The Department of Education is allowing states to apply to use portions of Title I, II, III, IV and V funds for professional development and technology infrastructure to support distance learning. The department outlined several flexibilities and said states can expect an initial response within one business day.
Some school districts that adopted Zoom in their sudden efforts to provide remote instruction -- including Las Vegas, New York City and Washington, D.C. -- have announced they will discontinue their use of the platform. At issue, they say, are concerns about privacy, harassment and security.
Mansfield University Campus Technologies in Pennsylvania says it is providing free, drive-up Wi-Fi at some campus locations to ensure students without Wi-Fi at home can access it. The college is located in a rural area where access to broadband internet access is challenging.
School districts say they are concerned that the coronavirus pandemic could have a chilling effect on participation in the US census. At issue, they say, is that reduced participation could affect funding for schools and have long-term implications when the country is facing a potential recession.
School boards and other governing bodies have adopted virtual meetings to comply with social distancing guidelines. The move to virtual meetings has raised concerns over transparency in government and whether such meetings are in compliance with states' "sunshine" laws.
The abrupt shift to remote learning has led to an increased use of Zoom, including 90,000 schools in 20 countries. The sudden adoption has overwhelmed the company's customer service team, and led to complications for schools amid concerns about privacy, hacking and even unapproved use of the platform.
A group of engineering students at The Citadel are building a pair of robotic hands and programing them to use American Sign Language using voice recognition software. While the robotic hands lack the physical or facial expressions that are important to the language, students say they want to create an online workshop that can teach students anywhere how to create the robot, which is cheap and easy to do, according to cadet Paul Vargas.
School leaders are making on-the-fly adjustments to online learning approaches as they encounter various challenges and barriers. Northshore School District in Seattle has shifted to direct instruction on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays with small group and intervention approaches on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Teen Vogue is creating a virtual prom on May 16 that will enable high schools to participate in a Zoom dance with special backdrops, customized playlists and cameos from TikTok stars and celebrities. The publisher will promote the virtual event with an Instagram Live series featuring a prom committee and advice on fashion and dancing.
A new Google website provides reports on how well people are complying with social distancing orders and recommendations around the world. The site uses anonymized location data collected from Google products and services to determine changes in crowd patterns at retail stores, recreational areas, grocery stores, pharmacies, parks, transit stations, workplaces and homes.
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