Virtual School Meanderings

April 6, 2020

When A School Is More Than Just A School: How Schools Of Opportunity Are Handling Coronavirus Closures

An item from the National Education Policy Center.

When a School is More Than Just a School: How Schools of Opportunity are Handling Coronavirus Closures

Thursday, April 2, 2020


When a School is More Than Just a School: How Schools of Opportunity are Handling Coronavirus Closures


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Across the U.S., schools have been finding innovative ways to serve their students, even after their doors were closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Most obviously, teachers have been providing lessons and instruction through various forms of distance education. Districts are also offering free “grab-and-go” meals and even emergency child care centers built around the idea of social distancing. Groups like the Learning Policy Institute, the Network for Public Education, and Local Progress are documenting these and other ways that governmental entities like school districts are responding to need.

Because NEPC has been recognizing extraordinary Schools of Opportunity for the past five years, we’re starting to investigate how those schools have been responding to the crisis. The recognition program honors high schools that engage in research-based practices that focus on closing opportunity gaps.

Not surprisingly, the recognized schools are indeed working to provide free meals. 2015 honoree Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School, located in the Bronx, is typical of this trend. The New York school is offering students grab-and-go breakfasts and lunches that they can pick up on campus. The school’s coronavirus webpage also lists names and addresses for nearby food pantries, as well as resources where families can get free diapers.

At Rochester International Academy, which NEPC recognized as a School of Opportunity in 2016, principal Mary Andrecolich-Diaz canceled all afternoon classes when the shutdown seemed imminent, in order to allow the school’s interpreters to work with teachers and their many non-English-speaking refugee students. The school has been using Google Classroom and Chromebooks to continue instruction, using district-provided home Wi-Fi.

For Andrecolich-Diaz, the first goal was simply to guarantee the students could access schoolwork. But she also wanted to make sure that the school’s students could pass along health information to their families regarding the Coronavirus crisis. Many of those families are refugees who may be illiterate even in their own languages, adding to their vulnerable status. In the case of refugees from countries such as Burma, Nepal, and Somalia, some families were also unable to understand broadcast news media accounts that, if not in English, are typically only offered in one other language: Spanish.

Like the Rochester school, most Schools of Opportunity serve large numbers of students living in poverty – students for whom school is not just a learning experience, but a lifeline. Accordingly, these schools typically provide services like food pantries and health care that extend well beyond the classroom, a practice that is critical to closing opportunity gaps. They also serve large numbers of English learners and students with disabilities, as well as students who are, or whose family members are, without documentation. So the closures have the potential to hit their students especially hard.

Yet, like so many of their peers around the country, Schools of Opportunity educators have found ways to continue to help their students access needed assistance. As another example, Leland & Gray Union Middle & High School, also a 2016 honoree, is making mental health counselors available via email, Google Hangouts, and telephone.

“While we won’t be in our offices for you to drop by whenever you need, we are available,” they wrote in a heartfelt message on the Townshend, Vermont school’s website:

Just as when we are in school, you can come to us with anything: If you are struggling with academics (either the content or the format of learning), please let us know. If you are having a tough day and want to talk about it or take a break from the stress, let us know. If you are having a tough time with family or friends, let us know. If you are lonely, let us know (we probably are too!). If you just want to say hi, please do!

At 2018-2019 honoree Casco Bay High School in Portland, Maine, teachers are trying to maintain a sense of togetherness and community by moving daily “crew” meetings online. The purpose of these small groups – who remain together throughout a student’s four years at the school – is to develop a sense of community by connecting faculty members with students and students with one another, helping students plan for the future, and engaging in civil dialogue about important current events.

In addition to translating documents into their students’ home languages, Schools of Opportunity also “translate” curricula and other material into culturally relevant messages. This is evident in the schools’ messaging in this very stressful and uncertain time. For instance, on a letter on the school website, the leadership team of the Native American Community Academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which was honored in 2018-19, draws upon values shared by its many Native American students: “Remember that we come from a legacy of resiliency and strength both from our land and ancestors. During these three weeks, we ask that we come together as a community to support each other.”

We encourage each of you to repeat our exercise. Visit the websites for your local schools and school districts, and read about the remarkable steps they’re taking to serve their students and communities. These are bright lights in dark times, and we can all use the inspiration.

This newsletter is made possible in part by support provided by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice:

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), a university research center housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, produces and disseminates high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. Visit us at:

Copyright 2020 National Education Policy Center. All rights reserved.

SITE 2020 And K-12 Online Learning

So the 2020 annual conference of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education begins today – although in a virtual, fee-based format.  In looking over the conference program, here at the K-12 distance, online, and blended learning sessions I was able to identify (which is actually quite easy, given you have the “K-12 Online Learning” SIG which you can search for, and then do a bit of additional searching based on common phrases.  Anyway, this is what I came up with…

Tuesday, April 7

Wednesday, April 8

Thursday, April 9

Friday, April 10

Virtual Papers

I’ll be honest and say that I’m said to be missing on some of these topics.  Unfortunately, my university isn’t funding any conferences right now and I’m not shelling out the $250 from my own pocket.  Just wished SITE, as the “friendly society,” had taken their lead from AERA on he pricing issue.

April 4, 2020

EDEN COVID19 Webinars #onlinetogether 6 April 5PM CET

Note these up-coming webinars.

The current pandemic has accelerated demand for the transition from traditional education to its online equivalent. EDEN is honoured to announce a new series of EDEN webinars: Education in time of a pandemic.
#onlinetogether #covid19every Monday at 17:00 CET.
Meet Ebba Ossiannilsson and Diana Andone on Monday, April 6 at 17:00 CET on the topic: When education moves home: implications for students, academics, administrators, and education leaders.
Register for the webinar
Add to Calendar
Registered webinar participants will be awarded by EDEN open badges.

You will meet

Diana Andone

EDEN Vice-President
Director of the eLearning Center at the Politehnica University of Timisoara, Romania
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Dr. Andone runs the team who developed the university’s award winning Virtual Campus CVUPT and is also a professor at the Politehnica University of Timisoara, Romania, in the area of multimedia and web technologies. She is passionate about the ubiquitous access to technologies and how they can be used to improve people’s lives.

Ebba Ossiannilsson

EDEN EC, EDEN SIG TEL QE, EDEN Council of Fellows, ICDE EC, ICDE OER Advocacy Committee, Chair, Swedish Association for Distance Education, Digital Job and Skills Coalition Sweden, Swedish Institute for Standards, ISO
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Professor Dr. Ebba Ossiannilsson is an independent researcher, expert, consultant, quality assessor and influencer in the fields of open online flexible and distance learning. She is a member of the EDEN EC, EDEN NAP, EDEN Council of Fellows, and Chair of the EDEN SIG for Technology-Ebabled Learning and Quality Enhancement. Ossiannilsson is in the ICDE EC, and an ambassador for the worldwide advocacy of OERs, she is the Chair of the ICDE OER Advocacy Committee. She is a member of the ICDE Global Quality Network and of the Advisory Board for the Strategic Plan 2020-2022 ICDE. Ossiannilsson is a quality expert for ICDE, and the EADTU. Ossiannilsson is Vice-President of the Swedish Association for Distance Learning (SADE), and member of the Job and Skills Coalition Sweden, as well as working with the Standard Institute Sweden, and ISO.


With the escalation of Covid-19, educators around the world are encouraged to move to online and distance learning as schools and universities are forced to physically close campuses (buildings). Most governments around the world have temporarily closed educational institutions in order to contain the spread of the COVID -19 pandemic. UNESCO estimates that more than 850 million children and young people – about 80% of the global student population – have had to stay away from schools and universities due to pandemic COVID 19. Nationwide closures are in effect in some 110 countries and local closures in many others. This means more than doubling the number of students prevented from attending educational institutions, and a further increase is expected during this Covid 19 pandemic.

From one day to the next, teachers around the world have found themselves managing virtual classrooms, communicating with their students over social media platforms and learning by doing as they provide education from a distance to over 1.5 billion students affected by school closures due to the Covid-19 pandemic. So when education moves home, what are the implications for students, academics, administrators, and education leaders

Some questions that will be discussed 

During the webinar, the questions of why, what, who, how, and when will be discussed when education moves home, and what the implications are for students, academics, administrators and education managers.

  • The differences between emergency distance learning and online learning will be discussed.
  • How can high-quality education be facilitated, promoted and offered despite many challenges?
  • How can academics and learners be protected, supported and recognized?
  • What kind of lessons will we learn from Covid19 and what challenges do we face?
  • One obvious problem is that the “educational business” will not be the same as it is today.
Add to Calendar
Register for the webinar
Save the date and see you
Monday, 6 April 2020,
17:00 CET

NEW EDEN webinar series: Education in time of a pandemic #onlinetogether #covid19

In these times of lockdown due to the Coronavirus COVID-19, face-to-face educational functions and activities are being moved online, using remote working sites and tools. Many of us are struggling with the adjustment to working and teaching online, especially those who have always taught in a traditional classroom and are now being asked to rapidly regroup and prepare for a longer period of educational “social distancing”. Where do you begin? How do you manage the process?

To address these questions and many others, EDEN will be rolling out a series of practical webinars on how to take face-to-face education online. These webinars will start by focussing on the day-to-day challenges our teachers and educators face and move on to consider other, broader institutional aspects.

These #onlinetogether #covid19 webinars are especially developed for these uncertain times, featuring experts and experienced practitioners within the field of open, distance, and e-learning. These weekly, one-hour webinar sessions will be held every Monday at 17:00 CEST. Each webinar will consist of a brief presentation addressing the webinar topic, that will be further complemented by a question-and-answer session, where you are greatly encouraged to participate, share your opinion and experiences, and  ask your most pressing questions.

You can find the upcoming webinars on our website.

EDEN is supported by the ERASMUS+ Programme of the European Union.​
EDEN – European Distance and E-Learning Network Secretariat
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April 3, 2020

EDEN Newsflash – March 2020

A newsletter that was received in yesterday’s inbox.

March 2020 

The 29th EDEN Annual Conference Goes Virtual!

EDEN 2020 Annual Conference: #eden20
21-24 June 2020

Human and artificial intelligence
for the society of the future

Call for Contributions Open


New submission deadline 30 April – Sessions on pandemic – Proceedings and E-book Publication

Dear EDEN Members, Partners, and Friends,

With the development of the pandemic COVID19, it is not likely that national and international restrictions on normalization of life, travels and social gatherings will be lifted by the end of June.

In consideration of the present situation, the EDEN Executive Committee has decided to organize the 2020 Annual Conference as a Virtual Conference.

We aim to maintain the identity and momentum of the EDEN 2020 Conference as a major gathering of the European professional community, to focus on cutting-edge research, developments and problems, along with sharing experience and publishing achievements.

Special sessions will be organized to survey the pandemic related educational issues. The format will be flexible, using the most efficient virtual conferencing tools.

EDEN aims to ensure the enhanced academic quality of the event and the publications.

Full Papers will be double-blind peer-reviewed. Accepted Full papers will be published in the electronic Conference Proceedings with an ISSN and available online to all participants.  The Conference Proceedings will be discovered and linked by Google and Google Scholar, Alma (ProQuest), EBSCO Discovery Services (EDS), with further indexing via the Central and Eastern European Online Library (CEEOL).

The tradition of awarding the Best Research Paper will be continued, with publication of finalist papers in the European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning.

The submission deadline for all conference papers has been extended until 30 April!

Submissions uploaded by 30 March will be considered for the virtual conference and evaluated respectively.

EDEN looks forward to the continued successful collaboration with all members and partners, with a firm commitment to expressing togetherness and solidarity of the community.

The EDEN Executive Committee

Community Update

Education in time of a pandemic: how to support teachers and students?

“In these challenging times, we need to come together in solidarity and sensitivity and specifically to support teachers and students, all of us working to get around new online environments and to provide the best quality education possible.” Read the new post on the EDEN President’s Blog from EDEN President Sandra Kucina Softic: “Education in time of a pandemic: how to support teachers and students?”.
EDEN President's Blog
Sandra Kucina Softic

EDEN webinar series: Education in time of a pandemic
#onlinetogether #covid19

In these times of lockdown due to the Coronavirus, many of us are struggling with the adjustment to working and teaching online. How do you manage the process?

EDEN will be rolling out a series of practical webinars on how to take face-to-face education online by focussing on the day-to-day challenges of teachers and educators.

EDEN webinar series
These #onlinetogether #covid19 webinars with weekly, one-hour webinar sessions will be held every Monday at 17:00 CET.

The first webinar “How to start teaching online” on March 30, 2020 presented by Tony Bates was a great success with a number of 600+ participants. You can watch the recording here.

The next webinar in this series “When education moves home: implications for students, academics, administrators, and education leaders” will take place on April 6, 2020 at 17:00 CET.

EDEN NAP webinar recording available

In case you missed the EDEN NAP webinar titled “Organising Digital Conferences – Experience and Opportunities” you can watch the recording here.
EDEN NAP Webinar

Open Education Week 2020 – Webinar recordings available

This year’s EDEN Open Education Week was a celebration of the global Open Education Movement. Its goal was to raise awareness for the movement and its impact on teaching and learning worldwide, the free and open educational opportunities that exist for everyone, everywhere, right now.
Open Education Week 2020
EDEN again organised online series of events this March. This year, 6 webinars with 1086 registered participants were held. Participants came from 50 different countries, 22 countries from outside Europe. Presenters’ slides can be viewed on EDEN’s SlideShare page. The recordings of the webinars can be viewed below:
– OER and Open Pedagogies – Best Practices
– Open Education Recognition and Credentials 
– Open Education Technologies
– Open Education for Civil Engagement and Democracy 
– Unboxing the Textbook for an Open World
– Microlearning and Quality for Lifelong Learning in the Digital Age

EDEN joining the Engineers for Europe initiative

Within the framework of the EEAG, FEANI has launched a European project, together with ten partners, entitled “Engineers for Europe”or “E4E”. The main purpose of this project is fully in line with the objectives of the EEAG to better connect the engineering education and the world of work, creating innovative tools in line with new trends in engineering education and careers. EDEN has joined the Engineers for Europe project as associated partner and will support FEANI in the various activities of the project.


Call for hosting the EDEN 2021 Annual Conference

EDEN invites Expression of Interest from its institutional members to host the Annual European Conference of open, distance and ICT enhanced education, Learning innovation to be organised by EDEN in co-operation with the host institution in 2021.
The EDEN conferences since 1992 have been major academic and professional ODL events in Europe, supporting professionalisation and international exchange of experience.

The host institution is expected to demonstrate strong professional background, national and international position and activities in the field, able to provide logistic, promotion and organisation background for the event.

Express of Interest documents should be sent to EDEN Secretary General Dr. Andras Szucs by email.

Election of EDEN NAP Steering Committee 2020

Nomination open!

The present NAP Steering Committee was elected in April 2017 for a three-year period. The term of office of the present NAP SC will be terminated in April 2020.

All NAP members are invited to take part in the nominations and the election. We look forward to an active election period that can add further momentum to the EDEN Community activities!

ballot box
If you know a devoted EDEN member who could foster the EDEN NAP activities and is willing to contribute to make the services of EDEN more attractive and useful for members, do not hesitate to nominate her or him for Nap SC membership! Just write an email to!

You can find information about the main activities of the NAP Steering Committee, about its current members, the rules of election in the EDEN constitution and the election procedure on the EDEN website.

Your active participation is awaited to decide about this important EDEN body!

European Commission’s Corner

Adapting the SELFIE tool for work-based learning systems in Vocational Education and Training

SELFIE is an online self-reflection tool to help schools see how they are using digital technologies for teaching and learning, and plan for improvement. The objective is to conduct a feasibility study in view of adapting SELFIE to work-based learning (WBL) systems in Europe. The aim of this exercise is to explore to what extent, and with what scope the SELFIE tool could also be meaningfully used in the context of Vocational Education and Training (VET) and WBL, including apprenticeships or dual VET. Read more…

Empowering adults through upskilling and reskilling pathways, Volume 1: adult population with potential for upskilling and reskilling

This study is the first volume of Cedefop research on empowering adults through upskilling and reskilling pathways. It estimates the magnitude of the low-skilled adult population according to a broader conceptualisation which goes beyond educational attainment levels, and considers digital skills, literacy and numeracy, as well as skill loss and skill obsolescence.

Highlights from EDEN Members and Partners

ICDE #COVID19 #learningtogether Global Campaign

The International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) has launched its task force and global campaign #learningtogether.
The campaign is to serve the global community  of educators during these unprecedented times of the Covid-19 pandemic during which educators the world over are witness to seeing their schools and universities being forced to shut campuses and needing to shift to online and distance learning provisions.

To provide support to these educators, ICDE has launched a dedicated Covid-19 online site where relevant resources for distance and online teaching are shared.

GENERATION DATA – Toolkit on data management

The objective of the GENERATION DATA Toolkit is to raise awareness about the increasing importance of smart data skills for current and future higher education students and provide knowledge about how to improve the teaching of smart data management. Download the Toolkit here.

Call for Proposals for Distance Education Special Issue
Re-imagining Assessment in Online and Distributed Learning 

The special issue of Distance Education “Re-imagining Assessment in Online and Distributed Learning” will engage scholars, researchers, teachers, instructional designers and learners in a discussion of online assessment.

Proposals from a wide range of related interests and from various research paradigms are invited. Read more about the Call and submit your proposals by 1 June 2020.

Publications and Events

Open Access Book „Future Skills – Future of Learning and Higher Education“

Ulf-Daniel Ehlers analyses changing basis premises in worldwide Higher Education and asks: How must Higher Education change in order to cope with a world of challenges, societies increasingly on the move and innovation-driven, agile fields of activity? The NextSkills survey is the first to construct and validate an integrated Future Skills concept based on educational science research, following a qualitative-quantitative multi-method approach. Download the Open Access Book here.
Future Skills

Building universities’​ digital distance education capability:
Why weren’t we ready?

Stay at home isolation because of COVID-19 provides an ideal time for university study – but most universities were far from ready. Many universities have simply had to close down, their students either unable to study or having to make hard adjustments to last-minute, cobbled- together online alternatives. “Transforming universities with distance education: The future of formal learning” by Mark Nichols will be published by Routledge in May 2020. It proposes an education-centred form of university teaching that both extends the reach of universities and provides them with the means of continuing their vital mission when campuses need to close.
Transforming Universities

The Future Of Adult Learning In Europe

“The development of the European Union has become an increasingly contested territory over the past years. Brexit, changing relations to other parts of the world, worrying trends in the electoral behaviour in several countries, the economic crisis and cutbacks in social welfare systems as well as wars at the margins of Europe have shaped the political discourse. The European Union is standing at the crossroads. Education, and adult education in particular, can play a vital role in shaping the future of Europe.” Read the Background paper by the European Association for the Education of Adults.

Investment in Learning Culture

“Prioritising learning culture over technology is one of the key findings of the annual research report released by Emerald Works. Following its recent launch, Emerald Works has shared key findings from its annual research report. The results reveal that organisations need to prioritise establishing a collaborative learning culture over investing in digital technology to gain real lasting impact on business growth.” Read more…
Checkpoint eLearning

What do we know about educational videos: research and practice

“We are living in the middle of a video revolution. From being a curiosity to a nice-to-have, video has become ubiquitous as a mode of learning. Learners find themselves in a rich video environment, a complex ecosystem of video platforms, creators and knowledge producers.” Read the summary of the key points of the webinar on “What do we know about effective educational videos” by Dominik Lukes.

2020 EDUCAUSE Horizon Report™ | Teaching and Learning Edition

This report profiles key trends and emerging technologies and practices shaping the future of teaching and learning and envisions a number of scenarios and implications for that future. It is based on the perspectives and expertise of a global panel of leaders from across the higher education landscape.

How to Manage in Times of Crisis

There is no shortage of people telling you what you should be doing during times of crisis, and why you should be doing it. Whilst the Why and What are clear, How to go about responding to the problems and opportunities created during times of crisis is less clear. For nearly 50 years, Adizes has been supporting organizations, families and governments react rapidly and successfully during times of crisis by providing these free sources.

Learning Online: The Student Experience

“Online learning is ubiquitous for millions of students worldwide, yet our understanding of student experiences in online learning settings is limited. The geographic distance that separates faculty from students in an online environment is its signature feature, but it is also one that risks widening the gulf between teachers and learners. In Learning Online, George Veletsianos argues that in order to critique, understand, and improve online learning, we must examine it through the lens of student experience.” Read more…
Project Muse
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EDEN is supported by the ERASMUS+ Programme of the European Union. The publication reflects the authors’ view, the EACEA and the European Commission are not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.
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The archive of previous Newsflash issues can be found at the EDEN NAP Members’ Area, further you have free electronic access to the latest EDEN conference proceedings.

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LearnTechLib Table Of Contents Alert: JEMH 29:2

Again, no K-12 distance, online, and/or blended learning items in this issue.

LearnTechLib - The Learning & Technology Library

LearnTechLib Table of Contents Alert: JEMH 29:2

Dear Michael Barbour,

The latest issue of Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia is now available on LearnTechLib, the Learning & Technology Library.

Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia

Vol. 29 , No. 2 (April 2020)

Table of Contents

  1. Towards a Critical Conceptual Framework for Technology Integration in Professional Development for English Language Teachers

    Moe Greene , Virginia Commonwealth University, ; William Jones , Virginia Commonwealth University,


  2. Implementing a technology-enriched learning environment within a Neuroscience module: Student use of self-regulated learning strategies

    David Green , University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, ; Ana Campo , University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, ; Samir Sabbag , University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, ; Chi Zhang , University of Miami Miller School of Medicine,


  3. Integrating Informal Learning within a Formal Instructional Design Degree Program: A Design-Based Research Approach

    Boshra Zawawi , George Mason University,


  4. Subtitles in a Multimedia Learning Environment: The Interplay of Recall, Transfer, and Perceived Mental Effort for Students with Attention-Deficit Symptoms

    Victoria Brown , Florida Atlantic University, ; Jillian Powers , Florida Atlantic University, ; Mario Toussaint , Broward County School District, ; David Lewis , University of Miami,


  5. Table of contents for this issue:

You will automatically be emailed the Table of Contents whenever a new issue of Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia is placed in the Digital Library.

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