Distance Learning, is this the future?

As we start the second week of distance learning/teaching it makes me wonder if this is the future for the Country’s Education System.

Right now out of necessity we have been forced into implementing a distance learning system for the students here in Rhode Island.  In my household, I have the ability to see it from both the teacher and the students view by having a wife that is a school teacher and two daughters that are in high school.

After going through one week of distance learning, I have to give the school district where I live high grades on how well they have set up a structured online education for the students.  They have kept both the students and parents well informed on what work is to be done and a when it is to be done.  They have, for the most part, given the students ample access to teachers through video chat, online messaging and emails.  Some teachers have gone as far as giving the students access to text the teacher personally.

I understand that this has only been the first week and there needs to be quite a lot of tweaking to the students curriculum, but this is new territory for Students, Parents and Teachers.

Like I said, I can also see this adventure from the teacher’s side also.  At the beginning of last week there was quite a bit of confusion.  Teachers, in my opinion, did not have clear guidance from Administration on what needed to be done, what could be done and what SHOULDN’T be done to the point that teachers were taking it upon themselves to create lesson plans and curriculum for their students.  By Friday, most issues had been worked out and the process of providing an education online was going much smoother.  Again, we have only been through one week of online education and there are quite a few issues that still need to be worked out.

As a parent, I am making sure that my daughters are doing the work that needs to be done and also have the equipment that they need so that they may get, understand and complete the assignments and tasks that are given to them.  I understand that not all families have access to internet or some of the technology that is needed.  But School Districts are loaning out Chromebooks for the students to use at home.  Some are also handing out personal hot-spots which will allow students to have internet access.  Cox Communications is offering 2 free months of Internet access to those that may not have the financial ability to afford internet in their home.  What I am trying to say is that there is no excuse for you child not to be able to continue their education during this crisis, yes it may take a little legwork on the parents part, but it can be done.

I know that this is the first week and that it is all new and quite frustrating for everyone involved, but as with everything else that is going on right now, we can all get through this if we all work together.  It will get better, keep strong everyone and we will be through this before you know it.