While reopening plans for many school districts remain uncertain, a growing number of districts are planning to open remotely or use a hybrid model in which only some students are in an actual school building each day.
Before COVID-19, home internet access for all students was a goal—one that some districts even thought they had achieved. But the pandemic and forced distance learning have exposed a plethora of inequities in schools that many district leaders now see as issues they must address. In the edWebinar, “Digital Equity Strategies for Learning Beyond the Classroom,” the presenters talked about how they are managing digital equity in the COVID-19 era and what they see as the critical next steps.
The extent of the challenges and unknowns involved in safely reopening our schools may seem daunting, but educational organizations and schools now involved in the process are developing helpful frameworks and innovative solutions that show what can be accomplished and how.
edWeb.net and Eduscape have entered into a partnership to offer Virtual Learning Summits on today’s most important topics for teachers and administrators, including remote teaching, STEM education, Google and Microsoft 365 classroom, SEL, and early childhood education. The announcement was made today by Lisa Schmucki, Founder and CEO of edWeb.net, a free professional learning social network, and Alex Urrea, Founder and Managing Partner of Eduscape, the emerging leader for K-16 educator professional development in North America.
When Project Tomorrow surveyed students in 2015 about what they envision schools will look like in 2020, one student described school as being the place where there would be more educational videos, online class discussions, online games, and texting between teachers and students. Everyone would have their tablet or laptop. We are now in 2020, living through the COVID-19 pandemic and in the remote and online environment predicted in 2015. In a recent edWebinar sponsored by Blackboard, Dr. Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow, and Chris O’Neal, a former teacher and current Blackboard Solutions Engineer, shared front-line stories and tips to provide insight into how to ensure continuity of learning for our students during this unprecedented time.
When your brain veers to all that’s bad, that’s where thoughts tend to stay. Anxiety and stress take over. Peace eludes us. These are trained responses to unpleasantness. We don’t ride just ride the storm; we dive into it head on and suffer the consequences. If we could resort to mindfulness to calm ourselves, navigating the waves of life would be easier. We are typically not programmed that way because we did not learn when we were children how to respond positively to what overwhelms us.
Budgets. Student outcomes. Constituent communications. Previously, these were key elements in developing a strategic technology plan. And while those issues are still important, school and district leaders must now factor in that schools may never function the same way again. In the edWebinar, “Strategic Technology Planning: Aligning Priorities, Costs, Outcomes and Sustainability,” the presenters discussed new items that must become part of strategic plans.
Two months after the COVID-19 crisis forced educators across the United States to leave their classrooms and start teaching online, the scope of the changes and challenges have now become clear, and educational leaders have started to identify what’s working and what still needs improvement. During a recent edLeader Panel the superintendent of one of America’s largest school districts spoke with a former state superintendent and other education leaders about key issues affecting students, parents, and educators, including digital access and equity, online privacy, and funding.
As the COVID-19 crisis has forced schools to close their buildings and move online, inequities in access to technology, books, and even food have become more apparent. Still, there are ways educators can continue to support the learning needs of their full range of students and make the education they provide more equitable. During a recent edWebinar, Cornelius Minor, a Brooklyn-based educator and staff developer, and Dr. Jennifer Williams, a professor at St. Leo University’s College of Education, identified ways that teachers can increase their understanding of equity issues that may affect learning needs, in order to respond with effective solutions.
Dr. Stephanie Jones emphasizes that when implementing effective social and emotional learning (SEL) strategies, educators, practitioners, and administrators need to think about the what, the why, and the how of the essential skills of SEL. In a recent edWebinar, Jones, Director of the Ecological Approaches to Social-Emotional Learning (EASEL) Lab, explained that there are six SEL domains studied and documented by researchers. The first three domains are skills and competencies: cognitive, emotional, and social, and the next three are belief ecologies: attitudes, habits of mind, and ways of thinking about the world. One way to think about how these two sets go together is that on the one hand are things that you learn and know how to do, and on the other is a set of internal guideposts that tell you to use those skills when it’s essential and when it matters.