Eighty-three percent of parents of K-12 students report their child has participated in an online distance learning program since the coronavirus outbreak shuttered schools, according to a Gallup poll. However, a separate survey of students by Common Sense finds far fewer students -- 58% -- say they have participated in distance learning since the closures and shows a disparity between distance-learning opportunities among private-school and public-school students.
States should start thinking now about how to approach learning loss amid prolonged school closures and remote learning, according a report by researchers at Michigan State University. In the report, the researchers recommend that states extend the 2020-2021 school year, lengthen the school day or both.
Teachers nationwide are weighing the benefits of hosting live online classes or providing online lessons that students can access on-demand, which can be more convenient particularly for students who are sharing devices with their families. George Siemens, director of the LINK Research Lab at the University of Texas at Arlington, says it's likely that students who thrive in an in-person setting are more likely to do well in a live online setting.
Maureen McLaughlin, a mother of seven and a student herself, says the shift to remote learning has been challenging in her house. In this interview, she says that, with everything going on in the world, it can be difficult to identify the purpose in online lessons.
Nonprofit programs such as OneGoal, iMentor and College Possible that help low-income and first-generation students transition to college are scaling back fundraising and turning to online mentoring and chats to keep students engaged in the college admission process during the coronavirus pandemic. Counselors also worry that students will forgo college in the fall due to financial constraints, especially if learning is online.
Human interaction with wildlife may be one reason zoonotic viruses are spreading more easily to humans, according to findings published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B based on data gathered before the current coronavirus pandemic began. "Exploitation of wildlife through hunting and the wild animal trade may have increased opportunities for virus spillover because of the close contact between wildlife and humans involved in these activities," the researchers wrote.
Some students who are part of a health care program at Indian Capital Technology Center in Oklahoma are joining the front lines of the fight against coronavirus. Officials say they are rearranging some clinical work and making other adjustments to hopefully move students into the workforce where they are needed.
California math teacher Paula Hamilton challenged her sixth-grade students to create a design for a party of 19 people to use social distancing in the least amount of area. Students came up with ideas for rectangles, circles and squares, but they chose a more social-friendly hexagonal design, which Hamilton and her son re-created in front of their home.
To keep students engaged and participating in home learning while schools are closed, teachers can assign a couple of simple tasks to help students form good home-study habits, writes author and teacher educator Harry Fletcher-Wood. Other strategies include emphasizing the opportunity for students to connect with their peers, and identifying and removing barriers to participation, Fletcher-Wood recommends.
About one-fifth of teachers who participated in a recent Education Week Research Center survey reported that they are teaching live, virtual courses at predetermined times amid prolonged school closures, but many said it is challenging to keep students engaged and on task. Teachers' expectations for student behavior in the online environment vary widely, with some setting high expectations for attire and asking students not to snack and others offering more leeway.
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