topic, there are now world-class faculty offering such videos for free. No university expects to produce all of its own textbooks – might we one day think the same of lectures? On the demand side, computerised adaptive learning and testing offers more personalised educational models.
3rd Feb 2022 - Times Higher Education (THE)

Covid-19: Universities move to online learning for semester 1 as Omicron looms

Auckland University is moving most of its teaching online until the mid-semester break due to the threat of Omicron. The university’s executive committee announced the decision on Thursday, saying it wanted to give students and staff clarity and predictability. The decision comes shortly after the university decided to move exams online for 2022, regardless of Covid-19 traffic light settings.
3rd Feb 2022 - Stuff.co.nz

Westminster has 'no remit' for UK-wide online academy

The Welsh and Scottish governments have hit out at UK government plans for a national online academy offering "the best lessons" from "the very best teachers". They say Westminster has "no remit" to establish a UK-wide academy, that they have not been consulted and that the existence of separate education systems in Scotland and Wales has not been taken into account. Meanwhile, edtech industry leaders have questioned whether the UK government has evidence that there is headteacher demand for the "new digital education service". The plans for the free online resource were contained in the Levelling Up White Paper
3rd Feb 2022 - TES News


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 3rd Feb 2022

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Online learning provider looks to boost academic programmes with new senior appointment

Cardiff based postgraduate online medical learning provider, Learna, has appointed a new Head of Programme Development and Innovation. Helen Davies joins the firm from BMJ (British Medical Journal), where she was Head of Online Learning and Assessment and has over twenty years experience working in the online medical education sector.
2nd Feb 2022 - FE News

Children acted out more during distance learning, parents say, deepening learning loss

One recent Harvard study of roughly 400 families suggests that children’s behavior worsened during Zoom school. Children were often more prone to misbehave or become aggressive or withdrawn during remote learning, according to parents surveyed as part of the broader Early Learning Study at Harvard. “By following individual children over time, we found that their behavioral health was worse while they were in remote learning as compared to when they were in in-person or hybrid learning,” said Stephanie Jones, Harvard researcher and co-director of the Saul Zaentz Early Education Initiative.
2nd Feb 2022 - EdSource


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 2nd Feb 2022

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‘Remote Learning’ Takes on New Meaning in Virtual Reality

As the pandemic continues to disrupt academia, some teachers are turning to alternative ways to keep students engaged. At the University of Connecticut, Tina Trinh visited one class held partly in virtual reality.
1st Feb 2022 - Voice of America

Unmasking the scientist: breaking down anonymity to build relationships when teaching online

During online teaching sessions, many staff prefer not to ask students to turn on their cameras, so as to acknowledge and respect their right to privacy and recognise the fact that many may be working in a space never intended to be a learning environment. In many sessions students are encouraged to use their cameras and microphones if they wish, but it should not be required and typically few students choose to show their faces. So, while students become familiar with the faces of staff, the students themselves remain an anonymous cohort to their lecturers. There are ways to improve on this
1st Feb 2022 - Times Higher Education (THE)


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 1st Feb 2022

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New Glasgow 'virtual school' for kids who can't make it to the classroom

A new school has been launched in Glasgow for children who can’t attend lessons in person. ‘Glasgow’s virtual school’ teaches pupils who are unable to go to class, including vulnerable kids, patients in hospital, children in care and those struggling with mental health problems. With 25 staff the virtual school works with hundreds of children annually - supporting their education and health and well-being.
31st Jan 2022 - Glasgow Live

Does virtual learning achieve fairer outcomes for students?

The growth of digital education and the rising numbers of online schools across the UK has certainly made learning more accessible and more personalised for students today. Gone are the days when being home schooled meant learning in isolation. Children can now learn virtually with peers and via live lessons. They can socialise both virtually and in-person during meetups. They can attend school assemblies, events and after school clubs. Most importantly, they access the entire GCSE and A-level syllabus, all from the comfort of their home and from anywhere in the world. Exposure to digital learning also means students can learn at their own pace, obtain ‘in the moment’ feedback and take more responsibility for their overall education. The question is, does online learning lead to fairer outcomes for all pupils?
31st Jan 2022 - Independent Education Today


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 31st Jan 2022

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Can Online Tutoring Help Schools Dig Out of Pandemic Learning Hole?

Tutoring is the top-billed remedy to help students make up for disrupted learning. States and districts are spending millions in federal funds to pay for it. But can it work online when so many other efforts to move instruction online have fallen short?A new study from a team of researchers is the very first to test the hypothesis using a randomized experiment. And the results, while far from a silver bullet, show some promise and suggest some lessons for other online tutoring efforts.
29th Jan 2022 - Education Week

Eight Russell Group universities won't pull plug on virtual learning

In England, many students at elite universities are still learning remotely despite ministers' pleas for face-to-face tuition. Of the 24 universities in the Russell Group, eight have kept at least a portion online even though Government Covid restrictions have been lifted. Only six said they could guarantee all teaching would be in-person, while the rest would not confirm either way. Some are keeping large lectures remote while holding smaller sessions in person.
29th Jan 2022 - msn.co.uk


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 28th Jan 2022

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Parents Protest End of Virtual Learning Option for K-6 Students in Prince George's

The virtual learning option for Prince George’s County Public Schools students in kindergarten through sixth grade is coming to an end Friday, but many parents are not OK with the return to in-person learning and held a demonstration in protest. About 12,000 K-6 students enrolled in the virtual education program at the beginning of the school year.
27th Jan 2022 - NBC4 Washington

These 3 charts show the global growth in online learning

The number of students accessing its online courses now exceeds pre-pandemic levels, a leading global online learning platform reports. Following the COVID-19-induced shift to remote working, people are increasingly looking to digital learning to develop the skills to navigate today’s constantly evolving world of work.
27th Jan 2022 - WEForum


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 27th Jan 2022

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Six Ways to Build Instructional Immediacy During Online Learning

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way college students and instructors relate. Thanks in large part to how instructional technicians have elevated their support in the growing online environment, online and hybrid instruction are now a permanent part of higher education. This means that teaching styles must change accordingly. In the traditional classroom, educators know immediacy is crucial for engaged learning. The author details six ways to build instructional immediacy
26th Jan 2022 - EdTech Magazine

Using action learning to improve interdisciplinary online teaching

Online technology makes it easier for instructors from different disciplines to jointly teach students. This enables students to investigate complex issues from multiple perspectives. However, when teachers of various fields come together, they face a new challenge: how can they collaborate effectively to teach an interdisciplinary course? Despite ample helpful resources of best practice for delivering online teaching, there isn’t one golden rule to fit all. Action learning (AL) – a practical and flexible problem-solving method – deploys the art of asking questions to locate core matters in an authentic and contextual issue before offering a solution.
26th Jan 2022 - Times Higher Education


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 26th Jan 2022

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Johns Hopkins experts offer suggestions to address challenges of online learning for children with cancer

Thousands of schools transitioned to online learning in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, during which time many children with cancer and other chronic health needs, as well as those with special education needs, faced significant challenges to learning online. An opinion paper by Johns Hopkins experts, published Jan. 4 in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, highlights some of the issues faced by families and offers suggestions to move forward.
25th Jan 2022 - News-Medical.Net

DC Students Stage Walkout For Safer Learning Under COVID-19

D.C. public school students walked out of schools Tuesday afternoon as part of a campaign to get the city’s school system to create safer learning conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the students’ demands are a virtual learning option for all students, safer meal times, deep cleanings of schools, and better COVID-19 data reporting.
25th Jan 2022 - msn.com


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 25th Jan 2022

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What Is the Flipped Classroom Approach in K–12?

Armed with more educational technology and the professional development to meaningfully use it, more educators in K–12 are considering the flipped-classroom approach. At the onset of the pandemic, schools found ways to make virtual learning work. They rolled out one-to-one device programs and made investments in educational technology. Educators learned to use new tools and found new ways of bringing content to students. With the technology barrier broken down, some educators took the opportunity to shift their methodology to a flipped-classroom approach. Others, who already employed this model, found that it made the transition to and from remote learning easier on students
24th Jan 2022 - EdTech Magazine

What Have We Learned About Remote Learning?

A child clinical neuropsychologist interviewed more than 50 students with attention, learning, and social-emotional difficulties about their experiences with remote learning during the pandemic. These interviews provided an anecdotal glimpse into strategies that worked and those that contributed to some of the dismal results in the spring of 2020.
24th Jan 2022 - Psychology Today


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 24th Jan 2022

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How teachers in training are learning to make remote school work

Teachers in training are learning how to work differently, now that it looks like remote classrooms will be sticking around for a while. COVID-19 has forced people in many fields to adopt new technology. Tess Miller, the interim dean at UPEI's faculty of education, says the next generation of teachers needs to have the skills to be effective both in the classroom and online. And those learning to be teachers now — remotely learning, themselves — will benefit from the experience in the future.
23rd Jan 2022 - CBC.ca


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 21st Jan 2022

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Flint schools extends virtual learning period indefinitely

Flint students will remain at home indefinitely starting next week, as the school district today announced that it will not be returning to the classroom on Jan. 24. The decision to continue virtual learning comes from Superintendent Kevelin Jones, who made the call to go virtual to begin the new year after winter break. “While this decision was not made easily, it is necessary for the greater health of our community,” Jones wrote in a statement to parents. “To lower the transmission number, and to keep it low, we must actively continue distance learning until further notice,” Jones said.
20th Jan 2022 - MLive

How to fund 3 must-have classroom tech tools

Classroom technology is essential, and nothing made that more obvious than the COVID-19 pandemic that forced learning to go virtual and hybrid. Technology upgrades help make students feel included and achieve their full potential. But funding for classroom tech tools is always a challenge. Funding challenges aren’t impossible to solve, however. Join a panel of experts who, during this eSchool News webinar, will explore the most relevant technologies to help you upgrade your district’s classrooms and enhance learning for all students.
20th Jan 2022 - eSchool News


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 20th Jan 2022

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More than 1,200 Oakland students pledge to stay home unless schools improve Covid safety

More than 1,200 students in Oakland, California, have signed a petition saying they would stay home this week unless school administrators provide additional Covid protections, including more N95 masks, weekly testing and better social distancing – or a shift to virtual learning. On Tuesday, three district campuses were closed because students and teachers, in solidarity, stayed home. The protest comes as schools across the country have struggled with the latest, Omicron-fueled wave of the coronavirus pandemic. In recent weeks, students in New York City, New Jersey, Chicago, Washington DC and elsewhere have launched protests and petitions as well, demanding improved safety measures. Districts, meanwhile, have faced immense pressures from parents and politicians to keep school campuses open as the US enters its third year of the pandemic.
19th Jan 2022 - The Guardian

Mt. Pleasant schools continues to provide meals during virtual learning

Though school cafeterias throughout Mt. Pleasant Public Schools (MPPS) may be quiet while students are home for virtual learning, the district continues to provide breakfast and lunch to students and local children at no cost. MPPS schools went virtual on Thursday, Jan.13 in response to elevated COVID-19 cases in the district. In-person classes are scheduled to resume on Monday, Jan. 31.“Providing our children with healthy, nutritious meals is one of the many ways we support their growth and development, and we’re happy to continue offering these meal choices at no charge while students are home for virtual learning,” Superintendent Jennifer Verleger said.
19th Jan 2022 - The Morning Sun


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 19th Jan 2022

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Is Virtual Reality a Good Fit for Your Blended Learning Curriculum?

Blended learning models are shaping the future of education, but how can technology best serve teachers and students in achieving their goals? Ruth Hill, Head of Learning Design at Bodyswaps, looks at four common challenges that ed-tech could help educational institutions to address in 2022 and asks – is virtual reality the right tool for the job?
18th Jan 2022 - FE News

COVID-19: Two Saskatoon public schools moving to remote learning

The Saskatoon Public Schools (SPS) has made the decision to temporarily move Centennial Collegiate and John Dolan School to remote learning. This comes after consultation with the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA). The SPS announced that starting on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022, all classes at Centennial Collegiate will move to online learning and all extracurricular activities will be paused until in-person learning resumes
17th Jan 2022 - Global News


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 18th Jan 2022

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9 social-emotional learning strategies to use in the new year

Following the 2020-2021 school year, educators can look back with pride–and exhaustion–on all we have learned. We have learned to teach in brand new modalities like remote and hybrid learning, foster more student independence, and adapt instruction to a huge variety of learning needs. But one of the most important lessons to come from this pandemic year is a greater focus on the importance of social-emotional learning. Throughout this school year, educators, coaches, and school leaders have engaged in virtual professional development and one-on-one coaching sessions to hone their social-emotional learning skills and knowledge to meet the needs of all learners.
17th Jan 2022 - eSchool News

NYC Education Department Quietly Opens Door For Teachers To Allow More Remote Learning

The New York City Department of Education has updated its attendance policy to give educators discretion on allowing students to learn remotely during the current COVID surge, and to count those students as present for attendance purposes — a possible sign of movement towards a remote option for all students. The policy update appeared online Friday afternoon without any formal announcement, a day after Mayor Eric Adams acknowledged the school system is considering a remote option.
14th Jan 2022 - Gothamist

Pivoting to Remote Learning: Why It Is Harder in Some States Than Others

When it comes to the question of who gets to call the shots on a switch back to remote instruction, states have wildly different answers, an Education Week analysis found. Education Week contacted every state education office to determine how states are handling district decisions about transitioning to remote learning. Forty-six states responded. In at least five states, virtual learning days are highly restricted, due to state regulations. Districts have limited flexibility to transition to full-time remote instruction in at least 10 other states. More than half of states let districts decide on their own.
14th Jan 2022 - EdWeek


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 17th Jan 2022

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Chicago students protest for virtual learning, COVID-19 stipends

Students in Chicago participated in a walkout on Friday, demonstrating over a lack of adequate safety measures and resources amid the COVID-19 pandemic, just days after the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) agreed to reopen schools again. Students demanded laptops for virtual learning, including students in discussions over plans regarding COVID-19 safety, adequate quantities of cleaning supplies and better social distancing, among other concerns
16th Jan 2022 - The Hill

Students Walk Out Over Covid in New York, Michigan, Oakland, Boston

In the US, teachers’ unions and local governments are in a tug-of-war over remote learning policies, but little attention has been given to students’ preferences, instead putting youth in the middle. Recent days have seen a resurgence of student organizing in response, specifically to accommodate online learning amidst the omicron variant and spiking COVID spread. William Hu, a senior at Boston Latin School, launched a petition on January 4 to push Governor Charlie Baker, who has been resistant to remote schooling despite the rise of the omicron variant, to permit online school as an option. Hu’s petition is approaching 5,800 signatures as of this writing.
12th Jan 2022 - Teen Vogue


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 14th Jan 2022

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Creating an engaged digital learning space: Not just a pandemic necessity

Educators can do more to support online students in the post-pandemic hybrid learning climate, says chief operating officer at ViewSonic Bonny Cheng: "Given the often ad hoc nature of hybrid learning during the pandemic, some might have the impression that hybrid learning is a second-best option compared to in-person learning. Modern digital learning tools, when properly implemented, can bridge the gap between in-class and remote learning. This new approach to education will also open up new opportunities to teach more broadly."
13th Jan 2022 - Education Technology

Omicron Continues To ‘Significantly Impact’ In-Person Learning As 2 More Philly Schools Go Virtual To Bring Total Over 100

The number of Philadelphia schools switching to virtual learning this week is now over 100. Two more schools have joined the growing list because of the COVID-19 surge brought upon by the omicron variant. Right now, a total of 101 schools are virtual.
13th Jan 2022 - MSN.com


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 13th Jan 2022

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What will 2022 hold for the education and edtech sector?

Rahim Hirji, UK Country Manager of leading online learning platform, Quizlet offers insights and comment on the education landscape for 2022: "Whilst we have seen many students spending more time in the classroom in 2021 than in 2020, some universities are continuing to offer lectures and seminars online, following huge investments in blended learning tools – something we will see becoming the norm in education across all sectors going forward. Being thrown in at the deep end in terms of online learning was a challenge, but it also helped to demystify the medium for those that were unfamiliar with it."
12th Jan 2022 - FE News

Studies Find Virtual Learning Grows During COVID, Providing Safe and Flexible Options for Families and At-Risk Students

Virtual learning in K-12 education continues to grow due to the health threat caused by coronavirus variants and the assistance this learning model can provide to at-risk students, according to two papers released by Pioneer Institute. Though the two factors are distinctly different, their impact is the same, as more families have been prompted to explore the possibilities of digital learning. They have discovered that expert virtual learning differs from what many parents and students experienced after schools unexpectedly shut down in March of 2020. Others have seen how the use of technology can address the unique needs of certain children and high schoolers
12th Jan 2022 - Yahoo Finance


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 12th Jan 2022

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Rise in pupils and teachers using online lessons through virtual school

In England, a Government-backed virtual school has seen a rise in pupils using online lessons this term as the Omicron variant threatens disruption to education. Oak National Academy, which provides free learning resources and online lessons, said its weekly user figure last week was 340,000 – the highest level since schools returned from closures in March 2021. The weekly user figure was only 166,000 for the week starting on December 13, the academy said. The virtual school, which began in April 2020, expects the numbers to grow as schools try to keep children learning despite Covid-related absences.
11th Jan 2022 - MSN.com

Opinion: Online education can be a great way for children to learn if we do it right

Suzanne Chisholm is vice-principal at SIDES, a public online school in Victoria. She has taught elementary students in both classrooms and online. She writes: "Online learning can be an excellent option for many students, and for some students it’s the best option. However, it must be done properly, and it usually works better when it is a choice." "Purposefully designed online education delivered by trained and skilled teachers plays a crucial role in our modern education system, and provides a vital alternative for many students and families, pandemic or not. The programs we offer at our school serve a diversity of learners, many of them among the most vulnerable in society. Families tell us how glad they are that we exist. Some parents say our school has been a lifeline for their child. Online learning is anything but cruel and harmful for these students."
11th Jan 2022 - The Globe and Mail


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 11th Jan 2022

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Durham University moves to calm fears on online learning method

Durham University has moved to calm concerns about offering online learning on its campus this term, despite ministers calling on educational institutions in the UK for a return to face-to-face teaching. The university, which has previously turned to online methods earlier in the pandemic, announced that it would be starting the new term in a virtual capacity, due to the rising number of Omicron cases within County Durham and the wider North East.
10th Jan 2022 - The Northern Echo

New Brunswick parents raise concerns over another return to online learning

New Brunswick students are preparing for a return to some at-home learning for the third calendar year in a row beginning on Tuesday. The move comes amid an Omicron-fuelled surge in COVID-19 cases and as schools in most provinces and territories also delay a return to the classroom. Students in New Brunswick will stay at home for a least two weeks and then the situation will be reassessed weekly. Restrictions on school sports and extracurricular activities will also remain in place.
10th Jan 2022 - CBC.ca


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 10th Jan 2022

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As omicron continues to surge, families despair over return to remote learning

The vast majority of U.S. districts appear to be returning to in-person learning, but other large school systems including those in Newark, New Jersey, Milwaukee and Cleveland have gone back to remote learning as infections soar and sideline staff members. Dozens of smaller districts have followed, including many around Detroit, Chicago and Washington. The disruptions also raise alarms about risks to students. Long stretches of remote learning over the last two years have taken a toll, leaving many kids with academic and mental health setbacks that experts are still trying to understand.
9th Jan 2022 - PBS NewsHour


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 7th Jan 2022

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Schools sticking with in-person learning scramble for subs

Principals, superintendents and counselors are filling in as substitutes in classrooms as the surge in coronavirus infections further strains schools that already had been struggling with staffing shortages. In Cincinnati, dozens of employees from the central office were dispatched this week to schools that were at risk of having to close because of low staffing. The superintendent of Boston schools, Brenda Cassellius, tweeted she was filling in for a fifth grade teacher. San Francisco’s superintendent, Vince Matthews, has called on all employees with teaching credentials to take a class.
6th Jan 2022 - The Associated Press

Parents in 'limbo' as schools close, return to virtual learning amid COVID-19 surge

As schools returned from winter break this week amid skyrocketing COVID-19 cases, more did so virtually than at any point so far this school year. This week, there have been over 4,500 temporary school closures across the country. The prospect of a return to virtual learning, on a short- or long-term basis has some parents around the country concerned about the challenges of remote education and unpredictable childcare after great lengths were taken to keep kids in the classroom. By the same token, advocates say some parents feel the opposite, applauding the move temporarily to keep schools open in the long run. Others say they would like to return to virtual learning for safety reasons, but simply don't have the option.
6th Jan 2022 - ABC news


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 6th Jan 2022

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10 school classrooms go virtual as Covid cases rise in East Lothian

More than 10 classes at schools across East Lothian were learning from home on Wednesday. Schools opened their doors following the festive break but staff shortages, due to Covid-19, meant some classrooms were empty.
5th Jan 2022 - East Lothian Courier

Schools shift to virtual learning in Ontario amid surge in COVID-19 cases

Students across Ontario logged on to virtual classrooms as a new school term began on Wednesday, triggering renewed frustration for some families who said their children have a tough time with remote learning. Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation president Karen Littlewood said teachers are feeling a “slight sense of relief” that the return to in-person learning has been delayed since many of the safety measures called for are not currently in place. But she said educators are frustrated at having to revert to online schooling once more.
5th Jan 2022 - The Star

Chicago cancels classes after union backs remote learning

Leaders of Chicago Public Schools canceled classes Wednesday after the teachers union voted to switch to remote learning due to the surge in COVID-19 cases, the latest development in an escalating battle over pandemic safety protocols in the nation’s third-largest school district. Chicago has rejected a districtwide return to remote instruction, saying it was disastrous for children’s learning and mental health. But the union argued the district’s safety protocols are lacking and both teachers and students are vulnerable.
5th Jan 2022 - Associated Press


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 5th Jan 2022

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‘It’s really disappointing’: Ontario parents, teachers brace for virtual learning

Students, parents and teachers in Ontario are bracing for another stint of virtual education after the province announced Monday that schools would not reopen to in-person classes for at least two weeks due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases. Premier Doug Ford announced the shift to remote learning less than a week after his government insisted in-person classes would resume after only a two-day delay.
4th Jan 2022 - Global News


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 4th Jan 2022

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The Bright Side of the Virtual Classroom

Wendy Lustbader M.S.W. writes about her experience of virtual teaching: "Now I have to re-think the ways my teaching has been augmented on the screen. I didn’t know that certain advantages would take hold of me as a teacher or expand the options students had for being heard and seen. To my surprise, there were times when it felt like we had been together in a real room. When we are in-person again, I hope to make actual some of these discoveries from the virtual classroom – or at least the spirit of them."
3rd Jan 2022 - Psychology Today

Simulated and classroom culture in higher education

Educational institutions have adopted virtual learning across the world. For higher educational institutions, senior management has taken up the responsibility to supervise and monitor the effectiveness of virtual learning towards achieving strategic goals. The whole onus is on the course instructor to design the contents and delivery of the course in such a way as to promote self-learning and better engagement in the class. Effective knowledge starts with learner’s engagement. Hence, students’ engagement has emerged as a fundamental subject in Higher Education in the recent past. In turn, it has become a pervasive indicator for measuring the education quality of institutions.
3rd Jan 2022 - EurekAlert

COVID-19: New Brunswick students preparing to move to online learning for 2 weeks

New Brunswick students are preparing to move to online learning for at least two weeks, as COVID-19 cases continue to surge in the province. Education Minister Dominic Cardy made the announcement on Friday. Originally, students were to return to the classroom on Jan. 10, but with rising COVID-19 case counts and Omicron being highly transmissible, the ministry changed course.
3rd Jan 2022 - Globalnews.ca


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

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Newfoundland and Labrador schools switch to online learning as COVID-19 cases surge

Public school students in Newfoundland and Labrador will return from the holiday break to remote learning starting Monday, as the province, like the rest of the Atlantic region, battles a surge in COVID-19 cases. Premier Andrew Furey announced the change on Wednesday, one day after Nova Scotia extended the holiday break for students in that province by one week in order to slow the spread of the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus.
29th Dec 2021 - Toronto Star


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

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Why Mission — Not Money — Will Lead Colleges to Truly Innovative Online Learning

During the past decade, online education has been driven by enrollments, especially out-of-state enrollments. Online courses have been developed as cash cows for years, by many of the institutions that have them at all. Not only is this approach pedagogically bankrupt, but it hasn’t worked. In-house course design and fiscal responsibility alone, though, will not be enough to create really robust online programs. We also need innovation and creativity. We need to expand beyond the primarily self-paced and asynchronous approach we have already tried.
28th Dec 2021 - EdSurge

Indigenous learners face more challenges with virtual learning, says report

A report about the impacts of remote learning on children includes a section specific to Indigenous youth, including perspectives from a Nipissing First Nation educator. The Information and Communications Technology Council published 'Uncharted Waters: A World-class Canadian E-learning Paradigm,' which explores virtual learning in Canada and the ways in which it may be useful beyond a COVID-19 context. The report said just 17 per cent of on-reserve households in Ontario have access to high-speed internet. Attendance rates have long been a challenge at First Nation schools, and absenteeism rates grew during the first shift to online school. Also a problem is that some parts of the curriculum, such as traditional knowledge sharing from elders, cannot take place online, either due to technological barriers or the belief that sacred knowledge should only be shared orally.
28th Dec 2021 - CBC.ca


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

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Edtech should work to replicate universities' social experience

As universities moved online during the pandemic, an emerging challenge is to replicate the real-world social experiences of universities in an online environment. While many social media giants have brought social interaction online, they have been geared towards the general public, and therefore are not built for the specific needs of students. There is an opportunity for purpose-built technology to provide solutions that are specifically designed to create an academic community. Edtech innovators should be looking at physical campuses and identifying which features can be replicated online.
22nd Dec 2021 - Education Technology

Get set for the return of virtual learning, warn teaching unions

Some schools in Kent are already preparing for the prospect of a return to virtual lessons after the New Year, despite the government’s insistence that no closures are under consideration. One of the county’s largest secondary schools has told senior staff to draw up contingency plans for remote learning when the holiday period ends. Wholesale school closures would be unpopular with both staff and parents, with the new term a crucial period for those taking exams. Covid has already accounted for a drop in attendance rates at schools, prompting fears that the learning loss gap between less-advantaged children and their peers may grow.
22nd Dec 2021 - Kent Online


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

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Omicron deals one more blow to schools that have weathered COVID-19 and violence

Across the U.S., school districts and families are stumbling toward the finish line of a punishing semester. At some points, nearly all schools appeared back to normal with daily, in-person instruction. But disruptions abounded. As the country braces for an onslaught of infections driven by the more transmissible COVID-19 variant, schools and districts are shuttering and some are preparing to return to virtual instruction – the very mode of education this year was supposed to jettison.
21st Dec 2021 - USA Today


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

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Harvard plans to go remote in January as Covid-19 cases surge

Harvard University announced Saturday that it will return to remote learning for the first few weeks of 2022 as infection concerns grow in the face of a new coronavirus variant. Cornell University, also an Ivy League school, moved its finals to virtual learning last week after a spike in Covid-19 cases on campus.
20th Dec 2021 - NBC News

Omicron variant hits US and Canadian shores: Universities shift to remote learning

The rapid spread of the Omicron variant in US and Canada is dimming the silver lining of face-to-face learning. Just when students are re-adjusting to physical classes, both countries are bracing for a fourth wave of surging COVID-19 infections ahead of the holiday season. The concern over alarming case spikes has led to many universities in Canada and the US moving learning online, with in-person exams delayed or cancelled. Some institutions have announced that online classes would extend until the beginning of the Winter 2022 term.
20th Dec 2021 - Study International


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

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School districts across US are returning to remote learning due to staffing shortages, COVID surge

School districts across the US are returning to remote learning due to staffing shortages and a surge of COVID as cases of the highly transmissible Omicron variant has doubled in just 24 hours ahead of the holiday break, according to reports. On Friday, Prince George's County in Maryland became the first major school district to announce that all students will make the move to remote learning. Students in the district will begin online learning Monday, just four days before winter break begins.
19th Dec 2021 - Daily Mail

‘Very high’ levels of Covid staff absences could send learning online in new year, heads warn

“Very high” levels of staff absences linked to Covid could result in pupils learning remotely in the new year, headteachers in the UK have warned. School leaders told The Independent staff pressures posed the biggest threat to staying open to students in the next term, amid rising cases and warnings over the new Omicron variant. But headteachers said this could be affected by staff being unable to come into work due to Covid.
19th Dec 2021 - The Independent


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

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Schools prepare for online learning to return in the New Year

Schools across England are preparing for online learning to return in the New Year, according to reports, with some already starting their virtual lessons. According to the BBC more than 30 local authorities already have schools that have moved at least some lessons online already.The BBC says some children are being told to take laptops home with them over Christmas in case they are asked not to come back in in the New Year. The latest data for England shows 236,000 pupils were not in school on December 9.
16th Dec 2021 - Bristol Post


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

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How innovative methods helped playschools to connect with students during the pandemic

The pandemic may have challenged educators across the world in multiple ways but some Indian playschools managed to tide over the difficulties with insightful teaching methods. This article looks how five institutions continued to educate and engage their young students with fun and informative techniques.
15th Dec 2021 - The Hans India

Colleges go back to drawing board — again — to fight virus

Facing rising infections and a new COVID-19 variant, colleges across the U.S. have once again been thwarted in seeking a move to normalcy and are starting to require booster shots, extend mask mandates, limit social gatherings and, in some cases, revert to online classes. The threat of the omicron variant comes as a gut punch to schools that were hoping to relax safety measures this spring.
15th Dec 2021 - Associated Press


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

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UK/US Teachers & parents see VR as having a major role in the classroom

Research findings of 1,000 parents and 600 primary and elementary school teachers from UK & US: At least 70% of parents had the essential equipment for remote learning (e.g. devices) such as laptop(s), tablet(s), mobile phone(s) etc. in both regions. However, infrastructure (wifi) accessibility was the main issue with only 61% (UK) and 56% (US) households having access to online resources and virtual classes.
14th Dec 2021 - FE News

Online teaching's TikTok pedagogy is leading students a merry dance

Binoy Kampmark is senior lecturer in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies at RMIT University, Melbourne: "Colleges and universities feel both tempted and threatened by the presence of online instruction systems. Writing in 2018, Subhash Kak was already noting that online learning would “put as many as half the colleges and the universities in the US at risk of shutting down in the next couple of decades as remote students get comparable educations over the internet”. But, equally, online delivery has been a supreme opportunity for the budget minders."
14th Dec 2021 - Times Higher Education (THE)

Pupils in Wales struggled with online learning during lockdown as study reveals impact on wellbeing

Secondary school children in Wales struggled to concentrate and engage with schoolwork when schools shut and work moved online during lockdown, new research has concluded. Their confidence and wellbeing were negatively affected, the study by researchers at Cardiff and Swansea universities showed. The research, published in a British Psychological Society journal, follows similar findings of the impact of the pandemic on young people from the Children's Commissioner for Wales and education watchdog Estyn, as well as warnings from headteachers.
14th Dec 2021 - Wales Online


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

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How to go about online assessment practices in higher education

Assessment is an integral part of the teaching-learning process. During the pandemic period, teachers are desperately looking for online methods to accurately assess a learner’s knowledge, ability and skill. There are diverse issues to be addressed, such as how to proctor an online exam; how to avoid copying so that grades are allotted in a fair fashion; and how to get descriptive/step wise answers through online exams. Several measures -- from simple online questionnaire forms to browser-locking artificial intelligence-based software -- have been adopted to address these issues. However, the question is, should we re-create all the existing offline assessment methods to a virtual platform or introspect a little and evolve more meaningful approaches
13th Dec 2021 - Telegraph India

Berkeley College Online Learning Program Among Best in Country, Newsweek Says

Berkeley College's commitment to serving its students a quality education earned recognition beyond the classroom this year after the school was recently named as one of America’s Best Online Learning Schools of 2022, according to Newsweek and Statista. “The higher education landscape has drastically changed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Diane Recinos, interim president of Berkeley College. “While some colleges struggled to pivot, Berkeley College’s 23-year tradition of excellence in online education offered students a seamless transition to remote learning."
13th Dec 2021 - TAPinto.net

Schools are sending children home early for Christmas for remote learning in one part of Wales

In Wales, a council has announced children will return to remote learning for the last three days of term in response to soaring Covid cases and fears over the new Omicron variant. Anglesey council is bringing back hub schools for key workers while others are sent home to learn remotely. Last week headteachers told WalesOnline they were discussing ending term early. Many staff and pupils are absent and there are worries that anyone testing positive from Wednesday December 15 will have to isolate over Christmas Day
13th Dec 2021 - Wales Online


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

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Online learning platform would offset the disruption storms and pandemics cause

Storm Barra was like a bomb dropped into family routines, sweeping in and leaving teachers no time to plan virtual learning. Which is fair enough – lessons take time to plan. But this lack of ability and agility to offer online learning highlights the urgent need for a centralised, easy to access portal with the primary and secondary curricula, clearly laid out with links, videos and worksheets for every topic.
12th Dec 2021 - Independent.ie


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

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Virtual instruction is the future of modern teaching: How schools and educators can prepare

Virtual instruction in the post-pandemic era requires clear-headed attention to the value it brings to students, educators and school districts alike. However, as we’ve seen, many have struggled throughout the pandemic, adapting to a virtual model, leaving some lingering questions about the viability of this instructional model. School districts seeking funds allocated for student learning through initiatives like the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) will discover that the intellectual and business solution of adding a robust virtual element to their institutional construct is a critically essential component of student instruction. However, simply moving traditional curriculums onto a Zoom call isn’t an effective approach.
9th Dec 2021 - The Business Journals

The new normal: should e-learning be a part of education post-pandemic?

Whether you’re a tech sceptic or a technophile, most people can agree that technology played an enormous role in ensuring that education could continue during the pandemic. When Covid-19 hit, e-learning tools helped students to enjoy an unbroken educational experience, even at a time when they couldn’t physically visit the classroom or mingle with other students. But while tech helped schools to successfully pivot to deal with pandemic learning, what does the future now hold for online learning? Given the choice of returning to learning as normal, should e-learning stick around, post-pandemic, to aid teaching and learning or is face-to-face teaching the most effective method? That question is one that educators and stakeholders are now pondering.
9th Dec 2021 - Independent Education Today


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

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Lockdown harmful for almost every child's education, Ofsted warns

Nearly all children in England have fallen behind in their education and suffered as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Ofsted has warned. The watchdog has called on schools to offer pupils sport and extra-curricular activities to ensure children “regain a sense of normality” in their lives. Chief inspector Amanda Spielman warned that many of the youngest children’s progress and development “faltered” amid the pandemic, with some regressing in basic language and social skills.
8th Dec 2021 - Wales Online

What to do when technology fails: an educator's survival guide for online classrooms

Online teaching allows educators to reach students all across the globe, but the technology that enables this flexibility cannot be taken for granted. All of it can and will fail at some point, and the onus is on teachers to possess the technological know-how to resolve these issues at short notice. The article goes through seven tips on how to troubleshoot common technical issues encountered in online teaching
8th Dec 2021 - Times Higher Education (THE)


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

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Covid-19: No plans to close schools or for remote learning

In Northern Ireland, the Department of Education (DE) has said "there are no plans to close schools early this term or to move to remote learning". That is according to a circular from DE which has been sent to all headteachers and education bodies. Earlier Education Minister Michelle McIlveen said she understood concerns expressed by some teaching unions. However, she told the assembly that classroom-based teaching remained the best option for all pupils.
7th Dec 2021 - BBC News

Remote Learning Fails the Test

Accumulating evidence shows the damage of school shutdowns. Now a working paper published in the National Bureau of Economic Research documents how much remote learning reduced student achievement, especially for low-income and minority children. The researchers—from Brown University, University of Nebraska-Lincoln and MIT—examine the relationship between in-person learning and third- through eighth-grade student scores in 12 states. They found that the share of students who scored “proficient” or above declined in spring 2021 compared to previous years by an average of 14.2 percentage points in math and 6.3 percentage points in language arts.
7th Dec 2021 - Wall Street Journal


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

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New Covid variant extends online learning period

The arrival of the fourth wave of Covid-19 via the latest Omicron variant has put online learning higher on the agenda, with another new option for South African parents to consider for their children in 2022.
6th Dec 2021 - IOL

Education ministry holds virtual symposium for open, distance and e-learning

In Indonesia, the Education, Culture, Research and Technology Ministry held the 2021 International Open, Distance and e-Learning Symposium (ISODEL) from Dec. 1 to 3. The theme of this year’s symposium was “Education technology in the new normal: Now and beyond”. As the title states, ISODEL’s 2021 focus was highlighting technological innovations to support schools across the country engaging in remote education during Covid-19.
6th Dec 2021 - Jakarta Post


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

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Strong parent-teacher relationships may be the key to virtual learning success

When school shifted online at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, parents were tasked with stepping in to support their children academically. However, it was difficult for many parents to juggle their own job responsibilities with household duties and virtual school. Now, researchers from Anglia Ruskin University found that students are more likely to succeed with online learning when parents and teachers have a strong relationship.
5th Dec 2021 - ConsumerAffairs

Universities Minister Michelle Donelan says online learning mustn't be used as cost-saving measure

In England, online learning must not be used by vice chancellors as a cost-saving measure or 'for convenience', the Universities Minister warned. Michelle Donelan said institutions must become 'more transparent' about the return to face-to-face learning. She has written to every university leader in the country, setting out an 'expectation' they listen to students' demands. In-person teaching has been allowed on campuses for all courses since May, after Covid lockdown measures meant some degrees had been online-only for months. But even though there are no longer restrictions on face-to-face learning, many universities have opted to keep some virtual lectures. Thousands of students across the country have signed petitions to protest at their lack of in-person teaching while still paying fees of £9,250-a-year.
5th Dec 2021 - Daily Mail


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

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Donations improve how kids learn amid ongoing COVID concerns

Grantmakers are increasing spending on education, hoping to turn the pandemic into an opportunity to fine tune the use of educational technology, develop better lesson plans, and build connections with families and after-school programs that could help reduce students’ mental-health challenges due to COVID. They want to help school districts change the way people like Mansur teach, while reducing learning gaps. The support could help reduce teacher burnout and get students on solid footing at grade level without resorting to remedial instruction.
2nd Dec 2021 - Associated Press

Universities claim shift to online education in pandemic has benefited students

Universities claim that online lectures and support are welcomed by students and are in some cases better than the face-to-face contact they replaced. Universities UK (UUK), which represents vice-chancellors, says in a briefing that a range of benefits from the pandemic are helping students. Many institutions plan to continue online careers fairs and open days and digital internships, it says. However, David Laws, a former Liberal Democrat cabinet minister, fears that poorer students would be hit hardest by a move away from face-to-face careers events.
2nd Dec 2021 - The Times


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

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Can Online Education Be a Force for Equity and Institutional Sustainability?

Robert Ubell’s new book Staying Online, offers a compelling argument that online learning can be a force for equity, despite the widespread claim that low-income and first-generation college students fare relatively poorly in online courses. Done properly, Ubell contends, online learning can boost outcomes for marginalized students, increase retention rates, improve student learning, and stabilize institutional costs. Staying Online is, in short, a clarion call for institutions to mainstream virtual learning.
1st Dec 2021 - Inside Higher Ed

Covid-19: Some pupils remote learning amid staff shortage

Entire year groups are having to switch to remote learning across Northern Ireland because there are not enough teachers to cover classes, a teachers' union has said. NASUWT's Justin McCamphill has called for schools to close early before Christmas as a "circuit breaker". One Belfast school has required some year groups to learn from home or leave early every day this week.
1st Dec 2021 - BBC News


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

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Online school supports SEND children 'let down by system'

An online independent school has been re-introducing children with SEND (Special Education Needs and Disabilities), whose needs for adequate support in their learning and development haven’t been met, back into school. According to Ofsted, many families have been waiting as long as two years to obtain support for their children’s learning needs. As a result, Minerva’s Virtual Academy, which provides support and guidance to children with SEND, have been “flooded” with calls from desperate parents who have exhausted all options. Lawrence Tubb, Minerva’s Virtual Academy headmaster, said: “Many of the families we speak to have children with severe SEND issues including autism, which can affect a child’s capacity for learning in multiple ways. Several of our pupils have had their confidence knocked via the system and have struggled to fit in, adapt and progress in their schools. “The pandemic has of course, not helped matters. The reality is, many families have been unable to access appropriate support and care or have experienced delays in obtaining a medical diagnosis, which means they are left to battle in the interim with little or no learning provision.”
30th Nov 2021 - Independent Education Today

Keeping it real: Bringing practical dimensions into online teaching

Moreover, some tutors love disaster scenarios, as if the law only applies when things go wrong. This is understandable when teaching crime, where no one expects characters to be nice to each other, but must every seminar in contract law start and end in breach? This approach risks producing students who can tell you that a contractual provision is unenforceable but cannot redraft it.
30th Nov 2021 - Times Higher Education (THE)

Online Learning During the Pandemic | Useful Tips for College Students

The coronavirus pandemic has transformed every aspect of human life, including the education sector. Due to restrictions of movement and other measures in place to minimize the spread of the virus, many colleges have chosen to offer some or all of their courses online.
30th Nov 2021 - The Portugal News


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

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Most staff 'feel lack of support for improving online teaching'

Less than a fifth of UK academics say they are being given the time to develop their online teaching while just 6 per cent believe their university has given them recognition for the skills they have developed, a new survey has shown. Although most of the 3,700 teachers questioned between October 2020 and July 2021 by digital services provider Jisc said they felt supported when it came to teaching online, a large majority said that there was a lack of help for innovation.
29th Nov 2021 - Times Higher Education (THE)

Teachers fear omicron will ‘rip through schools’ and could push learning online

Teachers fear the new Covid variant starting to spread across the UK will “rip through schools” and could see learning pushed online. Some schools have already sent pupils home to learn remotely due to a rise in Covid cases and staff absences. Julie McCulloch from the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) warned keeping schools open may end up leading to more remote learning. She said the “real difficulty” was managing remote learning for groups self-isolating as well as teaching students allowed to be in school.
29th Nov 2021 - The Independent


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

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What do parents in Saudi Arabia really think about distance learning?

Distance learning was a necessity imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and in the past 18 months there has been a great deal of debate, globally, about the merits or otherwise of remote education and how well its extended use has served students during these difficult times. In Saudi Arabia, however, parents appear to be overwhelmingly in favor of distance learning, according to figures quoted by Education Minister Hamad Al-Sheikh.He added that it is here to stay, in some form, even after the pandemic ends because it has become a pillar of the education system.
28th Nov 2021 - Arab News

Long Hours and Online Learning - Interview with teacher Sophie Jackson

Over the last 2 years, how schools approach learning has been through some large changes, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent national lockdowns. When the topic of education is brought up in relation to these changes, most people highlight the impact of a changing learning environment on students. However, children weren’t the only people affected: schools and their staff had to adapt quickly to a rapidly changing environment as well. Primary school teacher Sophie Jackson explains how online learning has evolved for her school and how it is used now.
28th Nov 2021 - This is Local London


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

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How innovation is smashing digital learning barriers

A year ago, Unicef announced that more than one billion children were at risk of falling behind academically due to school closures in response to Covid-19. Education institutions have since adapted, deploying technology that enables teachers and pupils to continue to connect outside of the classroom, further accelerating the positive impact technology has played in education over the last few decades. With the reopening of schools, educational establishments are building on the digital foundations they have laid, helping to address the concerns raised in the Unicef report, such as lack of access to personal computers and technology that facilitates home-based learning.
25th Nov 2021 - Education Technology

Mumbai: Hybrid education mode ‘not working’ for online students

In Mumbai, with schools requesting the state to make attendance in physical classrooms compulsory, students attending virtual classes from home are complaining about being “left out” by teachers when hybrid lessons are in progress. “With classes going hybrid, students attending online are feeling left out during interactive sessions. Teachers are not adequately trained to handle in-person and virtual students at the same time,” said the principal of a Sion school.
25th Nov 2021 - Times of India


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

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Vivid language: teaching online students to assess writing

Teaching students how to self-assess their writing for focus, organisation and development is a big, yet incredibly important, challenge. Thankfully, the online classroom offers a chance to use word processing tools to refresh writing instruction and create a practical skill for student-writers to use in their academic lives. In the writing classroom, students use self-assessment to correct themselves as thinkers and composers of ideas. The online, video-based classroom supplies faculty and students with tools that make self-assessment visual, engaging, immediate and comprehensible.
24th Nov 2021 - Times Higher Education (THE)


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

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Combining virtual and in-person learning is the future of education, study finds

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, everything from work meetings to doctors’ visits has shifted online. For parents, this has also meant adjusting to virtual school for their kids. Now, a new study conducted by researchers from the Dresden University of Technology explored what the future of schooling may look like. They explained that though there have been benefits linked to online learning, it’s not likely to be the sole form of education moving forward; instead, education professionals are likely to utilize a combination of both in-person and digital teaching. “Digital teaching should be seen as a complementary means to further improve the quality of teaching, and the importance of face-to-face teaching should not be forgotten,” said researcher Dr. Anne Gärtner.
23rd Nov 2021 - ConsumerAffairs

Covid Saw A Boost In Online Learning Among Women

The Covid period has generally speaking been a difficult one for women. While labor market participation among women had been steadily rising in the decades leading up to the pandemic, it fell dramatically during it, with participation rates in America falling to levels last seen in 1987. It's a trend that is not echoed, however, in new data from the online learning platform Coursera, which shows that women have enrolled in courses at higher rates than before the pandemic. Indeed, whereas women made up 47% of learners in 2019, this had jumped to 52% by 2021. “Our research suggests that gender gaps in online learning narrowed during the pandemic, even as gender employment gaps widened,” Jeff Maggioncalda, Coursera CEO, says.
23rd Nov 2021 - Forbes


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

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Remote learning led to lower K-12 test scores in some U.S. states, especially for math, study finds

The coronavirus pandemic forced schools to pivot to virtual learning in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, but new research shows how remote learning hurt some students' academic performance. According to a new working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), remote learning caused significant declines in test scores in English language arts and math compared to schools with more in-person learning.
22nd Nov 2021 - MSN.com


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

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VR and robots will have major role in the classroom but we must solve the engagement issue, say teachers across the UK and US

New research into children’s education post-pandemic finds glaring gap between engagement levels and tech-enabled teaching. It found that 18 months since nationwide lockdowns began, the top priority for teachers across the UK and US is bridging the gap between decreasing children’s engagement levels and using tech effectively in the classroom.
21st Nov 2021 - fenews.co.uk

Equitable access to online learning, safe reopening of schools: Students urge MPs on World Children's Day

On World Children’s Day, students in India emphasized on the learning recovery from the loss of study during the COVID-19 pandemic and urged parliamentarians to reopen schools safely and take actions to bridge the digital divide.
21st Nov 2021 - The Statesman


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

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Push for more online learning as universities pin hopes on 2024 recovery

NSW universities expect student enrolment numbers to return to pre-pandemic levels by 2024. University of NSW vice-chancellor Ian Jacobs said Australian universities could educate millions of students overseas with online courses. He said the world and Australia would be better placed with 85 per cent of people having some form of tertiary education. “I’d love to see online embraced in a massive way by Australian universities. Australia can be genuinely educating millions and millions of people around the world, who can’t access a good quality education, through using online technology.”
18th Nov 2021 - The Age


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

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Students speak out: What they will miss about distance learning

Students in the Philippines listed down the things that they will miss about distance learning after the pandemic task force approves limited face-to-face classes in higher education institutions under Alerts Level 1, 2 and 3.
17th Nov 2021 - Interaksyon


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

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New research shows virtual school can harm children's vision

When COVID-19 first shut down classrooms and virtual schooling became the new norm, ophthalmologists predicted an increase in digital eye strain in children. New research from ophthalmologists at Wills Eye Hospital confirms that the increased screen time did lead to more eye strain in children, as well as a more troubling eye condition called convergence insufficiency, which can cause difficulty reading. The study is being presented at AAO 2021, the 125th annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
16th Nov 2021 - Medical Xpress

5 Reasons Why Online Schools Are Right For Students

Conventional high schools and classrooms don’t work for every student. For some students, the high school experience can be underwhelming due to the content covered and the mode of learning. The fear of falling behind the rest and the whole day-long structure can all contribute to malaise with traditional education. However, after COVID, things have changed and you can now enroll in virtual classes that will be better suited to your needs. Here are some reasons why online schools are right for students: flexible schedule, digital assignments, personalized learning, learning at your own pace, and a challenging and engaging environment.
16th Nov 2021 - eLearning Inside


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

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The Benefits of Online Learning Are Also Its Weaknesses. That’s Where Advisors Help.

While asynchronous online learning works well for many students, it is not without its challenges, and those can be the very same attributes that make it attractive—that’s the paradox of online learning. Students who are balancing multiple responsibilities of jobs, children or aging parents are generally attracted to the anytime/anyplace virtue of online courses, but they may also need the most help in managing all of these things. Let’s examine the characteristics of online education and how they both enable and constrain learning, plus consider tips for how advisors can help students resolve these tensions.
15th Nov 2021 - EdSurge

Developing virtual experiential learning: key takeaways | THE Campus Learn, Share, Connect

It is important for students to integrate classroom learning with practical application, real-world experiences and community engagement. How can higher education institutions find ways to offer students experiential learning that are compatible with remote instruction? The Chinese University of Hong Kong set out to embed the topic of sustainable development within its general education curriculum through the launch of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Study Scheme. A fund was created to help teachers to organise SDG-related experiential learning. Their creativity and determination in implementing activities through the pandemic was impressive and many useful lessons can be drawn. With in-person meetings and trips cancelled, faculty developed innovative virtual solutions
15th Nov 2021 - Times Higher Education (THE)


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

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Pandemic first graders are way behind in reading. Experts say they may take years to catch up.

In classrooms across the U.S., the first months of school this fall have laid bare what many in education feared: Students are way behind in skills they should have mastered already. Children in early elementary school have had their most formative first few years of education disrupted by the pandemic, years when they learn basic math and reading skills and important social-emotional skills, like how to get along with peers and follow routines in a classroom. While experts say it’s likely these students will catch up in many skills, the stakes are especially high around reading. Research
14th Nov 2021 - USA Today


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

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Covid-19: Online teaching suggested for unvaccinated teachers as mandate deadline looms

In New Zealand, teachers who are unvaccinated against Covid-19 could remain in a virtual classroom educating pupils whose parents aren’t ready to send them back to school. That’s just one of the ideas to have come across the desk of Cambridge East Primary School principal Hamish Fenemor,​ who is also the immediate past president of the Waikato Principals’ Association. Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced children in years 1-8 will return to school part time and students in years 9 and 10 will go back full time on November 17.
11th Nov 2021 - Stuff.co.nz

3 strategies for virtual student-centered learning

When secondary educators plunged into emergency online teaching in March 2020, they faced a slew of challenges. Among those challenges was the lack of student engagement after the novelty of logging in from home in pajamas wore off. The best classrooms build a sense of community, offer opportunities for growth, provide varying entry points for students to engage, and place an emphasis on interactive, collaborative, and student-centered learning. How to do this in a virtual space requires proactive relationship building, creative energy to pre-plan, and a sense of humor especially when the technology fails.
11th Nov 2021 - eSchool News

The School in the Cloud - Virtual learning as an opportunity

What does the future of education look like in a wired world? In this film, Indian education expert Sugata Mitra conducts an experiment. In an Indian village, he builds a school that only exists virtually, in the cloud.
11th Nov 2021 - Deutsche Welle


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

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CT legislators consider permanent virtual school as interest grows

A program called TEC Connections Academy Commonwealth Virtual School (TECCA), a tuition-free K-12 public school in East Walpole, Mass., opened its doors in 2014 with 200 students and 14 staff members. The idea behind it was to give students throughout Massachusetts a different learning option. Now enrollment has skyrocketed to 2,700 students with a waitlist in the thousands. Staff has also increased to 190, including teachers, counselors and social workers.
10th Nov 2021 - The CT Mirror


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

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The educator's imperative: creating intentional inclusivity in the digital classroom

Online teaching is about more than just the right technology. It is about building an inclusive online learning environment through relational and humanistic approaches that welcome diversity of all types. Diversity, equity and inclusion cannot begin and end as statements of principle – they must be carried out through actions by educators in the classroom. What may seem like small gestures, when undertaken with authenticity, will support an online learning environment that enables everyone to feel invited in and recognised.
9th Nov 2021 - Times Higher Education (THE)

The nightmare of online learning: Here's what I've learned as a teacher. It's not pretty.

We have learned – hopefully, once and for all – that no digital teaching tool can replace a talented, experienced, committed, hard-working teacher with at least the basic administrative support in a reasonably safe, clean and well-lit classroom. Much as some of us perfected our online teaching chops, it was never the same; it was hardly close. If we didn’t already know how much kids need to be around each other, we know now, especially those of us who are parents too. But not all students missed what is for them the chaotic crush of school. Many found solace in being away from us. For some kids, being isolated at home was an upgrade from the social isolation or bullying they had to contend with at school – and from which the educators in their lives failed to protect them. We need to do a lot better at creating a positive learning environment for all students.
9th Nov 2021 - USA Today


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

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The big idea: Should we leave the classroom behind?

Education was adapting to the digital world long before Covid but, as with so many other human activities, the pandemic has given learning a huge shove towards the virtual. Overnight, schools and universities closed and teachers and students had to find ways to do what they do exclusively via the internet. Naturally there were problems, but as Professor Diana Laurillard of University College London’s Knowledge Lab explains, they essentially pulled off an extraordinary – and global – experiment. “It can’t return to the way it was,” she says. “The cat is out of the bag.”
8th Nov 2021 - The Guardian

Some districts plan for new full-time virtual schools to outlast the coronavirus pandemic

A Rand Corporation survey conducted in June found 26 percent of districts said they would run a virtual school this year, compared with just 3 percent before the pandemic. The school systems that served primarily families of color reported particularly high demand from parents for a virtual option. Yet it remains unclear how many students will remain in virtual learning when the pandemic subsides and whether they should. Research before the pandemic often showed poorer outcomes for students in virtual schools versus brick-and-mortar ones. Only 3 percent of parents, in another Rand survey conducted in July, said they would send their youngest school-age child to full-time virtual school if the pandemic were over.
8th Nov 2021 - The Washington Post


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

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We cannot allow remote learning to create undereducated students

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated just how vital and valuable technology is to education. It’s also shown how far we still have to go in leveraging that technology to improve learning and prepare students for college and beyond. When the pandemic shuttered schools across the country and sent tens of millions of students home, many institutions quickly shifted to remote teaching to prevent catastrophic learning loss. While necessary, this stopgap solution had an inherent flaw: Few teachers were actually prepared for the transition to online instruction, particularly in K-12.
7th Nov 2021 - The Hill

Covid: How remote learning changed during pandemic

The way that teaching and learning patterns have shifted over the course of the Covid pandemic has been revealed by new analysis of Oak National Academy data by researchers at SchoolDash. In September, Oak National's research revealed that deprivation levels had affected the online classroom's impact, as in the most deprived IDACI (Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index) areas, only 69.4 per cent accessed lessons by a computer, whereas 78 per cent in the top quintile did. SchoolDash has now looked into how the Oak National Academy online classroom was used by pupils and teachers over the course of the pandemic.
7th Nov 2021 - TES News

Court order reinstates distance learning for disabled students

In California, State officials must act immediately to provide distance learning that is comparable to last year for students with disabilities and also adequate to their overall needs, a judge has ordered. The court finding, in the form of a temporary restraining order issued Thursday, will provide immediate relief for 15 students — with several dozen others that could follow — but there are broad implications for students across California. The practices at issue arise from Assembly Bill 130, which put in place rules meant to ensure that school districts provided and prioritized in-person instruction for all students this fall after the pandemic resulted in campus closures the previous year.
7th Nov 2021 - Los Angeles Times

NorthCap University launches smart classrooms to optimise virtual learning experience

NorthCap University in Gurugram, Haryana has launched state-of-the-art smart classrooms fully equipped with digital technology to optimise the learning experience of students who are struggling with online education. These smart classrooms will replicate a physical classroom in a virtual model, thus enabling students to attend virtual interactive lectures from anywhere in the world in a simulated classroom environment. It also enables the faculty to deliver lectures in hybrid mode in a classroom-like ambience.
7th Nov 2021 - Telegraph India


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

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The pandemic deepened inequities for Bay Area students. How can schools respond?

According to educators and youth advocates, the traumas of last year have carried over into a delta-hobbled fall semester and could manifest for years to come, particularly for female, LGBTQ and nonbinary students, as well as all students of color. In August, the alliance and YouthTruth, a national nonprofit headquartered in San Francisco, released separate studies built on the perspectives of youth and delivering sobering prognoses: Students felt overwhelmed and under-supported during remote learning, and the pandemic metastasized existing inequities for young learners.
4th Nov 2021 - San Francisco Chronicle

Homeschooling boomed in the pandemic—and many parents aren't sending their kids back to class

School enrollment in Kansas has dropped by over fifteen thousand students since 2019 as virtual and homeschool enrollment has increased. Nationwide, enrollment in public schools has dropped by more than 1.5 million students during the pandemic, according to the U.S. Department of Education. As some students stay out of public school, they’ve turned to pandemic pods, traditional homeschooling and virtual learning, Before the pandemic, Kansas City Public Schools, which serves much of Kansas City, Missouri, would see between fifty and a hundred students enrolled in its Virtual Academy. During the pandemic, that number skyrocketed—last school year, they started with three thousand students in the program.
4th Nov 2021 - Kansas City Magazine

Leveraging Technology to Scale Education

In recent decades, we have seen the power of technology not only change the way we live, work, and interact with each other, but also make it possible for the transformation of traditional classroom-based learning. EdTech is on a solid growth trajectory thanks to the combination of high-speed internet connections, robust digital platforms, compelling digital content, plummeting costs of data and devices and the emergence of adaptive learning. All of this innovation and change has fundamentally transformed traditional classroom-based learning. EdTech makes highly flexible and scalable online learning possible.
3rd Nov 2021 - MarketScreener


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

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DepEd, US Peace Corps train 1,000 teachers on distance learning materials

In the Philippines, a series of virtual training on using newly developed distance learning materials was conducted by the US Peace Corps and the Department of Education.The collaboration sought to develop and validate learning activity sheets before training educators can use them and before these can be distributed to students in indigenous communities, geographically isolated areas and some of the most resource-challenged communities in the Philippines.
3rd Nov 2021 - The Manila Times

Ministry trains 700 educators weekly to boost online learning

In Cambodia, since the end of September, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport has trained 3,292 teachers from secondary resource schools and network schools on how to manage distance learning to run online classes in a high-quality and efficient manner. The ministry said on November 1 that it continues to train over 700 teachers each week on remote teaching skills.
3rd Nov 2021 - The Phnom Penh Post


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

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In this Washington-area school system, more than 10000 students remain virtual

In the Washington area, most school systems are going full-bore with in-person learning, considering it to be the best way for students to recover from the academic losses and mental health hardships of a nearly 20-month crisis. Across Maryland, about 25,000 students are learning virtually. Of those, more than 34 percent of students are economically disadvantaged, according to state data released this week. Among those enrolled in virtual learning, 50 percent are Black, 20 percent are Hispanic, 14 percent are White and 7 percent are Asian, the data shows. In D.C. public schools, parents fought for a virtual option, but D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) and officials in her administration resisted, saying students, particularly low-income students of color, fell behind in virtual learning and it was vital that they return to classrooms.
2nd Nov 2021 - The Washington Post

Screen time for US tweens and teens doubled during the COVID-19 pandemic to nearly eight hours a day, study finds

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck last year, lockdowns and stay-at-home mandates shut down schools. Kids suddenly went from using screens not just for entertainment and socializing but also for online learning. But, additionally, they were able to spend time using screens before and after attending remote lessons. Several studies have found that children and teenagers were getting more screen time, but none using national U.S. data. For the new study, published on Monday in JAMA Pediatrics, the team used data from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study.
2nd Nov 2021 - Daily Mail


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

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Leveraging the best of remote learning, communication and collaboration

While parents are rightfully concerned about missed learning opportunities from remote schooling, they are also more in tune than ever with their child's education. In many ways, this period has closed gaps in parent engagement through increased virtual communication channels and digital delivery of instructional materials. While we still have a long way to go to ensure that all students have the digital skills to succeed in a changing economy, remote schooling has encouraged some gains in technological availability and digital literacy. According to one educator survey, 54 percent of educators reported that access and knowledge of technology among students improved during the pandemic. Recognizing this silver lining, we also have to acknowledge that these digital systems are far from perfect, even after more than a year of continuous classroom use.
1st Nov 2021 - MSN.com

In return to campuses, students with disabilities fear they’re being ‘left behind’

Many students welcomed the return to in-person learning, but the change has revived pre-pandemic difficulties and created new ones for some students with disabilities. Some lamented the reduction of online instruction, which allowed them to read closed captions during lectures in real time, turn their cameras off when needed, and watch recorded lectures at home and at their own pace, among its benefits. Experts estimate that 1 in 8 U.S. college students have at least one disability, according to Scott Lissner, the public policy committee chair at the Association on Higher Education and Disability. Some of those students, including those with attention-deficit-related disabilities, say they found online learning harder. But overall, the return to in-person learning presents a pervasive challenge for students with disabilities as well as for every college across the country
1st Nov 2021 - Washington Post


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

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UK business schools set to heavily invest in edtech innovation following Covid-19 pandemic

Three quarters (75%) of Business School leaders say that their Schools are now using virtual classrooms – an increase from 51% at the end of 2020, according to the AMBA & BGA Education Technology Report. This report, based on a survey of 171 Business School leaders worldwide, tells the story of edtech in 2020 and 2021. In so doing, it reveals how Business Schools turned a crisis into an opportunity. Following a year in which Business Schools were pushed into enhancing their investments in edtech by the Covid-19 pandemic and associated restrictions, 84% of participants to this survey have indicated that they want their Business School to retain the new technology that has been introduced.
30th Oct 2021 - Business Leader

Nearly half of teenagers said the pandemic had a negative impact on their academics.

The pandemic has become the signature feature of high school for this cohort of adolescents. The forced isolation and lockdowns wrought havoc on teenage lives and shaped them in ways they will never forget. Against this backdrop, some teens struggled in school, many of them managing virtual classes with teachers who were learning on the fly. Students who were lucky enough to return to in-person classes still had to contend with being quarantined or having their schools shut down. But amid this doom and gloom, there was a silver lining: Some students actually liked remote learning. They preferred being home, or having the flexibility, or feeling less frantic about college. Students who felt chronically overscheduled finally had time to stop and breathe. For some, that space allowed them time to figure out who they were.
30th Oct 2021 - The Washington Post

Kids who learned remotely felt they 'mattered less' than peers studying in-person, study suggests

A study of Canadian students suggests that children who learned remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic reported they felt they ‘mattered less’ than their peers who studied in-person. The researchers wrote that attention has been paid to the efficacy of online learning on the reduction of virus spread, its impact on learning loss and mental health, but not much consideration has been made to the social and emotional implications of the teaching approach for elementary and secondary students.
29th Oct 2021 - CTV News


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

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The upside to long-term online teaching: one size seldom fits all

Lawrence Tubb, headmaster at Minerva’s Virtual Academy, writes about the various reasons why online teaching works for some children: "Speaking from experience, most children that choose to be educated online do so because traditional school simply doesn’t work for them. We are all aware of the need to nurture every child individually and when it comes to elements such as pace of learning, speed of attainment and of course mental wellbeing, there are a number of grey areas."
28th Oct 2021 - Independent Education Today


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

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The Pandemic Could Have Unlocked Remote Schooling. It Hasn't

In a rush to return to normal and leave last year’s remote learning debacles in the rearview mirror, states and school systems have thrown away a potential pandemic breakthrough: the ability to shift quickly and seamlessly to remote learning whenever they need. Earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic, school and system leaders hoped sick days and snow days could soon be a thing of the past. If future weather events or disease outbreaks forced children to stay home, schools could easily shift to remote learning. But as we transition from a summer of California wildfires and devastating hurricanes to an academic year disrupted by quarantines and staffing shortages, “anywhere learning” seems all too futuristic. The important possibilities the pandemic experience offers for helping schools overcome disruptions beyond COVID-19 aren’t being fulfilled.
27th Oct 2021 - EducationWeek


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 27th Oct 2021

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Virtual exchange: What are students signing up for?

Many students are drawn to culturally immersive experiences that support their personal growth and academic performance. Offering students the chance to study abroad is an integral part of how many post-secondary programs have developed globally responsive curriculum. Virtual exchanges are technology-based, classroom-to-classroom programs that connect students located in different geographical locations to develop intercultural and project-based learning. While virtual exchanges have been implemented for at least three decades now, the COVID-19 pandemic has encouraged many practitioners and administrators in different academic disciplines to build online global partnerships.
26th Oct 2021 - MSN.com

Many Latinos chose virtual learning for children to minimize health risks to family

Many Latino families chose virtual learning for their children instead of returning to the classroom last fall in an effort to minimize health risks and protect vulnerable family members from COVID-19, according to a new study from a Rice University sociologist. Julia Szabo said Hispanic families in her study regularly had to put themselves at risk of contracting COVID-19, usually due to work obligations. As a result, Hispanic parents who were unwilling to introduce any unnecessary threats to their families often saw virtual learning as a way to lower their risk.
26th Oct 2021 - Phys.org


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

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Covid-19 Delta outbreak: Auckland's senior students sick of online learning but nervous about return to school

Senior students returning to school in Auckland say they want to get back in the classroom. They're sick of Zoom calls and emailing teachers for help. They say it's been a struggle to stay motivated as lockdown dragged on, despite their teachers' best efforts. But now they're replacing the frustration of lockdown with the uncertainty of gathering at school as Covid-19 cases climb across Auckland.
25th Oct 2021 - New Zealand Herald

Atlanta schools offer $3K to lure teachers for online class

Atlanta public school officials are offering a $3,000 bonus to try to recruit new teachers for additional virtual classes. The district announced the hiring bonus recently amid a jump in the number of students seeking online instruction, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Atlanta Public Schools will also provide relocation and housing allowances for successful out-of-state candidates, according to the newspaper. Starting pay in the district for a first-year teacher with a bachelor’s degree is just over $49,000.
25th Oct 2021 - Associated Press


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

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63% of students claim online learning platforms helped them reduce stress while studying from home

A survey conducted on World Mental Health Day aimed to gain in-depth insights into how students manage their stress and other mental health concerns. The findings point at the fact that a majority (75%) of students have noted mental health changes during the COVID-induced study from home period. At the same time school performance and preparation emerged as one of the key contributors to students’ stress and anxiety. 71% of students reported that this near-immediate transition and the following months have impacted their mental health. Meanwhile, respite did come from online learning platforms that positively impacted student’s mental health by allowing them to supplement their school lessons with further clarity on concepts and help with homework. A significant (63%) have mentioned that online learning platforms have helped reduce stress during their study from home.
24th Oct 2021 - The Tribune

High schoolers, educators decry split focus of hybrid learning model

Ontario school districts using the hybrid model of simultaneous instruction this year say it's the way to keep remote learners connected to familiar teachers and their regular school communities. It also allows for greater flexibility if sudden shifts between in-person and remote learning are required. However, the model — which some boards adopted to address the ongoing provincial mandate requiring them to offer virtual learning — continues to draw fierce criticism from students, parents, educators and more, who blast its sustained use this year as unacceptable at this point of the pandemic.
24th Oct 2021 - CBC.ca


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

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Navigating online education post-pandemic: advice for colleges

The landscape for digital learning has changed dramatically since Robert Ubell published Going Online in 2016: an explosion in outsourcing to online program managers, intensifying competition between would-be cheaters and technologies designed to thwart them -- oh, and a global pandemic that turned almost every student into an online learner and every professor into a technologist. In a new book, Staying Online: How to Navigate Digital Higher Education, Ubell, vice dean emeritus of online learning at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering, brings together his writings in Inside Higher Ed and other publications about a wide range of topics.
21st Oct 2021 - Inside Higher Ed


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

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Is the Metaverse Finally Emerging?

The web is constantly evolving. Emerging now is a more immersive 3-D environment that features augmented reality, virtual reality and persistent connections. It is called the metaverse, and it may transform online learning. Where will higher education be located in the emerging metaverse? Will colleges and universities host their own “islands” of campuses? Will virtual megamalls of storefronts offer certificates and certifications hosted by a plethora of institutions? Will your institution be represented -- welcoming virtual students from around the real word to engage in 3-D learning around the clock? It is important that colleges and universities discuss the opportunities now.
20th Oct 2021 - Inside Higher Ed

Online learning platforms 'may become graduate talent brokers'

Corporations are increasingly keen on hiring learners straight from online learning platforms, edX business head claims.
20th Oct 2021 - Times Higher Education (THE)


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

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Remote learning during COVID doesn't work for students with ADHD

Remote learning has been a challenge for all children, but most of all for those with special needs. ADHD Australia chair Professor Michael Kohn said most children and young people with the condition have struggled with learning from home during the pandemic. The home environment is also filled with distractions such as toys, pets, siblings and snacks. Students have to go without the direct support of their teacher, so parents have had to step in to help scaffold their learning. On the positive side, students are shielded from negative social interactions and may be better supported at home.
19th Oct 2021 - The Canberra Times

Pandemic learning loss is real and kids need help to catch up, education experts say

Every summer, children forget some of what they learned during the previous school year, but now experts are warning that because of school closures and other disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic, students will have a lot more lost learning to make up for. Prachi Srivastava, a professor in education and global development with the faculty of education at Western University, says learning loss is expected. She is proposing a plan for helping Canadian children thrive academically after the pandemic, and she thinks it should be implemented as soon as possible.
19th Oct 2021 - CBC.ca


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

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How immersive learning will revolutionize education

Immersive learning experiences are a new type of educational experience that can be used in place of traditional lectures and classrooms. Immersive learning is meant to mimic the real world by providing students with an environment that is as close to reality as possible. It’s designed for learners who are interested in hands-on experiences, problem-solving, and discovery over non-traditional methods like reading textbooks and listening to lectures from a professor. There are also many potential applications of immersive learning techniques in schools. This article will discuss what immersive learning is, how it changes the classroom experience, and some current use cases of immersive learning.
18th Oct 2021 - eSchool News

High school dropouts: Remote learning during covid put Baltimore students at risk

Hundreds of thousands of students across the U.S. have been at risk of dropping out of school. A McKinsey & Company report released in July estimated that between 617,000 and 1.2 million teens nationwide were more likely to drop out because of coronavirus-related school closures. In Miami and Chicago, in New York City and Detroit, school officials had fanned out over the summer to reestablish contact with some of those kids. And they had done so in Baltimore, where spikes in absenteeism were particularly acute among students with disabilities and those living in poverty. The article follows high school student Corey Byrd.
18th Oct 2021 - The Washington Post

Online teaching and learning is not just for pandemics and it can help solve old problems

South African universities are currently considering the future of teaching and learning after the rapid shift to emergency remote teaching and learning in 2020 and 2021. During this time, two narratives have (re)emerged. One implies that teaching and learning online is more difficult or demanding than in-person education. The other that it’s not as good as in-person teaching and learning. In the South African higher education context these concerns seem to be closely tied to staff burnout and to the inequities and complexities of the sector, which were amplified by emergency remote teaching and learning.
18th Oct 2021 - The Conversation Africa


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

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Special Ed Students Have Been 'Left Out' From Distance Learning in Hawaii

In Hawaii, the DOE established a statewide distance learning program for students whose parents wanted to keep them home due to the pandemic, but it has limited seats, not to mention few accommodations for kids with disabilities. Special education students receive specialized services based on their Individualized Education Programs, such as counseling, or physical, occupational or speech therapy.
17th Oct 2021 - Honolulu Civil Beat

Active learning tools improve the learning outcomes, scientific attitude, and critical thinking in higher education: Experiences in an online course during the COVID‐19 pandemic

Active teaching methodologies have been placed as a hope for changing education at different levels, transiting from passive lecture-centered to student-centered learning. With the health measures of social distance, the COVID-19 pandemic forced a strong shift to remote education. A study concluded that engagement provided by active learning methods can improve performance both in hard and soft skills. Students' participation seems to be more relevant when activities require the interaction of information, prediction, and reasoning, such as open-ended questions and design of research projects.
17th Oct 2021 - IUBMB Journals

This Virtual Classroom Company Made Millions During The Pandemic While Students Languished

The coronavirus pandemic turned the American education system upside down last year, shuttering classrooms, leaving students isolated and adrift, and sending school officials scrambling for virtual solutions. But it was a boon for the many private companies that helped schools move their operations online. Among the winners was the company that several students said left them hanging: Edgenuity. During the first year of the pandemic, the Arizona-based software company added more than 500 public school districts to its client list and inked contracts totaling at least $145 million. Thanks to prepandemic acquisitions and rising demand during the crisis, Edgenuity nearly doubled what it pulled in from the public sector the year before. Some parents were satisfied with the education their children received through Edgenuity, and some districts appreciated the safe alternative to in-person learning amid the uncertainty of the pandemic. But at scores of schools around the country, the solution Edgenuity provided came at a high cost to students’ education, according to a BuzzFeed News investigation based on a review of hundreds of pages of court and school district documents and interviews with more than 50 people.
17th Oct 2021 - BuzzFeed News


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

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Can edtech deliver on its pandemic promise?

Education technology was adopted widely during the pandemic as schools around the world were forced to close and sought alternative ways to teach children. While sometimes overhyped in the past — much-vaunted interactive whiteboards were often left unused — edtech now has the potential to support education in lower-income countries. The benefits can be as much for policymakers and school leaders as for teachers and students in the classroom and beyond. For example, online management systems can be used to track attendance and test scores, provide lesson plans and help allocate resources. Self-learning tools for students include supplementary apps, test preparation and live lessons. But not everyone is convinced of the merits of edtech. A review for the United States Agency for International Development last year found that there was “a lack of conclusive and robust research and study of distance-learning modalities, especially in the global south”.
14th Oct 2021 - Financial Times

How does national culture affect the adoption of learning technology?

The uptake of learning technologies has been, in many cases, disappointing. University managers, educational technologists, educators and other practitioners are looking for ways to overcome this resistance and boost the use of learning management systems, also known as virtual learning environments, or VLEs. However, researchers have found factors that influence the adoption of learning technologies are not universal, and they differ from country to country. This research hopes to unpack the secret of users’ resistance from a cultural perspective – resistance that existed long before the pandemic – and offer advice to counteract it.
14th Oct 2021 - Times Higher Education

Virtual Learning Expansion Sparks Both Hope and Skepticism

Since the D.C. Council’s unanimous passage of emergency legislation increasing virtual learning slots in District public and public charter schools, parents whose children had been denied that option must now consider taking advantage of the highly coveted opportunity. Even with a greater chance of approval, there’s some skepticism among parents about whether schools will approve their applications and allow their children to learn from within the safe confines of their home. The legislation, titled Protecting Our Children Emergency Declaration Resolution, applies to children who live with people posing a high risk of illness from a COVID-19 infection.
14th Oct 2021 - The Washington Informer


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

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CNN's 'Tech for Good' showcases the technology that could shape the future of education

The pandemic has made online learning commonplace across the world, turning digital learning tools into a lifeline for many students. On this month's episode of 'Tech for Good', CNN anchor and correspondent Kristie Lu Stout meets the entrepreneurs demonstrating how technology can be used to support education, in spite of lockdowns and uncertainty.
13th Oct 2021 - Yahoo Finance

The triple jeopardy of deprivation for online learning

Deprivation was a barrier to children getting an education during school closures. That’s not news. We all know of schools that had to print and post worksheets in the early days of the pandemic, and of pupils who struggled to join online lessons because they were sharing one computer with two other siblings. But what is new is some emerging evidence that graphically illustrates the scale of the problem. Pupils in areas of high deprivation faced three particular barriers: unequal access to devices, unequal quality of devices, cost of streaming.
13th Oct 2021 - Schools Week

New US data show jump in college students' learning online

An analysis of newly available federal data shows that a far larger proportion of college students take at least one fully online course than was previously understood. The analysis, first conducted by the ed-tech consultant and blogger Phil Hill, shows that based on 12-month reporting -- which the Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System only recently began collecting for distance learning -- 51.8 percent of students took at least one online course in 2019-20. This number is much higher than the 37 percent reflected in the fall 2019 enrollment data that has been cited in the past, and on which most estimates of the prevalence of online learning have historically been based.
13th Oct 2021 - Inside Higher Ed


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

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5 ways to improve your virtual teaching

It has been 18 months since schools first closed, and we are still learning how to make virtual environments rich and engaging. And while remote instruction isn’t for everyone, it can be a powerful way to deliver instruction, build connections and foster a love of learning in students -- if you do it right. Very little in teaching can truly be boiled down to five simple strategies, but these suggestions can add to your remote-teaching skills.
12th Oct 2021 - SmartBrief

COVID took toll on kids’ learning, grades, American Family Survey finds

The latest American Family Survey, released Tuesday in Washington, D.C., indicates more than half of respondents whose children did not attend school in person chose not to return to the classroom when they had the option. This was the case for more than 6 in 10 Democrats as well as just under half of Republicans, the survey found. Parents surveyed said their children’s grades and learning suffered during the pandemic’s aftermath with nearly 20% of parents revealing that their children’s grades worsened and nearly one-third reporting declines in learning.
12th Oct 2021 - Deseret News


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

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Colleges Innovate to Support At-Risk Students, Inside and Outside the Classroom

Colleges are paying special attention to first-generation and low-income students and to those from historically marginalized communities, using data analytics to identify students at risk of dropping out. Access to broadband and computers is, of course, an essential factor in student success. As the pandemic forced institutions to go fully or partially online, it put a spotlight on at-risk students, especially low-income students who lacked devices, computers and internet access. In response, many institutions beefed up campus Wi-Fi and offered laptop lending programs
11th Oct 2021 - EdTech

College students report issues with distance learning

College age students reported issues with distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, including trouble concentrating, limited access to technology, food insecurity, and mental health issues, according to researchers. Christian Athnasian, AB, a research intern at Cohen Children's Medical Center in New Hyde Park, New York, worked with fellow interns on a project led by research mentor Ruth Milanaik, DO, also of Cohen Children’s, who presented the research at the AAP National Conference & Exhibition.
10th Oct 2021 - Healio


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

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COVID-19: Online learning and the homework gap in the US

America’s K-12 students are returning to classrooms this fall after 18 months of virtual learning at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some students who lacked the home internet connectivity needed to finish schoolwork during this time – an experience often called the “homework gap” – may continue to feel the effects this school year. Research carried out by Pew Research Center highlights how a lack of internet connectivity and digital skills negatively affected K-12 students' ability to complete school work at home. Research shows these problems were faced by families of different incomes, race and location. One-quarter of Black teens said they were at least sometimes unable to complete their homework due to a lack of digital access, including 13% who said this happened to them often.
10th Oct 2021 - World Economic Forum


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

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Academics from Japan and Hong Kong say virtual learning no substitute

While online classes have become the norm for some amid the COVID-19 pandemic, academics from Japan and Hong Kong believe that online classes cannot truly be a substitute for face-to-face learning despite the merits of technology in communicating with students. Oussouby Sacko, president of Kyoto Seika University, said professors at his university have struggled to teach, for example, art-related courses online, and students were also losing interest in attending classes. To motivate the students, Sacko has introduced a hybrid system of direct interactive sessions between teachers and students once a week and online classes on other days. Recognizing the challenges teachers face in holding virtual classes, he said there is a need to develop a program for the faculty to train them to become accustomed to the new teaching style.
7th Oct 2021 - The Japan Times


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

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The pandemic changed American education overnight. Some changes are here to stay.

Why do most classrooms look the same as they did a century ago, with desks and rows and a teacher lecturing? That observation has been repeated for years, and it took a pandemic to finally change it. Almost every kid got a tablet or a laptop, plus an internet connection – though shortages continue for lower-income students and many who live in rural areas. Though some schools jettisoned virtual learning in favor of in-person instruction this year, others blended aspects of virtual learning with traditional instruction. Confident in the ability of teachers and students to pivot quickly to remote learning at home, some districts ended snow days and kept kids learning even in the face of natural disasters, such as hurricanes and fires, that would shutter buildings. Other districts, aiming to meet the needs of students who thrived virtually, created options for students to continue learning online this year.
6th Oct 2021 - USA Today

DC Council Passes Emergency Legislation Expanding Virtual Learning

The D.C. Council passed emergency legislation expanding the virtual learning option in schools -- a plan Mayor Muriel Bowser pushed back on, saying it goes against the best interests of students. Since the school year began with full-time in-person learning, almost 200 D.C. Public Schools staff members and more than 500 students have tested positive for COVID-19, resulting in more than 1,000 students and teachers quarantining. The D.C. Council voted to offer a virtual option to any student who is either at high risk or lives with someone who is at high risk for COVID-19.
6th Oct 2021 - NBC4 Washington


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

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500 digital learning activities for the in-person or virtual classroom

When schools abruptly shifted to online learning in March of 2020, a flurry of announcements about free digital learning resources followed. Gradually, schools returned to hybrid learning and, now, most districts are back to full in-person learning. But a new move puts 500 daily resources into teachers’ hands for free, no matter where students are learning. In an effort to continue its support of educators during the COVID-19 pandemic, Discovery Education–an edtech partner offering a digital platform designed to support learning wherever it takes place–announced today that it will offer approximately 500 daily classroom activities available to teachers nationwide at no cost throughout the school year.
5th Oct 2021 - eSchool News


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

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Back in the classroom, teachers are finding pandemic tech has changed their jobs forever

Millions of teachers across the U.S. are in their second year of teaching either in-person, online or both — depending on the state, city and district they live in. Like many other professions, teachers’ jobs have become increasingly complex due to the pandemic. This year, many students are back in the classroom, but teachers have to constantly adapt if there is virus exposure. There aren’t specific guidelines on how best to teach students using the many technologies that are available. Teachers are also struggling to keep students engaged while learning new tech tools that are required to make online classes successful.
4th Oct 2021 - MSN.com

Japan, HK academics say virtual learning no match for real thing

While online classes have become the norm amid the COVID-19 pandemic, academics from Japan and Hong Kong believe that online classes cannot truly be a substitute for face-to-face learning despite the merits of technology in communicating with students. "Learning does not take place in the classroom, it happens outside the classroom, on campus where students can interact," among themselves and with teachers, Oussouby Sacko, president of Kyoto Seika University, said in a webinar. Sacko said professors at his university in western Japan have struggled to teach, for example, art-related courses online, and students were also losing their interest in attending classes. To motivate the students, Sacko has introduced a hybrid system of direct interactive sessions between teachers and students once a week and online classes on other days.
4th Oct 2021 - Japan Today


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

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Virtual and hybrid teaching has many teachers relying on tech tools

Like many other professions, teachers’ jobs have become increasingly complex due to the pandemic. This year, many students are back in the classroom, but teachers have to constantly adapt if there is virus exposure. There aren’t specific guidelines on how best to teach students using the many technologies that are available. Teachers are also struggling to keep students engaged while learning new tech tools that are required to make online classes successful. Some teachers have created YouTube videos that students can watch when they need help with a lesson. They’re using Google Forms to give students a quick and easy way to submit assignments. Others are using Whiteboard. Fi, which gives students individual digital whiteboards, game website Math Playground for math competitions, and online learning tool Quizlet to make custom sets of virtual flash cards. Teachers also are learning how best to use the capabilities within video software
2nd Oct 2021 - The Washington Post

How did virtual learning impact youth?

Virtual schooling during the pandemic presented challenges that might have long-term effects on children and adolescents, according to Karen Dineen Wagner, MD, PhD. Wagner discussed findings from numerous studies looking at the well-being of youth and their parents as a result of virtual instruction at the 2021 Annual Psychiatric TimesTM World CME Conference. Wagner reported there have been increases in anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, conduct problems, pro-social behavioral problems, sleep issues, and worsening of preexisting mental health disorders. This, in turn, resulted in increased mental health related visits to the emergency department.
2nd Oct 2021 - Contemporary Pediatrics


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

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This Is What It's Like Being a Teacher with MS During the Pandemic

Erin Vore is a high school English teacher who lives with MS. She talks about her experience of working remotely as a teacher: "Only a few of us worked remotely, and while I know many people found teaching over Zoom to be tedious, isolating, and full of challenges both big and small, I had a wholly positive experience. I am not camera-shy, I keep things lively, and on the whole, my students responded to that. The peace of mind from getting to teach from home isn’t lost on me."
30th Sep 2021 - Healthline

Zoom edtech chief: Universities face digital disruption investment

The “Zoom Boom” of the last 18 months has seen more of us work and play in video calls, leading to a much-discussed sea change in employment and entertainment. But the impact of virtual conferencing on the future of education will be just as great as on the future of work, and there’s growing investment in edtech as a result. Former head of public sector for Zoom in UK and Ireland Jane Ross believes technology that is introduced into classrooms will need to add to the learning experience and be simple to use so that teachers can focus on teaching. She also believes Zoom’s edtech presence goes beyond children and lockdown-afflicted schools.
30th Sep 2021 - Verdict


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

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The new era of education is high-tech and high-touch

We’re starting to see the promise of digital learning take hold; teachers can use software to differentiate and personalize instruction. But we can’t stop here. Over the last 18 months, “technology” has been a synonym for “virtual,” where many kids felt isolated, sitting behind a device and craving connection with their peers and teachers. We now have the opportunity to take what we have learned and use it to usher in a new era of education — one that is powered to a meaningful degree by technology yet centered on human connection, and one where we reject the false choice between engaging software and an incredible teacher. As we return to school this fall, we can blend the best of technology with the best of the classroom experience.
29th Sep 2021 - TechCrunch


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

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The post-pandemic future of college? It's on campus and online.

Across America, students are back on campus and online at the same time. They like having the choice. For many, education is defined less by the mode of instruction than by how well it meets their needs. Despite the hoopla this fall over the return to campus, what was considered a normal academic routine at many colleges and universities is gone. In its place is emerging a remarkable blend of teaching methods that are face-to-face, online or a hybrid of the two. This trend, born of necessity earlier in the pandemic, may outlast it.
28th Sep 2021 - The Washington Post


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

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Surge in remote learning overwhelms L.A. public schools

A surge of parents seeking remote learning for their children has overwhelmed public school programs in Los Angeles, causing teacher shortages, administrative snafus and enrollment delays that in some cases have kept students out of school for weeks. The L.A. Unified School District program, called City of Angels, was an already existing independent study program that was adapted this school year to serve parents unable or unwilling to return their children to in-person classes due to ongoing pandemic-related safety concerns. The program has been sought out by many parents who have children with special needs as well as health issues.
27th Sep 2021 - Los Angeles Times

Huge New Demand for Remote Learning, Rethinking Bans on Virtual Options

During the spring, COVID-19 cases were on the decline, vaccines were being distributed and most states made bold commitments to fully reopen schools in the fall. In a bipartisan rush to incentivize in-person learning, some states restricted virtual options. However, this fall, districts across the country are pivoting to create remote options for families facing complicated health decisions and those not yet comfortable sending their unvaccinated children back to school. Still, these options are not available to all students. And many districts are setting enrollment caps on online classes.
27th Sep 2021 - Yahoo News

Why lockdown and distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic are likely to increase the social class achievement gap

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced teachers and parents to quickly adapt to a new educational context: distance learning. Teachers developed online academic material while parents taught the exercises and lessons provided by teachers to their children at home. Considering that the use of digital tools in education has dramatically increased during this crisis, and it is set to continue, there is a pressing need to understand the impact of distance learning. Taking a multidisciplinary view, we argue that by making the learning process rely more than ever on families, rather than on teachers, and by getting students to work predominantly via digital resources, school closures exacerbate social class academic disparities. To address this burning issue, we propose an agenda for future research and outline recommendations to help parents, teachers and policymakers to limit the impact of the lockdown on social-class-based academic inequality.
27th Sep 2021 - Nature.com


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 27th Sep 2021

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Baltimore City Public Schools Has A Plan To Help Students Who Struggle With Online Learning

It’s been one of the biggest impacts of the pandemic, students struggling in school because of online learning. In Baltimore City, public school leaders have a plan to help those students who have fallen behind get back on track. Baltimore City Public Schools said its plan to help students includes personalized learning plans which look at the academic performance for each of their 77,800 students. The district said the extensive plan also seeks to gather details from students and their family about students’ personal needs. School officials also said there will also be more tutoring options and every school will now have a tutoring partner.
25th Sep 2021 - CBS Baltimore


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

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Data shows drop in work covered via remote- learning by deprived children compared to affluent kids

In England, children in schools serving the most disadvantaged pupils covered fewer learning materials when studying at home than their peers in schools with more affluent intakes, an analysis suggests. The difference between remote and in-class learning during the pandemic was 'particularly acute' at schools with a higher proportion of pupils eligible for free school meals, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said. Remote learners at these schools covered a smaller fraction of in-class learning materials than remote learners at schools in less deprived areas.
23rd Sep 2021 - Daily Mail

Asynchronous Learning Gains Popularity Following Pandemic Education Adjustments

A year and a half of online and hybrid learning showed the nation that there is more than one way to learn. Many students found that online education suited their learning style and opted to stick with it even after classrooms reopened their doors. Virtual-only schools saw a rise in admissions, and traditional schools created their own permanently virtual options. With this shift to distance learning came an additional insight: School doesn’t need to be in session for eight hours a day, from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. In a poll of K–12 educators in August, a majority of respondents said that self-paced or asynchronous learning was the No. 1 element they would like to see carried into the classroom this school year. Students, too, have lauded the benefits of asynchronous learning
23rd Sep 2021 - EdTech Magazine: Focus on K-12

Bullying, racism and being 'different': Why some families are opting for remote learning regardless of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has provoked a public debate about the value of learning online for elementary school students. Much of this dialog has been negative, with a focus on the experiences that children are missing by not being a part of in-person classrooms. While this year's version of online learning must be contextualized as "emergency remote teaching,", a study found that many still found advantages to this format. Specifically, some students found the lack of bullying, peer pressure and social anxiety were a welcomed change that allowed them to better focus on learning.
23rd Sep 2021 - Phys.org


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

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Remote learning ‘partial substitute’ for classroom, with disadvantaged pupils hit hardest, analysis finds

In the UK, remote learning was “at best a partial substitute” for classroom lessons, with schools with more disadvantaged pupils particularly hard hit, according to new analysis. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that students on the whole covered “substantially less material” at home compared to peers physically in school. The difference between remote schooling and in-person learning was “particularly acute” in schools with more pupils eligible for free school meals, the ONS analysis found. “Remote learners at these schools covered a smaller fraction of in-class learning materials than remote learners at schools with a lower proportion of pupils eligible for free school meals,” the statistics body said.
22nd Sep 2021 - The Independent

University of Exeter and Learning on Screen launch virtual field trip software InVEnTA

The @UniofExeter and Learning on Screen (@LearnonScreen) are holding an online launch event of innovative software tool InVEnTA to the academic market on Friday 22 October 2021 at 3pm. Developed with support from Exeter's Education Incubator, InVEnTA (Interactive Virtual Environments for Teaching and Assessment) uses geospatial and visualisation technology to create and explore immersive free-roaming interactive virtual environments. It offers "virtual field trips" where students can visit locations such as the Arctic Circle or the Patagonian glacial sheets without leaving home.
22nd Sep 2021 - fenews.co.uk


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

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UK staff to gain right to request flexible working from day one

Employees in the UK will have the right to request flexible working from the moment they start a job, with companies obliged to explain their reasons if it is then refused, the government will propose in a consultation document this week. The plan would also oblige employers to respond to such requests more quickly, and is being billed as a major reshaping of the way people work in a post-pandemic world, making flexible work the default. But before the release of the document, unions are warning that the proposals do not go far enough and that rather than obliging people to ask for flexible working, job adverts should set out what sort of options are available for the role.
21st Sep 2021 - The Guardian

Virtual medical school: Burnout and a path forward

Medical students share their experience of virtual learning at medical school: "Our cohort of 140 students had imagined embarking on this path toward physicianhood together but, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, we started several time zones apart. Our class started school eager to connect with others answering the call to medicine but, like many professionals who were forced to pivot to remote work during the pandemic, we were confronted with new, lonelier routines. Instead of learning how to use stethoscopes by listening to each others’ hearts in Columbia’s high-tech simulation rooms, we’ve struggled to learn medicine by watching YouTube videos alone. Day after day, interactions via black Zoom boxes have displaced forming real connections with classmates and teachers and distanced us from our budding profession and passion. This disconnection has led to burnout."
21st Sep 2021 - STAT

Zoo charity partners with tech firm on virtual learning experience for children

The Zoological Society of East Anglia (ZSEA) has teamed up with edtech firm KidsLoop on the launch of a brand-new virtual learning experience for children, focused on the theme of nature and conservation. The online club is the first of its kind in Europe, providing a fully immersive experience for children through interactive activities, animated video and recorded footage from the zoo. Families can currently participate in the learning club from home, but from early 2022 the platform will be rolled out to schools across the country, supporting teachers in integrating conservation- and nature-based topics in their lessons
21st Sep 2021 - Education Technology


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

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What will Covid-19 mean for Technology Enhanced Learning in our beloved FE sector?

Jamie Heywood, Academic Developer, Anglia Ruskin University, writes about digital pedagogy. "As an FE teacher educator, I am particularly curious on what digital pedagogy will look like when our Colleges reopen, our staff rooms are full, and our students are back in the F2F classroom (however long that may be). Digital pedagogy can be defined as the approach and method of digital elements to change ways of delivering teaching and learning. It is more than just the use of digital technologies and rather a more encompassing approach in how teaching practice is shaped, influenced and approached using digital elements."
20th Sep 2021 - fenews.co.uk


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

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Ed Tech Access and Competency Make Virtual Learning Options Equitable

Many factors go into a family’s decision to learn virtually or in person. For example, some students have found their niche in online learning, while for others the pandemic proved their need to learn in a classroom. A more logistical challenge for many K–12 students, though, is digital equity. Students should be able to choose their learning environments based on the former consideration, although many are forced to pick based on the latter. When students don’t have access to devices and the internet, or competency using educational technology, it may feel as though the choice is being made for them.
19th Sep 2021 - EdTech Magazine

Singapore to Move Students to Virtual Classes Before Exams

Singapore will move students through grades one to five -- typically 7 to 11 years old -- back to virtual learning as older ones take their national examinations later this month as a precaution against viral transmission. The move is aimed at protecting children who aren’t medically eligible for vaccination, as well as reduce the number of students placed on quarantine orders or leave of absence prior to the exams, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing said in a Facebook post.
19th Sep 2021 - Bloomberg


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

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New data offer sense of how COVID expanded online learning

It won't be clear for a good while whether and how much the last year's grand, unplanned experiment with remote learning has permanently altered the landscape for using technology to deliver college instruction. A first step, though, is getting good data on how patterns shifted during the last year -- and that is beginning to arrive. New data from the Education Department's National Center for Education Statistics, and additional information from the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA), offer an initial picture of how the COVID-19 pandemic reshaped postsecondary enrollments patterns last fall.
16th Sep 2021 - Inside Higher Ed

Most parents believe kids are falling behind from virtual learning, study shows

This fall many students are back in the classroom for the first time in 18 months. But a new nationwide poll shows many parents are worried about the pandemic’s impact on their child’s education from online learning. “I’m not optimistic about how she’s going to catch up to the level that she needs to be in at this school level, seventh grade honors,” said Cassandra Cottingham, a middle school parent from Michigan. Cottingham said her middle school daughter struggled during online learning and she isn’t the only one. A new USA Today/IPSOS poll shows 55 percent of parents believe online learning caused their child to fall behind. Brown University professor Kenneth Wong said the majority of kids are about four to six months behind.
16th Sep 2021 - Boston 25 News


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

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What Will Online Learning Look Like in 10 Years? Zoom Has Some Ideas

This week at Zoom’s annual conference, Zoomtopia, a trio of education-focused Zoom employees speculated wildly about what hybrid Zoom learning might look like 10 years from now, given the warp speed advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning expected.
15th Sep 2021 - EdSurge

Behind the Curtains of Virtual Classrooms Across Nations

India Currents spoke to teachers to understand the challenges they have been facing since being forced into online classrooms in April 2020. While parents have been raising concerns and the government is busy formulating rules and policies on online teaching, the teaching fraternity has been stoically reinventing and upgrading themselves, notwithstanding personal hardships. “First of all, the pandemic forced us, teachers, into technology. It was very difficult – especially for the senior ones – to take that path, but there was no choice,” says Mohua Gupta, primary school teacher, BD Memorial International School, Kolkata, India.
15th Sep 2021 - India Currents

Tips on how to create a successful Virtual Learning Environment

There is much in the public domain about the projected growth of the online learning or e-learning market globally. Across both the education and workplace learning sectors, there has been a significant adoption of online learning over the last decade and increased understanding of the benefits a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) can provide in learning retention rates, learner engagement and efficiency in delivery. The pandemic has only accelerated this pace of adoption and many organisations and education institutions now recognise that success is much more than simply having a VLE (also termed a learning management system, LMS or e-learning platform), but that “the challenge lies in how the platform is being used, rather than the technology itself”.
15th Sep 2021 - Moodle


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

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Many of the changes wrought by the pandemic helped the disabled. They're not ready to give them up

Some disabled people say they're hesitant about going back in person and want to keep virtual services that began during the pandemic. But the practicality of whether that's possible remains uncertain, and other disabled people say they want to return to in person activities. Changes to which virtual services are offered also impact local schools. People with disabilities are among those whose households have the lowest incomes, and many students lacked the technology and access to participate in virtual learning. For example, a lack of closed captioning or interpreters continues to be a problem, and screens are not always useful for the visually impaired. But despite the challenges, "virtual life is generally positive for people who have mobility issues because it alleviates the stress that can come with traveling," said Rachel London, executive director of the MDDC.
14th Sep 2021 - Medical Xpress


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

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Online learning falls short in Covid era

Even before Covid, online learning was touted as an opportunity for all students, who could access pools of knowledge and information. How come the platform touted to be the future of education for all has turned into such an unsatisfactory experience for many? The problem is not confined to Thailand. Other countries have found a way to solve the problem such as lending computers at home or paying extra money for families to afford online education. Others provide tailor-made home visits to help students or create community centres for students with fewer means to study. These solutions have not taken hold in Thailand.
13th Sep 2021 - Bangkok Post


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

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University of Hertfordshire responds to petition calling for end to virtual learning

The University of Hertfordshire has responded to a petition signed by more than 400 people after students found a significant amount of classes would remain online this year. Students at the university have started to receive their first timetables for the new academic year, and some claimed they only have online classes scheduled. The university has said timetables have not yet been finalised, and “all students will receive in-person, on-campus” teaching. They added the decision to continue online teaching will allow students to benefit from more flexibility. The petition comes as Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said that universities should be teaching in person where possible.
12th Sep 2021 - Hertfordshire Mercury

Rethinking the improvement of teaching and learning in a virtual environment through unseen observation

With institutions having to make a rapid transition to online delivery, Covid-19 has left an indelible mark on the educational landscape. Understandably, some are concerned about how the quality of teaching and learning is being assured, along with supporting teachers to adapt and thrive in this new environment. How can this be done remotely? ‘Unseen observation’ is an innovative method that is increasingly being embraced by a growing number of colleges and schools, with practitioners acknowledging its positive impact on attitudes to observation and reporting significant improvements in their critical reflection on their professional practice, subsequently feeding into improvements in their teaching and their students’ learning.
12th Sep 2021 - fenews.co.uk


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

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How a community of practice can foster virtual collaboration

Globalisation and technological developments are changing the private and working lives of students and educators. It is now essential to be able to use technology to collaborate in culturally diverse international teams. Collaborative designs such as online co-teaching or peer learning can support this development. But how can we foster virtual collaboration within and across higher education institutions? To answer this question the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) developed the International Virtual Academic Collaboration (IVAC) programme. IVAC gives instructors at German institutions the opportunity to develop virtual exchange courses in cooperation with international partners.
9th Sep 2021 - Times Higher Education

Remote learning setting back millions of S Asian children: UNICEF

Hundreds of millions of children in South Asia are suffering because their schools have been closed due to coronavirus but they lack online devices and connections for remote learning, UNICEF says. Authorities should prioritise the safe reopening of schools because, even before the pandemic, nearly 60 percent of children in the densely populated region were unable to read and understand a simple text by the age of 10, the UN children’s agency said. “School closures in South Asia have forced hundreds of millions of children and their teachers to transition to remote learning in a region with low connectivity and device affordability,” said George Laryea-Adjei, UNICEF’s regional director for South Asia.
9th Sep 2021 - AlJazeera


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

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Large number of children deprived of virtual learning, UNICEF survey shows

In Nepal, despite claims by the government to have increased students’ access to virtual learning platforms, an overwhelming number of students still remain deprived of virtual learning opportunities. A survey carried out by UNICEF across the seven provinces shows textbooks are the only source of information for 63 percent of children ever since the country went into a lockdown in March last year to stem the spread of Covid-19. The number is higher in public schools with 70.5 percent of students relying solely on the textbooks while it is 61. 5 percent for the private schools. The report showed only 27 percent students have access to online classes — 18 percent at community schools and 43.5 percent at private schools.
8th Sep 2021 - The Kathmandu Post

COVID remote learning eroded mental health by race, age, income, data indicate

A study in JAMA Network Open reveals a small link between COVID-19–related school closures and worse child mental health, particularly among older and Black and Hispanic students and those from low-income families. The researchers said that a host of factors related to remote education could chip away at children's mental health, including isolation, decreased access to mental health services, loss of free and reduced-cost meals, disrupted routines, decreased physical activity, lack of structure, stress due to technological limitations, and lack of identification of abuse and neglect. For racial minorities and students from low-income families, the interruption of their schooling may be compounded by racism, poverty, food insecurity, and home instability.
8th Sep 2021 - CIDRAP


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

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What young kids say worked - and didn’t work - for them during virtual learning

A Ph.D. student in learning sciences and a math education researcher who believes that young children are perceptive, reflective and brilliant, embarked on a project to collect children’s stories of schooling during the pandemic. 'Throughout 2020, I talked to 30 children, ages 5-8, across gender, race and ethnicity, enrolled in public and private, urban and suburban schools throughout the Chicago area, about their recent school experiences. The focus of our conversations was on their math learning specifically, but the takeaways are much broader. Children’s stories of what they missed about being physically in school, and what they didn’t, painted a complex picture of joy and frustration, relief and stress.'
7th Sep 2021 - The Conversation

How a communications app has helped digitise education in Nepal

The Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdowns have caused one of the biggest disruptions for formal education in Nepal. As the pandemic grew, the Nepali government attempted to digitise education by providing educational classes on radio and television but virtual classrooms turned out to be the most effective means to continue learning. InGrails, a software company, started Veda as a communications app to connect educational institutions with students and parents back in 2015. Today, the software solution provides the backbone for digital education for more than 700 schools (with 1.2 million regular users) across Nepal.
7th Sep 2021 - The Kathmandu Post

Northwest Arkansas demands for virtual learning options continue to grow

The covid-19 pandemic has changed education, leading some Northwest Arkansas school districts to permanently expand the virtual learning options they offer, administrators say. Districts featured a variety of in-person, virtual and blended learning opportunities for the 2020-21 school year to help mitigate the spread of the covid-19 virus, administrators said. Schools are fully open for traditional, in-person learning this school year, yet administrators note enrollment in virtual learning options is surpassing pre-pandemic numbers. Administrators say families choose virtual education for a variety of reasons, with the covid-19 pandemic being just one of them.
7th Sep 2021 - Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette


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

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With first week of school done, parents and lawmakers continue to press D.C. mayor for a virtual option

With the first week of school completed, parents and elected officials in D.C. are still ramping up calls to for the mayor to allow more families to opt in to virtual learning. They say they are anxious about children who are not vaccinated against the coronavirus learning in school buildings that are operating at full capacity and that the city’s recently eased health guidance for schools — which aligns with CDC recommendations — make little sense as the virus’s more contagious delta variant continues to drive an uptick in cases. It’s a shift from last year, when the District’s plans to offer in-person learning changed repeatedly because of public pressure from parents and teachers.
6th Sep 2021 - MSN.com

After Covid-19 Lockdowns, Children Struggle to Rekindle Close Friendships

Children need to share experiences such as school lunchtimes, sports practices and hanging out for close friendships to thrive. Those things went away during the pandemic. Months into virtual school last year, Elyssa Katz witnessed her son Noah, age 9, start to lose interest in his best friend. Since the two couldn’t see each other as often, it was harder for them to keep in touch; she worried he felt lonely without his go-to friend by his side. However their next playdate was awkward and they had forgotten how to play together
6th Sep 2021 - The Wall Street Journal

Virtual classrooms need to be more imaginative: Sudha Murthy

Author and Chairperson of Infosys Foundation, Sudha Murthy feels that the virtual classes being held by schools need an overhaul in order to make them more interesting, and children more receptive. “What we are witnessing right now is just a ‘translation’ of a physical classroom into a virtual one, something which is not working at all. We need to improvise and use our imagination to ensure that children receive what is being taught and do not get bored,” she explains. A committee comprising child psychologists, education experts and sociologists needs to come together to devise a teaching methodology
6th Sep 2021 - The Statesman

Home learning experiences through the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a monumental blow to the education of English school children. Over the past 18 months, English school pupils experienced two long periods of nationwide school closures. Even when schools were open outside these periods, in-school provision was hampered by social distancing protocols, staff shortages and self-isolation. There is growing evidence that disruption during the pandemic has undermined children’s education and increased inequalities between those from disadvantaged backgrounds and their better-off peers. The findings of this report can help shape policies aimed at helping students ‘catch up’ as schools return to more familiar modes of education delivery, as well as ensuring appropriate access to education in a likely future of continued disruption because of self-isolation
6th Sep 2021 - ifs.org.uk


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

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For many Michigan colleges, virtual learning is here to stay. That's dividing students

In Michigan, more than a year after colleges and universities were forced to offer nearly all classes online because of the COVID-19 pandemic, some schools are continuing to offer significant numbers of hybrid and online courses as an alternative to in-person classes. Officials say offering fewer in-person courses is part of the future for some higher education institutions, a change that is being driven not just by the pandemic but by student demand. "We have always wanted to offer courses online," said Ora Pescovitz, president of Oakland University, where nearly a third, or 29%, of classes are being offered virtually this semester. "One of the things we learned from the COVID year was that (online) was a good modality for the courses themselves, and it was the preferred way of learning and teaching (for some courses)."
4th Sep 2021 - The Detroit News


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

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Schools reopening in India despite fears from some parents

More students in India will be able to step inside a classroom for the first time in nearly 18 months, as authorities gave the green light to partially reopen more schools despite apprehension from some parents and signs that infections are picking up again. Schools and colleges in at least six more states are reopening in a gradual manner with health measures in place throughout September
2nd Sep 2021 - HeraldScotland

French children are back to school, wearing masks

Twelve million children in France went back to school Thursday for the new academic year, wearing face masks as part of rules aimed at slowing down the spread of the coronavirus in the country. In France as in other European countries, many fear the end of the summer break will see a new surge in COVID-19 infections fueled by the highly contagious delta variant. French media cite the example of Scotland and Germany where reports of new cases increased after schools reopened. France is one among countries around the world that have maintained the highest rate of in-person classes during the COVID-19 crisis.
2nd Sep 2021 - Associated Press


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

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College students say they're 'cautiously optimistic' about heading back into the classroom after feeling isolated for over a year

Colleges students across the US are heading back to campus for the new school year. Many students are slated to attend in-person classes after 18 months of virtual or hybrid learning. Students who spoke to Insider said they were optimistic about in-person classes, but anxious around continued uncertainties.
1st Sep 2021 - Yahoo News

Virtual learning frustration: Parents wonder if college students are getting money's worth

Many college students in the Bay Area are back to school in person. However, some parents are questioning if their kids are getting the quality education they're paying for. One San Jose mom whose son attends a UC school doesn’t understand why many of his classes are virtual given vaccine and masking requirements. It’s not completely back to normal. Many universities including the UC and CSU systems require students and staff to wear masks indoors and be vaccinated or get tested. Classes are also online, hybrid and in person.
1st Sep 2021 - KTVU


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

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National Museums Liverpool expands series of 'Virtual Classrooms' for schools

Created for schools for the new academic year, National Museums Liverpool’s interactive curriculum-linked workshops – led by museum experts – bring learning to life and inspire the imaginations of 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.  
31st Aug 2021 - The Guide Liverpool


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 31st Aug 2021

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Remote learning helped parents and teachers relate to each other, study suggests

The COVID-19 pandemic caused major upheaval, sending students home to remote learning and leaving teachers and parents scrambling to adapt. But it also created the opportunity for a deeper appreciation of their respective roles and challenges, according to a study led by a University of Alberta researcher. Whether it was teachers witnessing parents deal with pandemic-caused stresses like job loss, or parents struggling to help their children with at-home lessons, the situations people found themselves in gave everyone a chance to empathize
30th Aug 2021 - Phys.org

How Teachers Are Taking Lessons Learned From Virtual School Back to the Classroom

In the past 18 months, educators across the U.S. learned how to adjust their instruction to online learning environments; many had to completely rethink how they would approach their content to meet the needs of all learners. Digital Promise recently spoke with educators from Lone Star Middle School in Nampa, Idaho, an HP Spotlight School. Thanks to district-provided HP Laptops and digital hotspots, learning never stopped at Lone Star throughout the pandemic. Now, teachers are preparing to take the lessons learned during virtual learning back into the classroom.
30th Aug 2021 - EdSurge

Texas House works to fund limited virtual learning to prevent Delta Variants from returning to normal at school

Texas legislators have been struggling for months with the expansion of virtual learning, as pandemics have proven to be a threat to families who are still worried about sending their children back to the classroom. Texas House has now approved Senate Bill 15 with 115-3 votes. The first approval of the bill will give parents some peace of mind that there may be more virtual learning options as the pandemic again weighs on state resources.
30th Aug 2021 - Texasnewstoday.com


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

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Virtual learning about nature leads to outdoor experiences for nursery children

The Virtual Nature School (VNS) is a non-profit programme created in response to the needs of children and families during the Covid-19 pandemic. The programme was set up during the first lockdown in March 2020 to provide home learning support for non-keyworker families, and initially funded by not-for-profit organisation Living Classrooms. VNS is led by Claire Warden, manager of Auchlone Nursery and the creator of Living Classrooms and Mind Stretchers Academy.
29th Aug 2021 - Nursery World


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 27th Aug 2021

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Unicef points out effects of missing in-person classes on Filipino kids

The Philippines is among only five countries in the world that have not resumed in-person classes since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared last year, and the prolonged closure has infringed on the right to learn of more than 27 million Filipino students, the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) said. Citing the Unicef report and that of the United Nations Development Program, the National Economic and Development Authority said “remote education may worsen inequality as some households have limited access to reliable internet and necessary devices.”
26th Aug 2021 - Inquirer.net

Teachers Assess What Students Lost During Virtual Learning and How to Lessen Those Gaps

As students across D.C. return to the classroom this month, News4 asked teachers to assess what their students missed out on most during virtual school and how they will begin to make up those losses. Most said they plan to spend the first few weeks of the school year by assessing the academic level of each student. They said that's something they do every year, but they know those assessments will be even more critical now, and some worry the gaps they find between students may be larger. "Our biggest fear is that there's going to be a student going to the next level who's not ready for it," said Ilana Hand, a high school teacher in Fairfax County, Virginia. She said virtual tutoring could certainly be helpful for students who need extra help going forward, but for daily learning, it allows too many unknowns.
26th Aug 2021 - NBC4 Washington


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

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Virtual Learning Campus launched for Higher Students across Dumfries and Galloway

Secondary schools in the southwest of Scotland, led by Dumfries and Galloway, are working together to provide a more equitable curriculum for pupils in the senior phase through a virtual learning campus. 140 senior pupils, including 63 from Dumfries and Galloway, have started to study for their Advanced Highers through remote learning. Courses are being delivered through @South-West Connect, e-Sgoil and Glasgow Caledonian University Advanced Higher Hub. They will will mainly be delivered digitally but face-to-face or lab time will be built into the course plans when needed.
25th Aug 2021 - dgwgo.com


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

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Study: One year later, students and educators in Asia Pacific are beginning to crack the code for online learning

As schools cross the one-year mark since the rapid shift to virtual classrooms, a new study has found that both students and educators see enormous potential in online learning, but are just beginning to enjoy its advantages. The biggest barriers to success in online learning have not been a lack of technology access, but low use of available solutions and social challenges stemming from extended periods of remote learning.
24th Aug 2021 - Taiwan News

Faculty members describe a mix of hope and fear as they return to classrooms during delta spike

With students returning to college campuses across the U.S. for in-person classes after a year of pandemic disruptions, many faculty members describe a mix of hope and fear as they weigh the fast-changing science of covid-19. With the help of coronavirus vaccines, this fall was supposed to be the joyful return to campus traditions after so many months of isolation, restrictions and stuttering Zoom connections. But now many feel uncertain that resumption of normal routines is safe. “It’s really unknown what will happen next week,” when classes resume in person, said Eric Chicken, a professor of statistics and the president of the faculty senate at Florida State University. “It’s a big concern for faculty.”
24th Aug 2021 - The Washington Post


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

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What Do Students Think About Reading on Screens? Boring!

Naomi Baron Mon, August 23, 2021, 7:01 PM·5 min read As schools strategize their fall opening, COVID-19 challenges are never far from the classroom door: Will in-person classes be safe? What if schools need to pivot back to virtual classrooms and overwhelmingly digital learning materials? But another challenge also belongs on schools’ planning radar: How to regain a balance between digital and print reading. New research underscores the critical role of print in students’ own eyes, especially given their prolonged slog with distance learning because of the pandemic. After so much enforced reading on screen, students’ perspective about digital reading can be summed up in one word: boring.
23rd Aug 2021 - Yahoo News

How Will Delta Affect Schools?

Since early summer, three pandemic clocks have been ticking. The first pertains to the coronavirus’s Delta variant, which has sent daily case numbers soaring more than tenfold since June. The second clock is more predictable: The school year starts, as it always does, in late August or early September. The third clock counts down to the authorization of vaccines for children under 12, which was optimistically supposed to come this fall. After the FDA pushed for a larger trial to collect more safety data in kids, it will likely take longer.
23rd Aug 2021 - The Atlantic

Dubai private schools to end all distance learning on October 3

There will be a gradual return from the first day of term on August 29, when children can return to classrooms or learn from home. Five weeks into the term, in-person classes will be obligatory for all, the Dubai Government Media Office said. Officials said 96 per cent of Dubai's private schoolteachers have now been vaccinated, and that 70 per cent of children aged 12 to 17 have received coronavirus shots.
23rd Aug 2021 - The National


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

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Make online teaching a catalyst for better classroom teaching and learning

Online instruction en masse has gone through its trial by fire for almost two years and has proved its viability. Sure, it has drawbacks — screen fatigue, family fracture, unequal access to technology, widening performance gaps — but, by and large, remote education succeeded as a practical and scalable alternative to in-person teaching. Besides, there were advantages to virtual classrooms: “anytime, anywhere” flexibility, dispensing with the need to get ready and arrive in schools on time, and similar school-day overheads. Second, and more importantly, online teaching has raised the bar for classroom teaching. If online teaching was good, in-person teaching must be better, a fervent wish of parents heightened by the pandemic.
22nd Aug 2021 - The Mercury News


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

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Virtual Learning Was Better for Some Kids. Here's What Teachers Learned From Them

Most students didn’t make much progress—or flailed—in online learning during the pandemic. But a subset who may have struggled with in-person learning in the past actually thrived. Now many of those students, some of whom have learning and thinking differences or mental health conditions like social anxiety, must return to the traditional classroom, an environment that did not work for them before COVID. So educators around the country are thinking about how they can adjust their practice, or their approach with individual kids, to help these students retain the success they experienced online now that they are back in school.
19th Aug 2021 - Education Week


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

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Virtual learning numbers vary across province as boards prepare for back-to-school

Ontario's largest school board says 14 per cent of its students have opted to learn remotely come September, as the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic takes hold. The Toronto District School Board's numbers are roughly in line with its neighbour to the west, the Peel District School Board, where about 18 per cent of elementary students and 20 per cent of high schoolers have opted for virtual learning. But some other boards are reporting vastly different numbers.
18th Aug 2021 - CTV News


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

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COVID: S. Carolina school district back to virtual classes

COVID-19 cases have prompted the largest South Carolina school district already back open to return to virtual lessons as students in more than 60 other districts prepared to return to class. Pickens County school officials made the decision at an emergency meeting Friday, after nine days of in-class learning for the system’s15,000-plus students, the Greenville News reported. “We don’t know if it’s safe to continue as is,” and other districts should pay attention, district spokesman Darian Byrd said during the meeting.
16th Aug 2021 - Associated Press


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

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Students who are more adaptable do best in remote learning – and it’s a skill we can teach

The speed and scale of the shift to remote online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic has really tested students’ adaptability. Our study of more than 1,500 students at nine Australian high schools during 2020 found strong links between their level of adaptability and how they fared with online learning. Students with higher adaptability were more confident about online learning in term 2. And they had made greater academic progress by term 4. The important thing about these findings is that adaptability is a teachable skill. Later in this article we discuss how to teach students to be more adaptable.
16th Aug 2021 - The Conversation

'Hybrid learning’ — teaching kids in-person and online at the same time — robs children of quality education

With an eye on back-to-school during the COVID-19 pandemic, some education advocates in the Greater Toronto Area’s York and Peel regions have been calling for school boards to say no to hybrid learning. In May, the York Region District School Board announced it would be adopting a hybrid model where by “students attending face-to-face and students attending remotely will be taught simultaneously by the same educators.” The Peel District School Board plans to follow the same model in secondary schools. Other boards across the province are weighing options now that families have opted for in-person or virtual schooling. What these decisions don’t show is that the hybrid learning plan for schooling in the COVID-19 pandemic is more about politics than what’s best for kids.
16th Aug 2021 - The Conversation Africa

Some kids don't want to return to in-person schooling

As schools reopen across the US, many children are excited to get back into classrooms with their friends. But for some others, especially kids with social anxiety, online learning was a welcome respite from bullying and the stress of trying to fit in. For them returning to school, with its classroom dynamics and cafeteria social pressures, can feel daunting. The pandemic has taken a toll on children in different ways. A recent study found that rates of depression and anxiety among youth doubled during the pandemic compared to pre-pandemic levels. After an unprecedented year filled with uncertainties, a return to pre-pandemic life -- whatever that may look like -- is overwhelming for a lot of people, said Robyn Mehlenbeck, clinical psychologist.
16th Aug 2021 - CNN


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

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Exploring World Language Classes with Educational Technology

Spanish and STEAM teacher Rachelle Dene Poth shares how she uses invigorating tech lessons to immerse students in language and culture. Using the technology at their disposal to choose the way they want to engage with the class materials during virtual and in-person classes creates a meaningful learning environment for students. They are able to process and retain the material in a way that makes sense to them, making it easier to apply it later.
14th Aug 2021 - EdTech Magazine: Focus on K-12

Pandemic spurs boom in virtual offerings for US schools

Despite the challenges of distance learning during the pandemic, public school systems across the U.S. are setting up virtual academies in growing numbers to accommodate families who feel remote instruction works best for their children. A majority of the 38 state education departments that responded to an Associated Press survey this summer indicated additional permanent virtual schools and programs will be in place in the coming school year. Parent demand is driven in some measure by concern about the virus, but also a preference for the flexibility and independence that comes with remote instruction. And school districts are eager to maintain enrollment after seeing students leave for virtual charters, home schooling, private schools and other options -- declines that could lead to less funding.
14th Aug 2021 - Associated Press


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

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Pandemic spurs boom in virtual offerings for US schools

Despite the challenges of distance learning during the pandemic, public school systems across the U.S. are setting up virtual academies in growing numbers to accommodate families who feel remote instruction works best for their children. A majority of the 38 state education departments that responded to an Associated Press survey this summer indicated additional permanent virtual schools and programs will be in place in the coming school year. Parent demand is driven in some measure by concern about the virus, but also a preference for the flexibility and independence that comes with remote instruction. And school districts are eager to maintain enrollment after seeing students leave for virtual charters, home schooling, private schools and other options -- declines that could lead to less funding.
12th Aug 2021 - Yahoo Finance

38 States Setting Up Permanent Virtual Schools After Pandemic Sparked Interest

Thirty-eight states have approved permanent virtual learning schools after the COVID-19 pandemic led to increased interest in at-home learning, the Associated Press reported. The AP obtained the data via a poll conducted with state departments of education, though it was unclear how many of the agencies answered the query from the media outlet. "It is the future. Some of these states might be denying it now, but soon they will have to get in line because they will see other states doing it and they will see the advantages of it," said American Association of School Administrators Executive Director Dan Domenech.
12th Aug 2021 - MSN.com

Blended learning is so bland − we need to punk things up

Universities have survived more than a year of the pandemic, with its smorgasbord of severe trials: the move online, questions concerning our value proposition and price points, an accelerated imperative to create innovative ways to educate digitally, and pressures to deliver greater efficiency at scale. Blended learning has been presented as a panacea. But there’s a real risk that universities will lose the colour and texture of subject disciplines, compelling USPs and market differentiators in pursuit of a cookie-cutter approach to education that revolves around platforms with off-the-shelf solutions and templates for uploading content. We need to think more seriously about a comprehensive multimedia approach to university education
12th Aug 2021 - Times Higher Education

ASCD Launches New Virtual Learning Community

On June 24, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development announced the launch of a new virtual community. The goal of the ASCD Professional Learning Community is to connect educators from all corners of the country in a “vibrant, collaborative online space for professional growth and exploration,” according to the press release. The platform is designed to make connections among more than 10,000 educators. Aimed at supporting professional development, members will find forums with discussion topics, advice and opportunities to network. ASCD launched the resource during its annual conference this year, an event with more than 4,000 virtual participants. The organization plans to continue adding community groups for educators over the next couple of months.
12th Aug 2021 - EdTech Magazine


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CPS parents say they want remote learning option, aren’t ready to send kids back for in-person school with delta variant surging

A group of Chicago Public Schools parents on Wednesday called on the district to provide a “serious” remote learning option as the highly transmissible delta variant drives a surge in COVID-19 cases in Chicago. CPS plans to welcome students back to classrooms for full-day in-person learning starting Aug. 30, except for a small group of “medically fragile” children accepted into the Virtual Academy. The parents who spoke out on Wednesday dismissed that new remote learning option as unsuitable because it’s only available to children with certain health conditions, and questions remain about how the program will work.
11th Aug 2021 - MSN.com

Some kids thrived in remote learning. Their parents look for options as in-person class resumes.

A new school model, born out of necessity due to COVID-19, proved to be the academic break one 9-year-old Burlington student needed to be successful. Remote learning engaged Nicole Twohig's son in ways that public- and private schools and home schooling hadn't. "It was amazing and perfect for him," Twohig said of the Edmunds Elementary School remote program which helped her son, who has a sensory processing disorder, thrive during the last school year. Because the Agency of Education is promoting a return to full in person instruction this fall, Chittenden County schools aren't offering the remote option again. But, parents are still asking for it
11th Aug 2021 - Burlington Free Press

6 high-school students on virtual learning in the pandemic

There's no denying education has been upended amid the coronavirus pandemic. For most of 2020, once-bustling hallways were silent; classes, proms, and graduation ceremonies were canceled or held online, with millions of students denied rights of passage that generations past cherished. Yahoo Finance spoke with six students from White Plains High School in Westchester County, NY, and got their thoughts on virtual learning, what it has been like going to school wearing masks, and their hopes for the 2021 school year and beyond.
11th Aug 2021 - Yahoo Finance


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

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After mixed experiences with distance learning, disabled California college students want flexibility

The 2020-21 academic year, featuring mostly distance learning, was a mixed bag for disabled students. Taking courses online was a struggle for some, such as students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, many of whom missed the structure of in-person classes. But there were also positive elements of distance learning for some students, including many with physical disabilities. With most classes held on Zoom, students said they appreciated that lectures were often recorded, allowing them to re-watch and catch up if they missed some or all of a class.
10th Aug 2021 - EdSource

Pandemic prompts changes in how future teachers are trained

Changes to standards and curricula happen slowly, but the pandemic is already leaving its fingerprints on the education of future teachers. Many U.S. educator preparation programs are incorporating more about digital tools, online instruction and mental and emotional wellness in their courses to reflect takeaways from the pandemic. While school system leaders are hoping to offer in-person instruction as widely as possible this year, experts say the emphasis on technology will have benefits regardless of the pandemic’s course. Across the country, teaching programs are giving more emphasis on how to plan and implement quality virtual learning.
10th Aug 2021 - Associated Press


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

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COVID-19 has widened Australia's educational digital divide. But one program is closing the gap

Heading into the pandemic, Anne Hampshire from The Smith Family knew remote learning would widen the digital divide. "With COVID, we were particularly concerned that students who were already struggling with literacy and numeracy might fall further behind," she said. In an Australian first, Anne Hampshire organised for tutors to reach about 100 students in two hours of literacy and numeracy schooling for six months. They wanted to see if overseas success stories using this model would work in Australia. The group selected students already behind their classmates prior to the pandemic — the average for numeracy was three years behind. The experiment found not only did the students stop falling further behind, but in literacy six out of 10 students caught up to or surpassed their classmates.
9th Aug 2021 - ABC.Net.au

Embracing virtual GCSEs

As the scope for digital learning continues to evolve, schools and educators alike are starting to recognise the true potential for the future of learning online and how it could add a new dimension in terms of providing support for children with specific individual needs and requirements. Experts are also considering how we might use learning platforms in the future to boost how we teach in the classroom, how we engage pupils using varied techniques and also how we can provide a more personalised approach to educating the young.
9th Aug 2021 - Education Technology

Schools Brace for More Cyberattacks After Record in 2020

Cyber criminals are targeting U.S. schools at an increasing rate after remote learning during the pandemic left them more vulnerable to hacks, and the risk shows no sign of abating as students and teachers head back to the classroom this month. The number of publicly disclosed computer attacks on schools has exploded since 2016 to a record 408 in 2020, according to the K-12 Security Information Exchange, a nonprofit that tracks such incidents, and those figures are almost certainly an undercount because many go unreported. While schools are opening back up across the country for in-person instruction, many are expected to retain virtual learning as an option and that means more access points for potential intrusion with financial consequences for districts that are already facing increased costs to bring students back.
9th Aug 2021 - Bloomberg


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Could video gaming hold the key to better learning?

In 2013, Shawn Young co-founded Classcraft, a technology platform that helps teachers “gamify” their classrooms. Instead of extrinsic motivators that coerce students into positive learning behaviors — for example, grades — Classcraft nurtures intrinsic motivators like those inherent in video games. Now is the perfect time for educators to also master self-determination theory, argues Barry Fishman, a professor of information and education at the University of Michigan, where he has built his own gamified-learning platform, called GradeCraft. The COVID-19 pandemic, he points out, has ushered in a new era of online learning that will likely endure in some fashion for decades to come. But online learning is a “terrible game,” Fishman says. “The reason it’s a terrible game is that it tries to replicate the basic elements of school but fails to recognize the added elements of difficulty,” explains Fishman
8th Aug 2021 - USA Today

Leading UK universities have refused to end online learning when autumn term starts

Prestigious UK universities including the London School of Economics (LSE) will continue with online lectures in the autumn term, sparking a backlash from former government ministers and students who are calling for refunds in £9,250 tuition fees. University College London, Imperial College as well as the University of Cardiff and the University of Leeds have also refused to have face-to-face teaching in lectures despite the government saying they can lift restrictions. The top universities said they will hold many of their seminars and lectures online and some will make mask-wearing mandatory on campus while others are enforcing social distancing rules.
8th Aug 2021 - Daily Mail

Edinburgh University students 'not guaranteed' face-to-face learning this year

Students at Edinburgh University are unlikely to return to lectures in person full-time at the start of the new academic year, according to a report. The institution is among 20 Russell Group universities named by a Times report as being ‘unable to guarantee’ how much face-to-face teaching time students will receive in the Autumn despite the lifting of almost all coronavirus restrictions from Monday. Instead Edinburgh, along with Warwick, Nottingham, Manchester and Glasgow, will offer “blended learning” - defined as a mixture of in-person teaching and online presentations.
8th Aug 2021 - edinburghlive


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

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The New Digital Classroom

For a year and a half, faculty members have worked quickly and tirelessly to learn about online teaching and online teaching tools. In fact, 91 percent of professors and instructors surveyed told The Chronicle their role required a greater understanding of technology than before. Now that colleges are reopening the classrooms that have long sat vacant, what will faculty do with their newfound knowledge? And how are colleges equipped to meet the needs of faculty who may wish to incorporate new teaching technologies in their physical classrooms? In this virtual forum, The New Digital Classroom, a panel of technologists and academic leaders will join Ian Wilhelm, an assistant managing editor at The Chronicle, for a discussion of the campus classroom’s digital future.
5th Aug 2021 - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Vatican Encourages Distance Learning

The Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education is urging ecclesiastical universities to expand distance learning to reach students who cannot attend in-person classes but can take courses online, the National Catholic Reporter reported. "By making use of distance learning, ecclesiastical faculties could broaden the academic formation they offer, to reach those who, in one way or another, are involved in evangelizing activities," the congregation said in new rules and guidelines for distance education. The new rules and guidelines, developed over three years, are intended to help ecclesiastical universities integrate distance learning into their programs.
5th Aug 2021 - Inside Higher Ed

Schools Expected to Leave Virtual Learning Behind in the Fall, but the Delta Variant Is Forcing a Change in Plans

Public school leaders in Des Moines, Iowa had planned on teaching all their elementary school students face-to-face this fall. But weeks before classes are set to begin, the district’s youngest students remain ineligible for vaccination against COVID-19, Iowa schools are prohibited from requiring students to wear masks in class, and the Delta variant is spreading rapidly. That combination of challenges led the Des Moines School Board to vote Tuesday to offer a virtual learning option for elementary school families who are concerned about in-person classes during another pandemic school year. “We wanted to provide an option to stay with the district, keep their child at home,” school superintendent Thomas Ahart said at the board meeting Tuesday.
5th Aug 2021 - TIME


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

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The Unexpected Benefits of Remote Learning for Neurodivergent Students

Learning disruptions have been an unfortunate but all-too-frequent sight during the pandemic. But not every student felt those effects evenly as schools shifted between remote and in-person options. Even under typical circumstances, learners with autism or other neurological differences are often more sensitive to changes in their environments. So given the lingering uncertainties about COVID-19’s impact on schooling this fall—and the trajectory of the fast-spreading delta variant—perhaps it’s no surprise that many families with neurodivergent children are opting to continue with remote learning.
4th Aug 2021 - EdSurge

Whanganui schools part of virtual learning exchange with Japan

Covid-19 travel restrictions mean international students have become a distant memory in Whanganui, but a new, virtual learning exchange is giving young people around the world the chance to connect online instead. This week, 23 high school students in Whanganui and Manawatu began the New Zealand Global Competence Certificate exchange with 20 high school students in Tokyo, Japan. Animated videos, quizzes, assignments and weekly live facilitated dialogue sessions allow learners to talk with each other online in real time.
4th Aug 2021 - The New Zealand Herald


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

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Student Laptops For Virtual Learning Are Also Helping Parents Learn English

At the start of the pandemic, schools rushed to get laptops into the hands of students at home. In Nashville, Tenn., those laptops created new opportunities for parents who want to learn English. Prior to the pandemic, Nashville's English learning program for parents was fully in person. At the time, any virtual options would have been limited to families who could easily get online. But that access boomed during remote learning when Nashville schools distributed nearly 60,000 devices to their students. In the spring, the district began offering English-language classes online for adults for the very first time, and sign-ups more than tripled.
3rd Aug 2021 - WBAA

Kenya: Make Virtual Learning More Efficient, Magoha Tells Varsities

In Kenya, Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha has challenged universities to allocate more resources to improve the efficiency of virtual learning by acquiring more electronic resources. The CS said universities need to work with the Commission for University Education (CUE) and ensure that while engaging and teaching learners through virtual learning, standards are not compromised. Prof Magoha noted that the Covid 19 pandemic was a wakeup call for learning institutions and thanked universities for swiftly shifting to virtual learning that kept learning ongoing despite the suspension of physical learning.
3rd Aug 2021 - AllAfrica.com


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

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'Outstanding' Manchester teacher named 'best in UK' for innovative approach to remote learning

A Greater Manchester teacher has been named Teacher of the Year at the Aspiration Awards by Educational charity NCFE. Gary Rayworth is the curriculum leader for Technology and Computing at the Manchester school. He was given the award following his innovative approach leading online lessons during lockdown - in his own department and across the school as a whole.
2nd Aug 2021 - Manchester Evening News

West Norfolk classrooms connect around the world

A major new programme is linking schools in West Norfolk with counterparts around the world in an international initiative to raise global awareness. The schools are broadening their horizons with an international project to connect classrooms. A successful funding application by the 11-strong West Norfolk Academies Trust means that each primary school is linked to another in India and each secondary school has a different school in Nepal it is working with. Grant funding from the British Council’s Connecting Classrooms programme has enabled the schools to start working with their partners in laying the foundations for joint projects to learn about another country and its people.
2nd Aug 2021 - Lynn News


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

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Most Parents Think Kids Focus More With Remote Learning

A new survey is showing that the majority of parents felt that their child was more focused when doing school virtually. Most of the discussion between parents has been about school over the last 18 months, and how much virtual school has held back their children. COVID-19 changed how schools looked for everyone, and schools went to virtual learning to help stop the spread and protect the children from contracting the virus. However, there are always positives to take from any situation, and a new poll may be highlighting a different opinion when it comes to virtual learning. According to Study Finds, a survey was done that shows that the majority of some parents actually felt that their child focused more on school when they were completing it virtually as opposed to in-person.
1st Aug 2021 - Moms

Textbook Publisher Pearson Bets Big on Online Learning

Andy Bird joined education-resource company Pearson PLC as chief executive officer at a time when education was undergoing an upheaval—the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. With students around the world suddenly learning from home, the company’s online business saw big growth: Enrollment at Pearson’s online K-12 schooling offering, Connections Academy, grew by 40%, says Mr. Bird. Now that many students are returning to their classrooms, Mr. Bird thinks that growth rate will likely slow. Even so, the CEO is betting that some of the popularity online learning gained during the pandemic is here to stay—and Pearson is betting big on virtual offerings. It is launching a mobile app for college students called Pearson+ that will offer audio content, note-taking and other study tools.
1st Aug 2021 - The Wall Street Journal


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

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Virtual exchange will be a key part of internationalizing education even after COVID (opinion)

As COVID vaccine distribution increases globally and we begin to imagine a world post-pandemic, many educators are starting to consider what their classrooms may look like in the coming year. In particular, practitioners of virtual exchange and other technology-enabled forms of learning may naturally ask the question of whether or not we’ll still need the practice after the pandemic. Virtual exchanges, which provide educational pathways for young people to connect with their global peers online, was around and well established long before the pandemic as a way to bring a global perspective into a classroom experience. But paradoxically, in some respects, global learning became more accessible for some during the coronavirus pandemic
29th Jul 2021 - Inside Higher Ed

New York City Public Schools Parents At Odds As Group Demands In-Person Learning Only

There’s a tug of war between parents concerned about how COVID-19 will impact New York City schools in September. There are those calling for a remote learning option and those who want full-time, in-person learning, CBS2’s Andrea Grymes reported Wednesday. On Wednesday, a virtual hearing was held at Manhattan Supreme Court Downtown where parents demanded no virtual learning at all in September. They filed a lawsuit – calling for full-time, in-person learning for all students – against the city in May.
29th Jul 2021 - CBS New York


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

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COVID-19 Learning Online for Undergraduate Medical Students

During the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, medical colleges in China had to use online teaching. This study explored the effect of COVID-19 knowledge learning online in a flipped classroom based on micro-learning combined with case-based learning (CBL). A flipped classroom based on micro-learning combined with CBL showed greater effectiveness in COVID-19 knowledge gain in undergraduate medical students and made their attitude toward clinical practice more positive.
28th Jul 2021 - Dove Medical Press

Parents reveal the good study habits their kids picked up from remote learning during the pandemic

Almost seven in 10 parents think their kid focuses better while learning remotely, new research indicates. According to a recent survey of 2,000 American parents with school-aged children, which also gathered responses from the children of those polled, found one in three kids are excited by a remote system of learning. And 72% of parents think virtual learning is a game changer that will be around long after the COVID-19 pandemic. Learning remotely has given rise to good study habits; in addition to focusing better, parents said their child has started asking more questions (46%) and multitasking more effectively (43%).
28th Jul 2021 - Yahoo Finance


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

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Dubai: University students create AI tool to boost online education

Eyebrow raising, eyelid tightening, and mouth dimpling are facial expressions that indicate the highest level of a student’s engagement. Students at a Dubai university have created a tool using artificial intelligence (AI) for increasing the effectiveness of online education, which will come handy amid the raging Covid-19 pandemic. Learners at Murdoch University Dubai under the mentorship of their faculty have created a prototype AI tool that could hold the key to enhancing the delivery and effectiveness of virtual learning.
27th Jul 2021 - Khaleej Times

Technology-based learning during Covid-19: A revolution in education or missed opportunity?

Africa is no stranger to disruptions in face-to-face teaching and learning. From protests like #feesmustfall, to natural disasters, and pandemics. The severity of the Covid-19 Pandemic’s impact, however, has taken all by surprise. Forcing institutions and schools to think fast and adjust at record speeds, this pandemic has shifted the delivery of education from face-to-face to virtual. This reactive state was dubbed ‘Emergency Remote Teaching.’ The consequence of this global state of education has been a dramatic shift from instructors teaching in class or in blended learning scenarios, to a mostly distance or online education. The rapid shift was, unfortunately, not as seamless as many would have hoped and many, including digital education professionals were challenged by the prolonged experience
27th Jul 2021 - CNBC Africa

Homeschooling is drawing many more Black and Asian families

As the new school year approaches in the U.S., millions of parents are eager to deliver their children back to teachers and put remote schooling — which wrought anger, frustration and financial turmoil for parents who needed to return to work — behind them. But for other parents, particularly parents of color, the pandemic and last summer’s national reckoning over race prompted them to pull their children from traditional schools entirely, moves that helped fuel an explosion in popularity of home schooling.
27th Jul 2021 - The Washington Post

Want to Make Virtual Learning Work? Get Parents Involved in Meaningful Ways

For years, the biggest players in teaching and learning were students, teachers, and instructional materials. But with the pandemic and the resulting explosion in online learning, another key group has emerged: Parents. In fact, students can learn just as much virtually—if not more—than they would have in a typical, in-person school year, if they are given access to high-quality content and have support from a parent or caregiver, according to a report released July 27 by the Center for Public Research and Leadership at Columbia University.
27th Jul 2021 - Education Week


Virtual Classrooms - Connecting Communities for COVID19 News - 27th Jul 2021

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These Virtual Learning Pranks Showcase Students’ Tech Skills

The switch to online learning was a difficult transition for many students and educators. In the past year, however, many have gotten more comfortable with using Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other videoconferencing platforms as their classroom. Some students have gotten so proficient in the applications that they’ve begun to experiment with little tricks and funny alterations, playing “pranks” on their classmates and teachers. “Humor is a tool that can be used to help kids learn how to cope in extreme circumstances,” says Elizabeth Englander, a child psychology expert and founder of the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center. “It can help them learn how to cope with their own feelings.” Creating these humorous moments for their classroom can be a way for students to exercise social-emotional learning skills and cope with the difficulties of the pandemic, Englander explains.
26th Jul 2021 - EdTech

These N.J. parents are pushing for virtual learning in September

Parents who want to make virtual learning a permanent reality in New Jersey schools are seeking support this weekend at a popular balloon festival. Their group, New Jersey Parents for Personal Choice, is asking Gov. Phil Murphy to reverse course and allow virtual learning, which was in place starting in March 2020 and throughout the 2020-21 school year due to the coronavirus pandemic, to resume when classes return in September. Karen Strauss, a co-founder, said that while the pandemic was the impetus for virtual learning in New Jersey, some parents found that it worked better for their children and would prefer having that option even if COVID-19 was no longer a concern.
26th Jul 2021 - NJ.com


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

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COVID Gives Virtual Learning A Stronger Foothold In Michigan As Most Students Return To Classrooms

Most students are expected back in classrooms this fall, but the number of students learning via computer will likely remain well above pre-pandemic levels. Many Michigan families and educators experienced virtual learning for the first time last school year. That exposure — combined with ongoing COVID concerns — is likely to shape virtual learning in Michigan this fall and for years to come, experts say. Questions remain about online education, from inequities in access to poor academic results. Students in fully online schools are disproportionately from low-income families, and have historically struggled. Some observers worry, too, that expanding online learning will boost profits for charter school companies. Nonetheless, Michigan’s virtual learning landscape is changing rapidly.
25th Jul 2021 - MSN.com

Access to technology is changing the U.S. education system for good

Prior to COVID-19, the Pleasanton Calif. Unified School District (PUSD) was already issuing a digital device to every middle and high school student. During the pandemic, the district expanded its 1-to-1 policy to all elementary-level students, as well. “Anybody who needed a device got a device,” says Patrick Gannon, the district’s communications and community engagement coordinator. Thanks to that rapid deployment, “We were able to pivot 14,500 students from in-person to remote instruction in the course of a week.” PUSD isn’t alone: Around the nation, virtual learning needs spurred rapid adoption of 1-to-1 policies across K-12 education.
25th Jul 2021 - USA Today

The future of virtual teaching is all about school funding

The virtual classroom was a necessity during the pandemic, and data suggest it’s here to stay for the long-term: The global virtual classroom market is expected to reach $19.6 billion by 2024 according to a report by researcher Market Data Forecast. There is a growing post-pandemic appetite for virtual instruction among school leaders. In a 2020 report titled “Remote Learning is Here to Stay,” the RAND Corporation surveyed 375 school district leaders from across the country and found that over a third of them are interested in continuing some form of virtual learning after the pandemic subsides.
25th Jul 2021 - Fortune


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