Educators across the nation have had to scramble to make a dramatic shift to remote learning in the face of school building closures due to the novel coronavirus pandemic and the COVID-19 disease it causes. Every teacher in every grade is doing what they can to provide virtual learning. But distance learning is no easy task.
Creative activities easy to do in the classroom are impossible to do remotely. Video conference tools and webinar software allow for some live sessions with students. Classroom management headaches have been replaced with technology issues and concerns over student participation. Internet access and computers aren’t available in every single home. Parents have had to step up to facilitate and manage learning even while trying to work from home, if they’re working at all. It’s important to remember that this monumental shift every educator has had to make was not a choice, it was a response to an emergency. Our aim with this list of information is to link parents and instructors to articles and websites that can help guide virtual learning efforts across the nation. In each section of the article, we’ll link you to a couple specific sites, and then point you to the best lists we’ve found that contain many more items to explore.
Resources for Online Education During COVID-19 School Facility Closures
Most schools and educators had all of one week for planning how to deliver distance learning, or two weeks if they were lucky. They’ve had to quickly assess what lesson plan ideas they would have delivered in the classroom would still work in a remote instruction environment. They’ve had to quickly rethink many activities that wouldn’t work at all in a remote approach. And they’ve been putting their creativity to the test with innovative tools to come up with educational activities to engage each student.
Tools, activities, information, tips, strategies, engagement—it’s no wonder people’s heads are spinning. And then there’s all the uncertainty layered over all of it. When will school be able to open back up? When will learning go back to normal? What ongoing learning impacts will need to be dealt with? Will students learn what they need to know? How will grades be affected? None of these questions can be answered at this point, and there’s no telling when solid answers will be forthcoming. But in the meantime, we hope the sites and resource listings we provide below will help parents, educators, and schools get through this crisis.
Resources for Parents and Families
Remote learning has put many families, parents, and caregivers into a whole new world of not only dealing with the impacts of the crisis on their work life, but also trying to help manage remote learning for their children. Below are web-based listings to help parents and caregivers support remote education for their at-home students:
- Wide Open School: Powered by commonsense.org has a great collection of information for families managing virtual school. Schedules and learning activities are divided into two grade groups—preK-5 and 6-12, and include the mechanics and logistics of learning from home.
- Supporting Kids’ Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic, this article from We Are Teachers gives great tips for both caregivers and instructors on helping kids cope with the crisis and its impacts.
- Resources for Families During the Coronavirus Pandemic: Also assembled by commonsense.org, this pages links parents to a variety of articles and strategies for managing learning and life during the crisis.
- Free Resources, FAQ for Families Educating at Home During Coronavirus Pandemic: Assembled by National School Choice Week, this page has listings of helpful items and answers questions many parents are asking during the crisis.
Resources for Teachers
Instructors are doing their best to provide a quality education throughout the U.S. during a crisis. No one wants to see any child or student slip through the cracks. It’s a major challenge, and we hope the support found in the listings below will help:
- Pearson’s Working and Learning Online During a Pandemic: Learning How to Get the Most from Online Education: This website has a wide range of items available to K-12 educators, including a webinar for special education teachers, sample schedules, keeping students engaged, and much more.
- Online Learning Resources for Kids in Grades K-5: Assembled by We Are Teachers, this extensive list includes sources for many ready-made lesson plans on all kinds of subjects and topics. The list also notes which items are always free and which are available by special arrangements through the crisis.
- Online Learning Resources for Grades 6-12: Another We Are Teachers website collection of sites geared towards older learners.
- Free Online Resources for Schools Shifting Online: Assembled by National School Choice Week on their website, listings are organized into categories, including virtual communication platforms, platforms to create interactive presentations, and topical items for ELA, Foreign language and ESL, math, science, social studies, special education, STEM, and more.
- Free K-12 Resources During Coronavirus Pandemic: This list is assembled and updated by District Administration and is especially focused on offerings that aren’t normally free but are being made available by special arrangement during the crisis.
- Zoombombing Resources: With so many instructors and schools using Zoom for live remote classes, there has also been a huge uptick in uninvited people interrupting sessions and doing inappropriate things. This page from the University of Southern California gives detailed information and guidelines on changing settings and managing session to help prevent Zoombombing of class meetings.
Resources for School Districts and Administrators
Educational systems around the country have had to scale virtual teaching with very little time for planning. The sites and tools listed below will help not only in this time of crisis, but for planning for future closures when they happen:
- Connections Academy Email Hotline: This is group that supports virtual schools, and it’s making its education experts available via an email hotline and other support information to provide assistance to any pre-K-12 teacher with remote teaching.
- Impero Education Pro Web-Based Software: To help educators keep students on task while learning at home, Impero Software is making its Impero Education Pro web-based software free for the remainder of the school year to districts that do not already have remote monitoring software in place. The cross-platform product combines tools for safety, teacher control, and real-time monitoring and session tracking for student devices. Educators have access to key tools including live thumbnail view, broadcast screen, block list, live chat, and log viewer to ensure students receive continued access to education.
- Remote Learning and Virtual Class Platforms: While the shift to remote learning happened on an emergency basis, many school districts will be looking to figure out a better plan to be ready for future school closures if and when they happen. We Are Teachers has put together a great list of platforms school districts can consider for improved remote learning.
- Professional Development and Training: Some schools have opted for reduced schedules that actually result in more time for instructors to figure out what to do for remote learning. Once they develop a rhythm, they may actually have more time for professional development, and We Are Teachers has a solid list of options for schools to examine.
Achieve Virtual Education Academy: Online High School in Indiana
It’s difficult for us to see so many educators, families, students, staff, and administrators in communities across the country struggling to deal with making such a dramatic shift in their educational practices during this period of crisis. Please know that should you find virtual learning is particularly well-suited for your high school student, Achieve Virtual is a robust remote high school program designed to help students meet the requirements of a high school diploma in Indiana. We are approved by the state Department of Education, our classes align with state curriculum standards, and each course is taught by a real Indiana teacher.
Achieve Virtual is designed to give students maximum flexibility in the where and when of their high school education, providing them a personalized learning agenda with full teacher support along the way. Explore our website to learn more, and always feel free to contact us directly if you have questions about how our virtual high school program works.