What it means to them…
In keeping with my trend, I wanted to get the perspective of my family and how “continuous learning” has impacted them.
I have three grandchildren in elementary school. Dean is in the 4th grade, Logan is in 2nd grade, and Kenzie is in 1st grade. I also have Hazel and Ethan in the same preschool class. My son-in-law, Nick, is a high school teacher, and my daughter is an elementary school media assistant working as the school librarian.
Simple answers for simple questions…
Oldest grandson, Dean, was very straight up honest, “I don’t like it.” I asked him why, and he said he “wasn’t challenged enough.” He misses his interaction with his teacher and his classmates, but an occasional Zoom meeting helps.
Logan enjoys when the small groups and class meet via Zoom. He challenges himself to get up early and get his daily assignments done. His rational is, “I can get it done early, and then I have time to play the rest of the day.”
Hazel misses her friends at preschool, including her cousin, Ethan. However, her teacher, Ms. Becky, sends her students two letters through the postal service every week just to say hello. That is a highlight that she looks forward to.
Kenzie likes that she has more time to work on her math answers and enjoys Like to Draw videos. Her class also uses Zoom with her 20 classmates and each gets to tell a joke to the class. She says, “It’s not the same as school. It’s hard to focus and pretty boring.”
Ethan reflects what his cousin Hazel says about preschool, missing friends and playtime. His highlight is also receiving Ms. Becky’s letters in the mail.
Sarah has been working with the Specials Team teachers, Art, Music, etc. Her challenge is the different ways teachers use different platforms for assignments and sorting through how grades can be quantified for each student. These teachers each connect with 700+ students.
Nick was recently interviewed by a local newspaper and was asked a few questions about continuous learning. I think he has summed up what my grandchildren are experiencing, like many others:
- e-Learning, of course, is typically done a day here, a day there. Now it's for the next several weeks. What are going to be the biggest challenges with that and how will you overcome those challenges?
- "I have received several emails, especially at the beginning of our eLearning, from students. They were not about questions on quizzes or assignments, but rather about missing being at school. These emails are difficult to read, because it drives home the fact that school is much more than a place for knowledge. For many kids, it’s their social support. It is what keeps them involved and connected to the world. The biggest challenge for us, as role models in the school, is to prioritize student well-being over curriculum. Of course, we want them to learn content and increase their knowledge, but it does no good for a school or society if a student feels overwhelmed and becomes disconnected. Our school attempts to limit this by making our lessons simple and to-the-point. Also, by maintaining positive relationships with our students. A simple weekly video or meeting just touching base with kids can make a big difference in their lives. Also, people tend to want to do more when they feel connected and appreciated by their group."
This is a challenging time that came upon all of us very suddenly. However, for many schools, the framework was in place. Educators are adapting the best ways they can.
Let’s not forget about parents who are experiencing the continuous learning as home-school support for their children. I asked my daughter, Emily, about her experience with her young two children. She had lots to say, so I will only share a few comments. She likes that it is helping keep some structure and guidance for the rest of this academic year. But she notes it is hard to keep a 1st grader’s attention on a computer for very long. She appreciates the extra time they now have for creativity and play together.
Adding to the continuous learning implemented by schools, we in the “stay at home” scenario, which further isolates us.
Most have adapted to utilize technology that has always been there, but it has become the norm in so many ways. Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, and even Facetime and Duo have allowed us to gather virtually. Does it take the place of face to face? Hardly, but it offers an opportunity to have a visual impact on each person on either end of the screen. A visual peace so to speak…