With so many students learning from home, the critical question we face as educators today is: what does effective and productive distance learning look like exactly? Through distance learning, schools can continue making great strides forward with students for the future. In fact, with the right infrastructure and learning management systems in place, along with hotspots to allow all students Internet access from home, distance learning can still result in real learning. Without these systems already in place, continuing education at the same rate as before would be virtually impossible. Many schools across the country are struggling to provide the resources necessary for students to continuously be challenged in meaningful and measurable
ways from home.
Always striving to stay a step ahead and prepared for any hurdles thrown its way, iLearn Schools was thankfully ahead of the curve and prepared for such a challenge. This is because at the beginning of the school year at iLearn Schools:
- All K-2 students are given Class Dojo accounts
- All students in grades 3-12 are given personal email accounts
- All students in grades 7-12 are given personal Chromebooks
In addition, to help support our distance learning program, close to 600 devices with Wi- Fi connections were given out to our students during this challenging time. This is what we call the infrastructure of distance learning. It is because of this established technology infrastructure that we were able to reach out to each and every student on March 17th, 2020, which marked the first day of our distance learning program.
At iLearn Schools, we don’t use “Work Packets.” Instead, we use real-time classroom materials, and our interactions with students are extremely dynamic. Each and every school has their daily program and all students are aware of the expectations and their daily schedule. We can run our distance learning program as long as it is needed, not necessarily on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Most importantly, we use a Learning Management System (LMS), which is a must for any distance learning program. It is the platform that our educators can interact with and provide feedback to our students through. We know that learning can only be possible through meaningful interactions. Without being able to reach out to individual students, how could we expect to meet their needs?
In any challenging situation, remaining composed, optimistic, and a part of a larger mission and vision is critical to a person’s ongoing success. Across all grade levels, morning announcement videos help build senses of routine, structure, and normalcy even through distance learning. Zoom video conferencing allows all students and staff to stay socially connected in working together as a tight-knit team, too. PLCs, departmental meetings, grade level meetings, and mentoring meetings, along with executive, academic, and special education meetings are all run virtually through Zoom.
iLearn Schools’ distance learning plan was made possible through the incredible efforts and close collaboration among iLearn Schools’ executive team, academic team, school administration, school security and operations, and the entire team of school leaders and teachers across all schools. From day one, iLearn Schools’ teachers and school administrators were able to keep in close contact with students and families, as well as with each other in the process of learning together through this experience, demonstrating that we are fully invested in ensuring that our students continue making purposeful forward progress regardless of the setting.
At iLearn Schools, we believe that no matter the challenge in front of us, we can conquer it together through our caring and continued commitment to learning in the face of adversity.
iLearn Schools’ distance learning program (iContinue Learning) provides students, staff, and families across all iLearn Schools with the technological learning tools and social platforms needed to stay connected while taking continuous strides forward together. iContinue Learning program sees that the entire iLearn community always remains together in learning from either near or far.
CEO, iLearn Schools