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Distance Learning Solutions to Mitigate COVID-19 School Closures

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The year 2020 was like no other and hopefully, things will continue to get better as at the time of the writing there are still major issues in many places. Students who started their year in 2019 were not able to finish the year exactly as they had planned and that continued into the next year for the 2020-21 school year. Covid-19 has hurt many people and disrupted a lot of lives, not just that of students, but the education system and young people were forced to adjust and adapt to the school closings and other issues.

As schools around the world closed, students, parents, teachers, and administrators need new and innovative ways to change and adapt the education system to the current climate that was brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic which still grips the world. While there can be no understating the severity and sadness that the pandemic has brought on, there have been some opportunities as well, such as the ability to change the education system in ways that both mitigate the school closures and improve on existing educational infrastructure through distance learning solutions.

Virtual classroom

From school closures came virtual classrooms, which schools had to quickly switch to using. Video conferencing software such as Zoom allowed students to continue learning albeit with some difficulty, as the switch to online learning was very abrupt in most cases. Teachers and parents assisted their students in this transition (and sometimes vice-versa) and heroically worked despite what was going around them, to develop both academically and personally in the face of great adversity. E-learning solutions were the only way to go of course but great efforts made it possible.

The virtual classroom solution for online learning has some advantages. The most important advantage it carries is the ability for a (mostly) seamless transition from the traditional in-person approach students are familiar with. This is important since confidence and the ability to feel positive and have a positive learning experience enhances the students’ experience both academically and socially. Another point to this that makes it effective is that it contributes to not only social skills development but also works to create a sense of normalcy in an otherwise obviously abnormal time. The Virtual classroom works not just for students who suffered school closures but for adult learners doing corporate e-learning courses as well.

Developing communication

Although school closures had a large mental impact on students of all ages, that does not mean that they need to have the issue compounded further through poor communication. It seems that in-person schooling might offer a better opportunity for communication to occur, but that is not strictly speaking 100 percent accurate relative to modern applications of communications technologies that are available to students in an academic setting. The use of pre-made documents and fillable PDFs, as well as posted lecture notes, increase the ability of the student to see what is expected of them in the course. In addition to this, student email and access to teachers outside of class time can be helpful to keep the lines of communication open, since many are still adjusting to the new remote learning solutions.

The virtual classroom solution for online learning has some advantages. The most important advantage it carries is the ability for a (mostly) seamless transition from the traditional in-person approach students are familiar with.Click To Tweet

Limiting the negative impacts of school closures and the overall stress of e-learning in the age of Covid is important but not necessarily difficult. The ability to communicate with students and put them in the best position to learn is critical and by making the objective of the course clear and limiting surprises and potential issues, a teacher can create a positive and cohesive environment in the classroom. Having a proper system of communication with the students is great, but another way to create a positive change is to have a line of communication with the parents of the student. Having the teachers and parents in communication with each other is more important now because of other potential issues such as child sickness, technology issues, or the mental health and well-being of the student.

Communication can be a solution for distance learning problems and mitigate the impact that Covid-19 has had on the life of the students but the channels used can be equally important. The mediums play a role as not every student/parent works the same hours or uses the same method of communication. Although many people like to keep their social media lives and their normal lives separate, there comes a time when sharing your contact with colleagues or parents can be helpful. If this is not for you, then having all the email addresses or phone numbers of parents or teachers is a good way to remain in contact and communicate any potential problems both from an educational or technological standpoint.

Create a scenario or tell a story

What will your remote learning story be? How can we motivate ourselves and others? These are important questions to ask in order to better improve our ability to teach and educate children even in the face of a pandemic. These online education problems can best be solved by creating a story. Motivate the students and parents by telling them this is their time, although the situation is not ideal, they have an opportunity in a way that no other group has. Which is the ability to branch out and make the next leap in education. As pioneers of a new and safer approach, the students, parents, and even the teachers will have a front-row seat to the future of global education and the opportunities it can bring.

Conclusion

Covid-19 closed schools but learning never stops for anyone of any age. With online virtual classrooms, and the various remote learning solutions available to schools and teachers, the ability to overcome the school closings is available as we adjust to the new post-pandemic normal. Although there will be more trials to overcome, the tools and desire are there to not only mitigate the problems around school closings but to build upon them for a better future.

 

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