It’s time to get back to writing this blog. It’s taken me some time, but I want to get this blog back on the regular trajectory. What’s the topic de jour? It is what everyone else is talking about, it’s DISTANCE LEARNING. It’s here, and it looks like it’s here to stay. I am seeing it from several different slides of the coin and I have a lot of thoughts
I currently work for Tynker which is an Educational Technology company that is perfectly suited for these times. In my humble opinion, we are the perfect mix of curriculum that makes implementation for a teacher easy and gives students an opportunity to make and create with what they have from home. It also doesn’t hurt that students are using a future-ready skill (coding) to do that making. It really is a great platform for teachers to continue to student learning even when they can’t be right next to them.
I am lucky enough to work for a company that was in a place to grant a license to schools that were affected by COVID-19. We had no idea how far it would reach when we officially started the program in early March, but the response has been more then we could ever imagine with over 10,000 grant applications. My job at Tynker is to support teachers, so let’s just say it’s been a bit busy on my end. I feel like I am on right there with many of you on the front line, but I am just not in the classroom fully.
Being on the front line, I also see both the triumph and the struggle. I know many teachers just weren’t ready for this, but I also know the effort they are putting in to make things work. I see it every day both from all of my own children’s teachers and the teachers I am supporting. It makes me proud to be just a small part of this community. We have seen teachers go fully online in a matter of days. We have seen schools and districts move within days to close the equity gap with devices and hot spots. Schools are still provisioning lunches. Ed Tech companies have stepped up to the plate to support. There is truly no community like it.
I have seen the struggles too though. I have a first-grade son who it’s incredibly difficult to get started at school. I have seen the lack of organization from some teachers which can easily make things confusing. The difference in workloads and assignments has also been fascinating. While those struggles are there (with plenty more) I can’t be mad at teachers. They have stepped up to the plate in an impossible time with little training, little coaching, and essentially flying by the seat of their pants. I think the question to ask all of them though is, “How are you going to improve things over the summer?” Distance learning is not going away, and this summer is going to be where the rubber hits the road.
I think there are a whole lot of things that can make distance learning better. I think the irony is that I am at home supporting thousands of teachers yet I am not supporting my own kid’s teachers at the moment. Hopefully, this blog and the ones in the next couple of weeks might help.