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)

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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)

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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

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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

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

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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

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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

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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

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

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

One lesson from virtual learning - kids need their physical textbooks

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

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

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

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

6 Ways to Effectively Use Virtual Reality in Education

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

Judge dismisses Yale student's virtual learning lawsuit

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

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

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

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

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Universities to defy government advice and keep online learning

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

New research center to explore future of online learning

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

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

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Student nurses complete work placements on virtual wards

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

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

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Getting Disconnected Students Access to Their Online Classrooms

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

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

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

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

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

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

New report aims to improve VR use in healthcare education

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How to Support Student Mental Health in a Remote Learning Environment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Learning setbacks coming into focus with new testing results

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

COVID-19: Virtual camp set up for disadvantaged children

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

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

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

How can speech recognition technology support children's learning?

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

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

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New Mexico home schoolers drive drop in enrollment, funding

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

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

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

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

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

Ambitious tech project brings whole class virtual learning to Shropshire school

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

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

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The Rise of Virtual-Only K–12 Schools

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

4-H Clubs uses pandemic to repurpose training programmes

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

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How edtech is facilitating jobs and learning

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

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

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

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

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Why higher education must evolve to support the hybrid workplace

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

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

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

Virtual training helps middle schoolers hone social skills

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

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

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

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

What edtech can learn from Fortnite

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

Virtual pupils make for more confident teachers

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

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

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How higher education institutes can deliver a category defining experience

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How an exodus of young Nigerians spurred a rethink on schools

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

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

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

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

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Virtual Learning Helped Push Caltech Physics Labs into Future

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

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

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

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

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Thousands of WRDSB students register for virtual summer school

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pandemic teaching transitions back to classroom with lessons learned

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

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

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How COVID changed schools outreach

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

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

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Graduation Rate Expected to Stall This Year at Some High Schools

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

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

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

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

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

Clinical psychologist offers advice on pros and cons of online learning

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

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

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

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

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

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Virtual learners and the impending security risks they face

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As schools reopen, some are keeping all-virtual options

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

Oxford students reveal preference for virtual learning

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

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Mexico university designs classrooms for post-pandemic hybrid classes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Virtual classes proving très difficile for French immersion teachers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How America failed students with disabilities during the pandemic

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

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Metro Vancouver teacher connects to students through TikTok

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

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Researchers discuss the 'cost' of virtual learning

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

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

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

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

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

Companies head to the classroom as demand for virtual education grows

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

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

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

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

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Student survey shows students less engaged in virtual learning

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

How the Camera Has Changed the Dynamics of the Classroom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teachers reflect on educating during COVID-19 pandemic

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

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

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

New report provides reality check on virtual schools

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Some Black parents say remote learning gives racism reprieve

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

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

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

Ontario will continue to offer option for virtual learning next year

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

Forget everything you think you know about online engagement

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

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Comments on: Lessons from a year of remote education

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

New Teaching Jobs May Emerge With Continued Demand for Virtual Learning

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

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

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

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

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

Blog competition: students’ experiences of lockdown learning

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

Rethinking remote labs to deliver during Covid and beyond

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

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Hybrid instruction means changes, challenges for students in distance learning

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

Online classroom: How students can build an engaging virtual experience

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

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Survey reveals positive outlook on online instruction post-pandemic

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

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

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

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Parents may continue with online learning indefinitley

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

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

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

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Many children with autism struggling with virtual learning

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

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

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

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

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

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

People with disabilities worry about losing virtual options

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

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5 TikTok Teachers Share Behind the Scenes of Virtual Teaching

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

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

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

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What the Future of Learning Should Look Like

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Independence teacher earns national recognition for innovative approach to virtual learning

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

Virtual learning furthers challenges for students with hearing and speech difficulties

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

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

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

Covid-19 changed education in America — permanently

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

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How to support students in virtual learning environments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Survey: Even as schools reopen, many students learn remotely

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

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

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

CDC survey highlights concerns with virtual learning

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

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How COVID distance learning hurt California English learners

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

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

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

Virtual classes make hunt for missing students harder

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

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

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

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

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

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Digital Education Center To Allow Virtual Learning Indefinitely

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Ontario government considers making virtual learning permanent

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Students, teachers and parents climb the virtual learning curve

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Covid closures: how teachers adapted to working remotely

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

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

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

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US schools prepare summer of learning to help kids catch up

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

Remote Schooling Strains Parents and Their Children, CDC Survey Suggests

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

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Will Classroom Social Distancing Rules Change?

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

How Business School Students Network During Covid: Virtual Hangouts

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

Virtual Learning Might Be the Best Thing to Happen to Schools

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

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

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

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

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

Psychologist Says Virtual Learning Has Left Many Kids Anixous, Overwhelmed

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

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How the pandemic is reshaping education

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

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

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

The Cost Of COVID: One Year In The Virtual Classroom

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

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Coronavirus pandemic restrictions can help or hinder schoolchildren with anxiety disorders

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

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

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

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

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

Hamline Anthropology Professor Teaches Virtual Classes In ‘Minecraft’

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

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

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California schools aren't reopening quite how we expected

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

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

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

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

Love in Music offers virtual instrumental music classes

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

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

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

Remote learning shows the power of the cloud to transform education

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As schools reopen, Asian American students are missing from classrooms

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

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

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

Living and Learning in a Virtual World

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

Professors need to make their virtual classes more inclusive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Does remote learning kill the art of feedback?

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

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

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

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

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

Global education has permanently changed

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

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

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11 tips to help you make the most of online learning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Compounding failure: Virtual learning setting students on dangerous course

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

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

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

The best apps and tools to help students with distance learning

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

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

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

One professor takes his virtual classes on the road

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Learning as avatars may become new school norm in Japan

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

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

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

DIY education: Greek teacher creates TV classes for inmates

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

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

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

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

This AI reads children's emotions as they learn

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

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

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Minnesota schools plan to continue virtual learning options in fall 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Virtual learning is stressing students out

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

Lessons from a Year of School, Interrupted

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

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

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How remote learning is creating virtual field trips

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

The pandemic’s psychological toll on our children

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

Shaftesbury School trials virtual reality course with students

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

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

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Teachers On The Push To Return To The Classroom

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