What Administrators Should Know About Remote Learning
Many schools around the world are striving to offer students effective and equitable distance learning in light of the current global situation. Administrators have had to support teachers in their to move from classroom to remote learning, and ensure students continue to learn and connect with their teachers and fellow students.
With a well-developed online learning program, teachers can offer their course curriculum remotely and ensure students succeed academically away from the classroom. A effective remote learning program that offers students a real learning experience takes a significant amount of time and planning to develop.
Below are some obstacles administrators need to consider:
Do All Students Have Access to eLearning?
Many schools are able to provide students with devices to use at home, but they may not have access to high-speed internet. Portable wifi hotspots can enable these students to connect devices such as laptops, computers or tablets to the internet.
A single online hub should be established for students to visit for up-to-date information. A single online hub allows students to feel comfortable visiting the same site and using the same online tools.
Is the Bandwidth Sufficient
School administrators and district leaders should work with their vendors to ensure sufficient server capacity and system monitoring. The networks must be able to handle the increased bandwidth required to access the student information systems (SIS) and learning management systems (LMS).
Students with Learning Needs
Distance learning programs should meet the needs of all students, including those with learning needs. Assistive technologies including devices, software and services that are used to improve the capabilities of students with learning needs. Administrators must also consider how students’ individualized education plans (IEPs) will be implemented through remote learning.
Parental Involvement and Communication
For younger students, their parents and guardians will likely be the ones supervising their learning in an online environment. Therefore, communication with parents is critical, particularly when online learning is being implemented for the first time.
If online learning is being used for extended periods of time, video conferencing tools such as Zoom or Google Meet should be considered for engaging parents. Holding online meetings with parents to address their questions and concerns is critical.
Synchronous vs. Asynchronous Approach
A synchronous approach means online learning with classes corresponding to a regularly scheduled school day (e.g. online learning as a group to maintain social connections). An asynchronous approach means students will have minimal contact with teachers (projects are assigned and materials are made available online). A hybrid approach incorporates both the synchronous approach and asynchronous approach. Factors to consider:
1. Number of teachers
2. School and class sizes
3. Sufficient access to technology for educators and students
4. Training required by staff, students and parents
A successful transition to remote learning requires teachers to be prepared to use digital tools and to manage their classes online. The type of training and its delivery must be considered. Technical support and assistance must be provided to staff when it is required.
TESS/WebTESS is a integrated suite of student information and learning modules. TESS/WebTESS will help your school manage student and staff data, communicate effectively with parents, students and teachers, and meet all of your data management and record collection requirements.