The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the way students are taught worldwide. Classroom learning has become living-room learning as students receive all of their lectures, notes, and assignments digitally instead of in-person from their teachers. It is abundantly clear that even after the world has completely recovered from the pandemic, the methods by which education is delivered to students will not completely return to the way it was before COVID-19. Technology will play an ever-more significant role in ensuring every student receives the same quality education as they did before. Along with this new transformation in the way education is delivered to students online is also a shift in parent and guardian expectations in terms of teacher and school communications.
Before, students were taught almost entirely in classrooms by their teachers or professors. Online learning was typically reserved for post-secondary institutions to serve those who had to learn remotely or to supplement the material taught in-person. Now that online learning is the main method of delivery for students worldwide, it’s critical that districts, schools and teachers adopt these three key solutions to ensure their students receive the same quality education as they did before:
The abrupt total transformation to online learning left many schools and teachers scrambling for solutions for “crisis distance learning” – in other words, finding and implementing solutions as quickly as possible.
Now, as time has passed and since the focus won’t shift off of online learning for the foreseeable future, it’s time to strategically implement effective long-term solutions. Many students have had inconsistent experiences with online learning since some districts have put the burden of adopting solutions on individual teachers for their respective classes, causing a variance in student experience depending on their teacher's expertise and knowledge of technology. Districts, schools and teachers need clear direction in leadership as to what solutions they need moving forward into this new age of learning.
The learning-from-home non-profit organization Learning Heroes surveyed hundreds of households as parents and guardians worldwide have had to quickly adapt to changing circumstances to help their students with home learning. With school districts having to implement new strategies to deliver learning material to their students digitally, they studied how parents and guardians have adjusted, their worries and what they expect in terms of communications with their children’s schools and teachers.
The study has found that while 71% of parents and guardians now have a greater appreciation for the work their children’s teachers do in the classroom, two-thirds said they do not have regular access to their children’s teachers. Over 60% of the parents surveyed said that they have not received the following resources from their children’s teachers or schools:
Although parents find text messages, phone calls, and online messaging to be the most effective forms of communication with their children’s students, these methods are among the least often used.
Of course, as with any rapid and significant change, multiple speed bumps and obstacles are to be expected before things run smoothly. Yet the question remains – how can schools, districts, and teachers be better prepared to serve their students, parents and guardians in terms of communications and material delivery as technology continues to play an increasingly more important role in education?
Mobile apps have become the new normal as to what is expected in terms of communications between parents and guardians and their children’s schools as the use of smartphones and/or tablets has surpassed the use of laptops or desktops in the current age. By presenting tailored information like grades, teacher contact information, important dates and notifications, an effective mobile app, such as SchoolBundle’s, helps bridge the communication gap between families and their schools. Intuitive features such as instant messaging through the mobile app to teachers readily allow for access when parents and guardians need it most.
One of the key factors that contributed to parents and guardians finding it more difficult to support their children with remote learning was missing technology in their households. Having schoolwork and other material easily accessible through a mobile app allows for equal access and flexibility in learning to households that may not own a computer, but often have multiple smartphones.
67% of parents and guardians also expressed that distance learning made them feel more connected with their children’s learning than ever before. They want to know exactly what their children are learning and if they are progressing appropriately. 92% of parents and guardians believe their children are progressing at or above grade level, when in fact it is only 37%. A solution is needed for parents and guardians to stay on top of both what their children are learning and their children’s progression through the learning material.
Class Connect brings the classroom into the home, providing a single location to manage communications, homework, and assignments. Class Sites seamlessly interacts with Office 365 and synchronizes information and assignments directly with SIS and learning management systems. Parents and guardians can see their student’s assignments, grades, due dates, and news all in one place, allowing them to be more involved in their children’s learning and helping them to stay on track. An effective Class Sites solution should also integrate within a school’s mobile app, making it even easier for parents and guardians to stay on top of their children’s learning.
Distance learning emphasizes how critical effective communication needs to be between parents, guardians and their children’s schools. Information and updates are expected to be clear and consistent across the school district, especially if parents and guardians have children in multiple schools. A unified communications platform, such as SchoolBundle, simplifies work for school administrators, as content can be created once then published across all mediums, including mobile apps, websites, social media platforms and class sites. One platform for every communications solution ensures messaging remains uniform and consistent, which is more important than ever when children are no longer in their classrooms.
It’s clear that the way students learn will never return completely to the way that it once was. The transformation to online learning will persist in the years to come as technology will continue to play a greater role in the way education is delivered. Districts, schools and teachers can become better prepared to meet parent and guardian expectations in terms of communications and delivery by adopting an effective mobile app, online class sites and by having a unified communications platform.
As families adapt to distance learning, mobile apps and class sites provide a single location for parents and guardians to stay on top of their children’s learning; homework, assignments, grades, important dates, news and updates can all be accessed right at their fingertips. A unified communications platform provides simplicity in distributing important information to families and ensures a consistent message is always delivered.
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