Virtual School Meanderings

December 30, 2020

CANeLearn Report – Stories from the Field: Voices of K-12 Stakeholders During Pandemic

Earlier this month the Canadian eLearning Network (CANeLearn) released their latest research report –  Stories from the Field: Voices of K-12 Stakeholders During Pandemic.  The executive summary of the report reads:

This report is third of three reports designed to chronicle how each province and territory in
Canada managed their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The first report, Documenting
Triage: Detailing the Response of Provinces and Territories to Emergency Remote Teaching
report (Nagle, Barbour, & LaBonte, 2020), described how each jurisdiction managed their
emergency remote teaching during Spring 2020. The second report, A Fall Like No Other:
Between Basics and Preparing or an Extended Transition During Turmoil (Nagle, LaBonte, &
Barbour, 2020), outlined how each jurisdiction attempted to manage what should have been a
transition to remote teaching during Fall 2020. The goal of this third report, Stories from the
Field: Voices of K-12 Stakeholders During Pandemic, was to provide vignettes authored by
education stakeholders sharing their stories about what actually transpired in their homes,
schools, communities, and districts.

Sponsored by the Canadian eLearning Network (CANeLearn), a leading voice in Canada for
learner success in K-12 online and blended learning, this report highlights the announcements,
supports, and policy changes each Canadian jurisdiction made to continue to promote learning
throughout the pandemic. Information was gathered for each province and territory through
government websites, educational organizations, and current news releases. This information
highlighted each jurisdiction’s strategies to provide supports, resources, and technologies
appropriate for the continuation of teaching and learning. A website1 was created to host this
report series along with an archive of online workshop presentations based on each report.

In this report you will find the voices of key stakeholders within the K-12 online and blended
learning community across Canada as they provide descriptions of what actually happened on
the ground. Students, parents, teachers, school leaders, school trustees, and teacher-education
leaders from the post-secondary offer a glimpse of the impact of what the Ministries and
Departments of Education planned and announced in the Spring and Fall of 2020 for the safe
return of students to schools. For students, the lack of social interaction was a noted loss, for
parents their children’s physical, emotional, and mental health and their own, were worrisome at
best. Many describe the education offerings lacking and some sought their own solution.

Teachers, district and school leaders, even trustees, found the changing dynamic of the education
landscape overwhelming. Health protocols, physical distancing, masking, the number and flow
of people in the school building(s), and the social and emotional impact on staff and students was
almost impossible to manage. The range of stories from school leaders offers glimpses of success
in the development of new programs and the expansion of others. The stories of teachers reflect a
focus on physical, social, and emotional wellbeing first, curriculum second. As new models and
approaches emerge, post-secondary teacher education researchers are shining a light on what
effective practices provide options today and for the future beyond pandemic.

1 The website is available at https://sites.google.com/view/canelearn-ert/

The report is available at https://sgf.292.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/A-Fall-Like-No-Other-Part-2-canelearn-remote-teaching-report3.pdf

December 22, 2020

State of the Nation Special Report – Understanding Pandemic Pedagogy: Differences Between Emergency Remote, Remote, and Online Teaching

Yesterday we noticed this entry on the State of the Nation: K-12 e-Learning in Canada project website… Announcing Special Report – Understanding Pandemic Pedagogy: Differences Between Emergency Remote, Remote, and Online Teaching.

In the spring of 2020, the term ‘emergency remote teaching’ began to emerge to describe what was occurring in education at all levels, despite the more commonly used term “online learning” dominating media descriptions of the instruction offered to students forced to remain at home. Hodges et al. (2020) described emergency remote teaching as an attempt not “to re-create a robust educational ecosystem but rather to provide temporary access to instruction and instructional supports in a manner that is quick to set up and is reliably available during an emergency or crisis” (¶ 13).

As the new school year began, most education jurisdictions across Canada offered some combination of face-to-face, hybrid, and/or online instruction for students, including pre-existing online learning programs. Yet both designed and established online learning programs and the remote teaching offered by classroom teachers were still described by many as “online learning”, ignoring the clear differences between both instructional methods.

This report is a collection of revised works from other scholars, primarily focused on the higher education context, adapted for the K-12 sector. These works include a recent article that was published in EDUCAUSE Review entitled “The Difference Between Emergency Remote Teaching and Online Learning” (Hodges et al., 2020); as well as a number of blog entries from PhilOnEdTech blog (Hill, 2020; Kelly, 2020a, 2020b; Moore & Hill, 2020). Throughout the report, we have attempted to identify each of the sections that relied upon these sources.

Soon the COVID-19 threat will diminish, yet when it does we should not simply abandon remote teaching and return to our prior classroom-only practices without ensuring that we preserve the lessons of 2020 for future public health and safety issues. For example, in recent years school campuses have been closed due to natural disasters such as wildfires, hurricanes, earthquakes, and the polar vortex (Baytiyeh, 2018; Mackey et al., 2012; Samson, 2020; Watkins, 2005). As such, the possible need for remote teaching – in both emergency situations and more planned contexts – must become part of a teacher’s skill set.

This report argues the importance of avoiding equating emergency remote teaching with online learning. It is clear from most schools and teacher’s experience with emergency remote teaching that much more planning and deliberate attention be provided to teacher preparation, infrastructure, education policy, and resources to be able to maintain quality instructional continuity during a crisis. This report offers 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. While it is clear that schools remain a good place for children to be supported in their emotional growth and learning, with proper planning and good communication, homes and communities outside of school walls can be as well.

The report can be accessed at:

https://k12sotn.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/understanding-pandemic-pedagogy.pdf

References

Baytiyeh, H. (2018). Online learning during post-earthquake school closures. Disaster Prevention and Management, 27(2), 215-227.

Hill, P. (2020, March 31). Revised outlook for higher ed’s online response to COVID-19. PhilOnEdTechhttps://philonedtech.com/revised-outlook-for-higher-eds-online-response-to-covid-19/

Hodges, C., Moore, S., Lockee, B., Trust, T., & Bond, A. (2020). The difference between emergency remote teaching and online learning. EDUCAUSE Review, 3https://er.educause.edu/articles/2020/3/the-difference-between-emergency-remote-teaching-and-online-learning

Kelly, K. (2020a, April 9). Traversing the edge of chaos: Phase 1 and 2 preparations for post COVID-19 world. PhilOnEdTechhttps://philonedtech.com/traversing-the-edge-of-chaos-phase-1-and-2-preparations-for-post-covid-19-world/

Kelly, K. (2020b, April 10). Traversing the edge of chaos: Phase 3 and 4 preparations for post COVID-19 world. PhilOnEdTech. https://philonedtech.com/traversing-the-edge-of-chaos-phase-3-and-4-preparations-for-post-covid-19-world/

Mackey, J., Gilmore, F., Dabner, N., Breeze, D., & Buckley, P. (2012). Blended learning for academic resilience in times of disaster or crisis. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 8(2), 122-135. https://jolt.merlot.org/vol8no2/mackey_0612.pdf

Moore, S., & Hill, P. (2020, April 28). Planning for resilience, not resistance. PhilOnEdTechhttps://philonedtech.com/planning-for-resilience-not-resistance/

Samson, P. (2020). The coronavirus and class broadcasts. EDUCAUSE Review, 3https://er.educause.edu/blogs/2020/3/the-coronavirus-and-class-broadcasts

Watkins, R. (2005). Distance education’s role in university disaster planning. Distance Learning, 2(6), 31-33.

December 18, 2020

CANeLearn Report – Stories from the Field: Voices of K-12 Stakeholders During Pandemic

The Canadian eLearning Network (CANeLearn) released their latest research report –  Stories from the Field: Voices of K-12 Stakeholders During Pandemic.  The executive summary reads:

This report is third of three reports designed to chronicle how each province and territory in
Canada managed their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The first report, Documenting
Triage: Detailing the Response of Provinces and Territories to Emergency Remote Teaching
report (Nagle, Barbour, & LaBonte, 2020), described how each jurisdiction managed their
emergency remote teaching during Spring 2020. The second report, A Fall Like No Other:
Between Basics and Preparing or an Extended Transition During Turmoil (Nagle, LaBonte, &
Barbour, 2020), outlined how each jurisdiction attempted to manage what should have been a
transition to remote teaching during Fall 2020. The goal of this third report, Stories from the
Field: Voices of K-12 Stakeholders During Pandemic, was to provide vignettes authored by
education stakeholders sharing their stories about what actually transpired in their homes,
schools, communities, and districts.

Sponsored by the Canadian eLearning Network (CANeLearn), a leading voice in Canada for
learner success in K-12 online and blended learning, this report highlights the announcements,
supports, and policy changes each Canadian jurisdiction made to continue to promote learning
throughout the pandemic. Information was gathered for each province and territory through
government websites, educational organizations, and current news releases. This information
highlighted each jurisdiction’s strategies to provide supports, resources, and technologies
appropriate for the continuation of teaching and learning. A website1 was created to host this
report series along with an archive of online workshop presentations based on each report.

In this report you will find the voices of key stakeholders within the K-12 online and blended
learning community across Canada as they provide descriptions of what actually happened on
the ground. Students, parents, teachers, school leaders, school trustees, and teacher-education
leaders from the post-secondary offer a glimpse of the impact of what the Ministries and
Departments of Education planned and announced in the Spring and Fall of 2020 for the safe
return of students to schools. For students, the lack of social interaction was a noted loss, for
parents their children’s physical, emotional, and mental health and their own, were worrisome at
best. Many describe the education offerings lacking and some sought their own solution.

Teachers, district and school leaders, even trustees, found the changing dynamic of the education
landscape overwhelming. Health protocols, physical distancing, masking, the number and flow
of people in the school building(s), and the social and emotional impact on staff and students was
almost impossible to manage. The range of stories from school leaders offers glimpses of success
in the development of new programs and the expansion of others. The stories of teachers reflect a
focus on physical, social, and emotional wellbeing first, curriculum second. As new models and
approaches emerge, post-secondary teacher education researchers are shining a light on what
effective practices provide options today and for the future beyond pandemic.

1 The website is available at https://sites.google.com/view/canelearn-ert/

December 12, 2020

Improving distance education in the early grades

Note this California-based think tank bref and news items.

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December 09, 2020
Featured

In response to the onset of COVID-19, most California districts were forced to shift to distance learning models in the spring of 2020. The transition to distance learning for the early grades—transitional kindergarten through third grade (TK–3)—has proved difficult for students, parents, and teachers alike. PACE interviewed district and school leaders, teachers, parents, and researchers to identify areas for improvement of distance education for students in the early grades. This brief gathers that research together in order to identify challenges as well as to suggest promising practices and potential policy changes that can positively affect the current experience of students, parents, and teachers involved in TK–3 distance learning.

Decades of studies document that exposure to the natural world is vital to physical and psychological well-being as well as for intellectual and social development, especially for the youngest students. Environmental education not only provides opportunities to learn directly about the environment and ecological processes but also has documented social-emotional, physical, language/literacy, and civic benefits. The COVID-19 pandemic, which presents critical threats to education overall, also presents specific, potentially irreversible, and long-term threats to environmental education. As many as 11 million students in the United States may lose access to outdoor environmental and science education experiences, with most environmental education providers uncertain about their ability ever to reopen. That situation reflects the priorities of policymakers, administrators, and funders, who often think of environmental education as “nice to have” not “need to have.” This field, however, may provide the key to a path forward not only to survive but to thrive.

As COVID-19 rates increase and new stay-at-home orders are issued, schools remain closed and distance learning continues. As a guest on KPCC’s Take Two, PACE Executive Director Heather J. Hough discusses recent research on student learning loss during this pandemic, the implications of distance learning for equity, the need to accelerate student learning, and the importance of redesigning systems in preparation for the eventual return to in-person learning. The interview with Heather J. Hough begins at the 19:20 mark of the recording..

California’s long-awaited roadmap to reshape early childhood care and education in the state took a critical first step with the release of a first-ever 10-year master plan. The roadmap offers guidelines on how to build a system for the whole child; unifies programs for infants and toddlers; and increases access and eligibility across programs, services, and benefits. “The challenge is how to balance access and quality,” says PACE faculty director Deborah StipekTed Lempert, President of Children Now and PACE advisory board member, notes that more specificity is needed in the master plan: “The goals are correct, but we still need the details. Show me the money,” he says.

In districts across the country, students are back to in-person learning. Many families in these schools are opting to have their students learn virtually and are struggling with the poor quality of the learning experience. School officials say they just don’t have the means to do both well without more funding and more teachers. PACE Associate Director of Strategic Partnerships Benjamin W. Cottingham warns that online teaching platforms were never intended to supplant instruction and support from teachers.

Featured Content by Partners

In the first major empirical analysis of the impact of the disruptions caused by COVID-19 on student academic achievement and growth, NWEA analyzed data from nearly 4.4 million students in Grades 3 to 8 who took MAP Growth assessments in fall 2020, which were administered both remotely and in person. The results show that in almost all grades, most students made some learning gains in both reading and math since the COVID-19 pandemic started. However student achievement in math in fall 2020 was 5 to 10 percentile points lower than the pre-COVID-19 performance of same-grade students, and students showed lower growth in math across Grades 3 to 8 relative to peers in the previous year.

Notably, approximately a quarter of students who took the MAP assessment in 2019 were not tested in 2020 and were thus not included in this analysis. NWEA researchers indicate that the missing students are disproportionately children considered to be most at risk of falling behind in the pandemic, so it is likely that achievement gaps have increased, and that, on average, students have fallen behind to a greater degree than indicated in the study.

    
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December 4, 2020

[FINAL REMINDER] CANeLearn Webinar – Stories from the Field: Voices of K-12 Stakeholders During Pandemic

A final reminder for this webinar that is coming up in a couple of hours.

No images? Click here

CANeLearn Webinar Friday

A Fall Like No Other Part 2 ~ Un automne pas comme les autres (2ème partie):

Stories from the Field – Voices of K-12 Stakeholders During Pandemic

December 4th at 1:00 pm Eastern

A presentation and discussion of new CANeLearn research on Cross Canada responses to the Fall pandemic planning in K-12 schools —

Register here / Inscription  — Free!  — More details below

  • Please forward this on your own networks using the tools at the bottom.

Photos, unless otherwise noted, by @rlabonte or Unsplash

CANeLearn’s Pandemic Series

CANeLearn is researching what K-12 school districts across Canada have offered in the way of programming and supports during the pandemic.  We published our first report in August and the second report that details what the Ministries and Departments announced this Fall 2020 for remote learning.  A third report will be available prior to the December 4 webinar that brings the voice of key stakeholders within the K-12 online and blended learning community across Canada that describes what actually happened on the ground.

Check out all information and reports on the CANeLearn Remote Learning Website.

Live Presentations

Join the authors of the report in a series designed to chronicle how each province and territory in Canada managed their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  This online workshop will delineate what actions each jurisdiction took: the tools, content, and devices provided, curated, and/or created; and, the nature of instruction that occurred.

Register Here/Inscription (free/gratuit)

Rejoignez les auteurs du rapport d’une série qui présente comment chaque province et territoire du Canada a réagi à la pandémie du COVID-19. Cet atelier en ligne décrira les initiatives mises en oeuvre par chaque juridiction : les outils, les contenus, les appareils fournis, les stratégies pédagogiques et la nature de l’enseignement qui a eu lieu.

Last live date (archives on website):

  • December 4 at 1:00 pm Eastern

Register here.  An email with more information and links to live and archive sessions will follow.

Featured Events

Featured Events

Check out upcoming webinars

Check out CANeLearn and partner webinars on the

CANeLearn webinar calendar page

______________________________________

Digital Learning Symposium 2021

Starts in February – Ends in April:

Virtual/Online/Onsite (if able)

A series of online workshops, keynotes, and presentations!

Facilitated group discussions online and onsite in schools where able

More information to follow

______________________________________

Digital Learning Collaborative Conference

Mark the dates: June 14-16, 2021 in Austin, TX

https://www.deelac.com/

The Canadian eLearning Network (CANeLearn) is a Canadian registered not-for-profit society with a vision to be the leading voice in Canada for learner success in K-12 online and blended learning.  CANeLearn provides members with networking, collaboration, and research opportunities..

CANeLearn promotes effective practice in online and blended learning; fosters community and facilitates interaction among online and blended learning educators; and connects educators to online and blended learning organizations.

eLearning
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