Virtual School Meanderings

September 8, 2022

CRPE: Remote learning options are shutting down as school reopens in fall 2022

I wonder if this is a global trend or moreso a US one.  My gut – and the contacts that I have internationally – suggest that this trend is common there too (although I’m not sure if the statistics would be similar).

AUTHORS
  • Bree Dusseault, Principal and Managing Director
  • Cara Pangelinan, Research Analyst

This piece was originally published by The 74.

Even as Covid-19 infections continue to fluctuate, roughly one-third of the country’s largest school districts are ending their remote learning programs this fall, according to a new review by the Center on Reinventing Public Education.

Another third are continuing longstanding programs that had been in place before schools shuttered, and the remaining third are operating new virtual programs created during the pandemic, the review found.

The distinct approaches of America’s 100 largest districts suggest that most are jettisoning remote learning entirely, or reverting back to programs that existed before the pandemic forced them to swiftly provide all families with some sort of online option.

The discontinuation of virtual programs launched during Covid-19 shutdowns could mean they weren’t as effective or popular as those already in place before the pandemic upended America’s education systems in early 2020.

CRPE, a nonprofit research center at Arizona State University, has monitored the learning options offered by the nation’s 100 largest school systems since March 2020. In its review this month of districts’ learning plans for fall, CRPE found 35 indicating they planned to end remote learning entirely, 34 that would continue virtual programs established before the pandemic and 31 that would keep their new, pandemic-era online options.

To continue reading, please visit https://crpe.org/remote-learning-options-are-shutting-down-as-school-reopens-in-fall-2022/

September 6, 2022

Remote Learning and Learning Loss

So this Twitter thread scrolled through my stream late last week and I wanted to share it with my readers.

This thread begins with https://twitter.com/greg_travis/status/1565402704473735175

To which someone responded with this thread:

This thread begins with https://twitter.com/StephTaitWrites/status/1565781112487837696

An interesting read to be sure.

September 1, 2022

Rapport du CANeLearn – Enseigner en temps de crise : Assurer la continuité de l’apprentissage pendant la fermeture des écoles

Hier, le Réseau canadien d’apprentissage en ligne (CANeLearn) a publié son plus récent rapport dans la ” Série sur la pédagogie en cas de pandémie “ .  En tant qu’un des auteurs de ce rapport, je voulais le partager avec les lecteurs de cet espace aujourd’hui.

Enseigner en temps de crise : Assurer la continuité de l’apprentissage pendant la fermeture des écoles

https://canelearn.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/Enseigner-en-temps-de-crise.pdf

En avril 2020, la pandémie de COVID-19 a contraint toutes les écoles du Canada à mettre en place un enseignement d’urgence à distance pour leurs apprenants de la maternelle à la 12e année. Au cours des deux dernières années et demie, le Réseau canadien d’apprentissage en ligne (CANeLearn) a documenté l’impact de la pandémie sur l’enseignement de la maternelle à la 12e année. Pour chacune des deux dernières années scolaires (c’est-à-dire 2020-21 et 2021-22), la plupart des écoles ont été contraintes de mettre en œuvre une combinaison d’enseignement en présentiel, hybride et/ou en ligne pour les étudiants, car la menace du COVID-19 persistait et les écoles devaient prendre des décisions sur la façon de poursuivre l’enseignement et l’apprentissage tout en assurant la sécurité de leurs enseignants, de leur personnel et de leurs étudiants. L’incertitude de la plupart des éducateurs quant à la manière de déplacer efficacement l’enseignement à distance de l’élève ou des élèves a clairement démontré que les écoles ne ” pivotaient ” pas vers l’apprentissage en ligne, la plupart diffusant simplement l’enseignement typique en classe par le biais d’un support en ligne.

Ce rapport, le dernier de la ” Série sur la pédagogie en cas de pandémie “, donne un aperçu national de chaque phase de la réponse éducative de la maternelle à la 12e année à la pandémie, depuis la fermeture initiale et immédiate des écoles au printemps 2020 jusqu’aux années scolaires 2020-21 et 2021-22, ainsi qu’un résumé de la réponse pédagogique à la pandémie pour chaque province, chaque territoire et la juridiction fédérale. Il fait valoir que nous ne devrions pas simplement revenir à nos pratiques d’enseignement et d’apprentissage d’avant le virus, en oubliant l’enseignement à distance, car les paysages de l’enseignement et de l’apprentissage ne sont pas dichotomiques, apprentissage en personne ou apprentissage en ligne. Aujourd’hui, l’enseignement et l’apprentissage exigent plutôt la flexibilité nécessaire pour naviguer simultanément dans plusieurs paysages d’apprentissage. Pourtant, peu de juridictions, voire aucune, n’ont pris les mesures nécessaires pour que les enseignants et les écoles puissent passer de l’apprentissage en personne à l’apprentissage à distance sans perte de quantité ou de qualité de l’enseignement.

Ce rapport de synthèse fait valoir qu’une planification plus poussée et une attention délibérée doivent être accordées à la préparation des enseignants, à l’infrastructure, à la politique de l’éducation et aux ressources pour pouvoir maintenir une continuité pédagogique de qualité. Les rapports de la ” Série sur la pédagogie en cas de pandémie ” de CANeLearn, offrent des recommandations sur la façon dont les écoles peuvent être mieux préparées à des crises futures qui intègrent des possibilités d’apprentissage à la maison et à l’école par le biais d’environnements d’apprentissage en ligne.

CANeLearn Report – Teaching during Times of Turmoil: Ensuring Continuity of Learning during School Closures

Yesterday the Canadian eLearning Network (CANeLearn) released its most recent report in its Pandemic Pedagogy Series.  As one f the authors of this report, I wanted to share it with readers of this space today.

Teaching during Times of Turmoil: Ensuring Continuity of Learning during School Closures

https://canelearn.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/Teaching-During-Times-of-Turmoil.pdf

In April 2020 of the COVID-19 pandemic forced all of Canada’s schools to begin emergency remote teaching for their K-12 learners. Over the past two and a half years the Canadian eLearning Network (CANeLearn) has documented the impact of the pandemic on K-12 schooling. For each of the past two school years (i.e., 2020-21 and 2021-22), most schools were forced to implement some combination of face-to-face, hybrid, and/or online instruction for students as the threat of COVID-19 continued and schools faced decisions about how to continue teaching and learning while keeping their teachers, staff, and students safe. The uncertainty of most educators in how to effectively shift instruction to be at a distance from the student(s) demonstrated clearly that schools were not ‘pivoting’ to online learning, most simply broadcast typical classroom instruction through an online medium.

This report, the final in the “Pandemic Pedagogy Series,” provides a national overview of each phase of the K-12 educational response to the pandemic from the initial and immediate school closures in Spring 2020 through the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years along with a summary of the pandemic pedagogical response for each province, territory, and the federal jurisdiction. It argues that we should not simply return to our teaching and learning practices prior to the virus, forgetting about remote teaching, as teaching and learning landscapes are not dichotomous, in-person learning or online learning. Rather, teaching and learning today requires the flexibility to navigate multiple learning landscapes simultaneously, yet few, if any, jurisdictions have taken the steps necessary to ensure that teachers and schools can toggle between in-person learning and remote learning with no loss of instructional quantity or quality.

This summary report argues that more planning and deliberate attention must be provided to teacher preparation, infrastructure, education policy, and resources to be able to maintain quality instructional continuity. The “Pandemic Pedagogy Series” reports by CANeLearn offer recommendations for how schools can be better prepared for future crises that incorporate both home-based and school-based learning opportunities mediated through online learning environments and there is a strong need to pursue this line of inquiry through continuing research beyond the confines of the seven reports in the series. A website was created to host the report series, along with an archive of online workshop presentations based on each report.

August 23, 2022

CTV News – Students less stressed taking classes online than in person, study finds

So a colleague sent this my way the other day…

Students less stressed taking classes online than in person, study finds

(RODNAE Productions / pexels.com)
(RODNAE Productions / pexels.com)

Alexandra Mae Jones

  • Alexandra Mae Jones
  • CTVNews.ca writer

Updated Published 

Many students across the globe had to transition between taking lessons in lecture halls to their living rooms in the COVID-19 pandemic.

This drastic change in environment prompted questions about differences in the learning experience. Among them: does the body feel less stress in a virtual classroom as opposed to a physical one?

The answer could be yes, according to a small study measuring heart rate and cortisol levels in students’ saliva, which found that medical students were physiologically more relaxed in an online lecture rather than an in-person one.

The study, published in the journal Anatomical Sciences Education at the end of July, looked at a group of 82 medical students who were attending either face-to-face classes or online lectures in order to measure the ways their bodies expressed stress.

To continue reading, click here.

This article was interesting to me because it is one of many that we have seen that have reported on instances where remote learning (yes, remote learning – not online learning) during the pandemic wasn’t all bad (see here and here as examples).

It also comes on the back of a recent conversation I had with a journalist or editor of a popular media publication – about the impacts of online learning on student mental wellbeing during the pandemic.  My argument was that the reality that we’re living through a global pandemic is the root of any impacts on mental health, and that the fact that students have to learn remotely (again, not online or virtually) is simply a by-product of the actual cause.  I also made the case that the alternative to remote learning would be worse.

Educational institutions essentially had three options throughout the pandemic:

  1. stay open as is and risk the consequences of public health and all of the downstream impacts of increased infection spread;
  2. closed altogether/shut down; or
  3. close the schools, but continue to provide some continuity of learning through remote learning.

Which of these three options would be worse?  Given the reality of the role that schools play in community spread of the virus, it is safe to say that with option one we have greater spread of the disease, which in turn means greater instances of sickness, hospitalization, and death (as well as the fear associated with the potential for these things) – all of which likely had or would have had significant negative impacts on student mental wellbeing.

Option two would have cut students off completely from any sense of normal routines that exist with school, as well as cutting students off from peers associated with the school environment.  Given all of the media attention (see here for just one example) and academic study (again, see here for just one example), this wasn’t a viable option.

So as bad as some of the remote learning was, and I have been involved with several research projects looking at just how bad it was in most Canadian jurisdictions (see https://sites.google.com/view/canelearn-ert/ ), the third option was the only one of these three that provided some normalcy to the child’s live without the potential for a negative impact to public health.  It is the only one of those three options that kept people safe, while at the same time gave children the routine of going to school (even if it was in their own homes), the opportunity to interact with their classmates (even if it was mediated by technology), really the only opportunity to be normal.

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