Preparing for online learning ‘a whole new ballgame’ for teachers, students

North Carolina news

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Duke University experts said Wednesday that online learning in the K-12 system would require patience for the first few weeks.

“Remote learning really is like playing a different game. Students, teachers, parents, they have to figure out how to do these familiar things but in a different way. How do I submit an assignment? How do I deliver instruction? How do I ask a question?” said Brian Cooper, director of educational innovation and online learning at Duke’s Talent Identification Program.

Cooper said schools need to plan extra time for teachers, students and families to get a handle on their new reality.

Access challenges for English learners

Leslie Babinski surveyed teachers across the state immediately after schools shut down. She is director of the Center for Child and Family Policy at Duke. Her study focused on English language learners.

“It’s really important that we listen to teachers and their experiences during this period and planning for the next year,” said Babinski.

Her research found:

  • 65 percent of English language learners needed the school to supply them a device for online learning.
  • 31 percent needed a hotspot supplied by the school
  • 48 percent did not have a parent who could help them at home
  • 39 percent of those household had students as young as second grade helping a younger sibling with school work

“This is a whole new ballgame,” said Babinski.

While Babinski said younger children are constantly learning in their every day environments, challenges to online learning resource access can have long term impacts for students in their academic learning.

“They’re missing chunks of their education in terms of specific skill development,” said Babinski.

Impacts on low-income students

The challenges to access don’t stop at English language learner. Kenneth Dodge, early child development expert at Duke said one in six children across the country do not have adequate access to online learning platforms.

“They either do not have internet service coming to their home, or they do not have an internet subscription that supports high-speed access, or they do not have a computer device in their home. Let alone whether they have a parent with the knowledge to supervise them.”

He said there are four basic requirements to online learning success

  1. Broadband internet access
  2. High-speed internet with enough data to support virtual learning platforms
  3. A device to access class materials
  4. Training and technology support for parents and students

Watch the video below for his explanation and proposed solutions.

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