Many new and innovative practices emerged as the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe, shuttering physical classrooms and pushing students and teachers online. It’s critical to document these stories, which range from efforts to close the homework gap and expand virtual learning to increased opportunities for DEIA. These stories are exactly what the eSchool News K-12 Hero Awards Program recognizes.
Sponsored by JAR Systems and SAP Concur, The eSchool News K-12 Hero Awards Program lets vendors nominate as many individuals or organizations as they’d like. The program recognizes the dedicated efforts of education professionals across K-12 departments, including IT, curriculum, instruction and administration. Nominations are open through Sept. 15.
eSN Editor-at-Large Kevin Hogan sat down with Amy Sterckx of K-12 Hero Awards Program nominee Green Bay Area Public School District, along with Axel Zimmermann with sponsor JAR Systems, to chat about post-pandemic education and innovation.
The district put more supports in place to help teachers and students learn virtually, and educators who hadn’t yet gotten around to learning tools like Google Classroom suddenly realized why having that knowledge was critically important. Taking advantage of available edtech tools is something that will stick around post-pandemic, said Sterckx, the district’s executive director of Technology & Information.
“”We were very close to a one to one solution for our students. Our secondary students were used to taking their devices home with them but it was our elementary students that we had to make sure had their device and their charging cord at home,” she explained. “When it comes to the wireless access, we did have a solution in place where students could check out a hot spot, if needed to get access to the internet, so although there was…we’ll call it a struggle, right to get all of those things that were in our buildings out to our students’ homes, once all of that was in place, we were in pretty good shape.”
“[The district] had multiple instances where they’ve been ahead of the curve, and by that I mean paid attention to what the problems will be months from now. I think a lot of school districts are still facing that exact reality and have nothing in place to really support the charging and the one-to-one, and they were one of the ones that had these discussions with us very early on,” Zimmermann said.
Post-pandemic, learning has new potential.
“I think what came out of the pandemic was a thought for how teachers teach content, for how students learn that content. Some of our schools opened up their eyes a little bit to the fact that our students can be responsible enough at any age to take their devices and charging cords home with them–but then what does that mean for us on the back end?” said Sterckx.
“Now we have our our thoughts open to [the idea that] learning can really take place outside of the four walls of our classrooms–that can take place 24/7 if we wanted it to.”
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