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So, What’s the Perfect Answer for Returning to School?

Katie Lynch Co-Op, Content Marketing Published 12 Aug 2020

The school year is quickly approaching and administrations across the country are frantically working to finalize a plan for the fall semester. There is certainly no perfect plan, or a one size fits all solution. Some schools are committing to completely virtual classes, others have decided to return to normal with added safety precautions. The rest are going to explore the options in between, such as hybrid classrooms or dividing the students into a morning and an evening group in efforts to reduce class sizes and practice social distancing. With no ideal solution and many unknowns in the future, schools must be prepared to return to completely virtual classes.

This past spring semester, teachers scrambled to transfer their classes online. Some teachers adjusted to the online format with ease, while others adopted a “good enough” mentality. Regardless of the teaching platform, learning needs to continue for students to stay on track with the curriculum. To do this, each student is going to need internet access with reliable connectivity, as well as some very creative teachers.

Gaining Internet Access

A study conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics found that 88% of children in the U.S. between the ages of 3-18 years old had home internet access through a computer; an additional 6% of students had internet access through a smart phone. With approximately 50.8 million kindergarten through twelfth-grade students, roughly 609,600 have no internet access in their homes. At the end of the 2019-2020 school year, many districts resorted to running the copy machines on full tilt in order to provide thick packets for students to take home. Although that was a quick fix, it is by no means efficient or sustainable for the long term. So, the question here remains, how do we get internet access to these students?

Extreme Networks solves this dilemma through Wi-Fi on Wheels! With the installment of hotspots or access points located around a city or town, students will be able to continue to connect to their free school Wi-Fi from the comfort of their own home.

Teacher Creativity

No matter your age, working from home comes with many distractions making it hard to stay focused. If as adults we are having difficulty focusing how can we expect students to stay engaged? While there is no exact formula or secret tricks, I do have a few suggestions:

  1. Utilize all Multimedia Options – This year thinking outside the box is mandatory, which means finding podcast, videos, slideshows, movies, TV shows that students can analysis and relate back to the course topic. This variety of media will boost critical thinking and differentiate learning material.
  2. Create a Game – Who doesn’t like a good game! Games like Kahoot!, Sheppard Software, Mr. Nussbaum, National Geographic Kids, Brain Fun, and hundreds more are free and can be played remotely for all ages. Simple games like these can give a break from the usual learning style, while continuing to keep the student engaged.
  3. Get the Most out of Online Tools – Tools like Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams, Google Slides, Trello, Zoom, etc. All of these tools can be extremely helpful if you know how to get the most out of them! My personal favorite tutorial videos and guides are on Teacher’s Tech, but there are many other helpful videos as well.

All in all, the situation we are in due to the COVID-19 pandemic is for the most part out of our control. The course of action in how we prepare makes it vital to bring the best internet connectivity to students and teachers. This school year it going to be filled with unknowns, firsts, and lots of ups and downs. In the end, we are all in this together, one way or another we will prevail and have more knowledge than we had prior to the pandemic.

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