The initial throws of COVID-19 brought schools to a swift halt in March. Virtual education eventually began and many teachers were able to finish the required curriculum. However, there were a lot of issues regarding teacher-student communication and technology access.
Now the 2020-2021 school year has begun. Major changes have been made to ensure that all students can have an (almost) normal year. Starting on August 17, Wake County Schools implemented schedules that allowed students to slowly adjust to the new norms.
Virtual Education Tools Create Options for Students
Each school is handling online learning differently, but a few consistencies remain. There are two types of learning: synchronous and asynchronous. Asynchronous instruction is virtual education that is not occurring live. Asynchronous instruction could involve the use of Khan Academy, Google Classroom, or Edpuzzle so students can take in information at their own pace. On the other hand, synchronous instruction involves a live connection between students and teachers to substitute for regular class time.
Google Meet has been the key to live virtual education instruction. Links are provided to each student, which allows them to log in, listen, and participate in the lessons. Students can participate by using their microphones. Teachers can also “present’ their screens to the class to provide a visual aid for the students.
Wake Co. Adapts to Students’ Needs With Breaks
Four weeks of virtual learning have gone by and virtual education has shifted into full swing. Tests, quizzes, and projects are now entering the picture for many students and this is taking a major learning curve. High school students must spend 10-12 hours on their computer every day in order to complete their assigned classwork. Then they are also responsible for homework. Due to the rigorous schedules, Wake County has allowed students to take a break in between each class to rest their eyes and minds.
Teachers have found new ways for students to engage in virtual education.
Teachers have gotten creative in integrating new methods into classes to get students involved. Live review games, such as Kahoot, Quizlet Live, and Quizzizz, allow students to get their mind out of the books and engage in some much needed interaction with their classmates. Google has also expanded their operations with extensions such as Google Jamboard. This allows teachers to share a link with their class to allow all of the students to interact on one document by posting their ideas or answers on sticky notes.
In the end, virtual learning will never be the same as walking into school to see your friends and interact with teachers. However, Wake County Schools have put in the effort to make this school year as special as any other. 2020 will definitely go down in history, so lets make this school year one of memories.
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