Embracing E-Learning For At-Home Educational Support - Stamford Moms

by Ellen Weston, Founder of Children’s Educational Consulting

Schools have closed due to the presence of COVID-19 in our community. And, classroom instruction has been replaced with online learning. While the virus is of great concern, so is our children’s ongoing education. I would like to offer some advice how to make online or distance learning a successful experience including using e-learning as a support to the virtual classroom.

It is important to understand that distance learning will continue to follow your child’s school’s curriculum. In addition, the virtual lessons of some private schools and all public schools will continue to adhere to the Common Core State Standards. Participating in the online classrooms, students will be able to continue their semester’s work with the full online support and guidance of their teachers.

First, here are some tips to parents who are trying to manage their students’ at-home education.

Getting started at-home

  1. An established study routine will be most helpful for your child’s distance learning. It is important to designate a space that is both comfortable and as free from distractions as possible. The area needs to include all necessary study materials as well as the necessary technology for learning (ipad, Chromebook or other technology device). Then, have your student become familiar with his/her school’s online platform.
  2. Students will follow a virtual school day schedule. Just as with traditional classroom learning, completing daily online homework is a must so that students do not fall behind and become unable to handle subsequent content. Homework time and studying will follow the virtual school day.

Be Informed

  1. As the parent of an online learner, it is imperative to be aware of the tools and services available to your student. By adequately preparing, and knowing how to help your student, your child will be more successful navigating the online educational world. This is especially important if you have younger children in elementary school or a child with special needs.
  2. Next, it is advisable to be familiar with your parent portal, your student’s online learning platform, and to become comfortable with it’s navigation. Depending on the age of your student you may wish to review assignments, grades, notes, etc. And, you will be more able to assist them, if and when they ask for your help.
  3. Know how to reach your student’s teacher if either you or your child has questions.
  4. Online learners (just like students in a traditional classroom) have e-learning opportunities beyond the lesson. E-learning now becomes additionally important to help students understand new content in the absence of a classroom teacher. E-learning offers the benefits of reviewing lessons presented in the online coursework. Particularly, it allows students to review material not well understood or to add challenge. Importantly, e-learning allows students to progress at their own pace.A separate discussion will follow on e-learning as an academic support.
  5. The Stamford Public Schools are employing Google Classroom.A Quick Link on the home page of the District website, Resources During Closure, will enable you to find access to educational as well as social/emotional resources.
  6. The Sasco River Center (the resultant merger of the Southfield Center and Sensory Kids) has created a downloadable Sasco River Center Parenting Survival Guide. Find it here.

Communicate with teachers & the school

  1. Students’ academic progress will continue to depend on the frequency and duration of their interaction with teachers, parents, and other students, regarding school and schoolwork. Schools will be advising how students/parents can communicate with the teacher(s) via the online platform. Teachers will be communicating with students and assisting them academically via the platform, too. And, students will be able to communicate with one another and to work collaboratively. 
  2. Additionally, parents should never hesitate to email their student’s teacher if they have any questions, need assistance, or need advice on how to help their student succeed.
  3. Follow all communication guidelines from your students’ schools. It is crucial to ensure that students are enrolled in a program where they receive feedback and communication from teachers, as needed. And, it is important that both parents and students feel as though they are part of a community and not just a ‘learning program.’

E-Learning to support virtual classwork

Online learning has been in existence for a number of years. Numerous schools were using a fully online teaching program or a hybrid (blended) approach. (The latter is a combination of online and in-class instruction.) Laptop computers, ipads and Chomebooks became important teaching devices. And, with online learning came the development of e-learning websites to support classroom instruction.

In today’s COVID-19 environment in which schools are closed, e-learning websites become very beneficial in providing academic support to the virtual classroom learning environment.

E-learning websites are helpful because a student can advance at his/her own pace.  Students can go back to previous lessons for review or start at a lower level if they feel they did not understand an underlying key concept.  The design and use of these websites can be appealing to the visual and auditory learner. The kinesthetic learner, who may have a harder time sitting still, will have the flexibility to stop for breaks. And, the tactile learner can doodle while listening and practicing the lesson.

Professionally, I highly recommend using e-learning websites to support academic learning.  I have used them as a teacher and advocate their use in my private practice. Students have found them helpful for extra review if they did not fully understand their lesson. Alternatively, these websites offer extra challenge to the quick learner. I have had favorable experience with Khan Academy and IXL, both excellent websites. Also, ask your child’s teacher(s) for suggestions to other web resources to help your online student be as successful as possible.

If you have any questions pertaining to this blog, I invite you to email me at [email protected].

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