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Teachers, Parents Navigating Challenges with Distance Learning

Posted at 11:18 AM, Apr 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-08 19:58:11-04

TULSA, Okla. — As schools across Oklahoma are spending the week getting adjusted to how they will approach distance learning, parents and teachers are running into challenges with going remote.

Sommer Lyons is an early childhood teacher with Tulsa Public Schools. She says she has had numerous parents approach her about difficulties getting online and helping their child set up their Chromebooks to use for online education.

Lyons says teachers are required to check in with their students once every day, and many are doing so through Zoom or other video calling software. However, parents say the Chromebooks students use are specially set up for those students; their children know how to navigate the computer but parents can have difficulty managing it.

Another issue is the learning curve for students who don't have technology at home. TPS is distributing Chromebooks and is working on ways to get students online who don't have access to that technology, but those students still have to learn how to use the technology in a way others may already be used to.

Lyons says distance learning provides a unique opportunity for parents to help their children learn, with daily lessons and assignments students can do at home. However, parents who are working from home now have to work around their school’s schedule to help their children learn, while also continuing to work.

As a solution to the challenges the week has revealed, Lyons suggests students follow the same tips their parents can use working from home. Students can create an area to work with everything in one place, and parents can set times for them to work and goals for the day.

Lyons also suggests students get up at the same time in the morning and start work early. She says students work well in the morning, and can get ahead on their assignments. While different grades have different times throughout the day to check in with their teachers, Lyons says don’t necessarily make your child’s meeting with their teacher the beginning of the day.

This week will mostly include getting students online and setting up the rest of the semester. Next week will turn learning over to the teachers, leaving it up to them to determine how best to teach their students. Lyons says it will be important for students to work for a few hours every day, but also continue to get some activity.

After this week, distance learning will be the new normal, with teachers taking advantage of being able to use the world as their classroom. Lyons says distance learning provides opportunities for teachers to record experiments outside and create learning videos, and go over them one-on-one with students.

Lyons says parents helping and checking in with their kids as much as possible will make the transition smoother, and will avoid tardiness in the spring months. She says this is the time when students begin skipping, but with distance learning parents will have a way to make sure their kids are checking in with their teachers and completing assignments every day.

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