7 predictions about pandemic learning

Each year, we share our 10 most-read stories. Not surprisingly, many of this year’s Top 10 focused on student engagement and online or hybrid learning strategies related to pandemic teaching. This year’s Number 1 most-read story focuses on what back-to-school looks like during pandemic learning.

As schools across the nation open their classrooms for a return to full in-person learning, educators, parents, and stakeholders are wondering what the fall will bring. Concerns about COVID surges and a return to remote or hybrid learning aren’t far from educators’ minds.

When schools across the country started shutting down in-person instruction in March of 2020 in response to the COVID-19 virus, much of the nation’s focus turned to COVID’s immediate and long-term impact on students. …Read More

5 workable scenarios for flexible pandemic learning

We all thought and hoped we were out of the COVID woods, but the rise of the Delta variant left school districts, parents, and teachers rethinking their back-to-school plans. The first wave of the coronavirus left children fairly unscathed, but this new variant is something different.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Delta variant is more than twice as contagious as previous variants and current evidence suggests it might cause more severe illness in unvaccinated people. This is particularly worrisome for parents and educators because children under 12 have not yet been allowed to be vaccinated.

During the first shutdown, schools learned a lot about how to effectively deploy remote and hybrid learning set-ups. According to the Center for American Progress, in the 20-21 school year, 74 percent of the 100 largest school districts in the U.S. chose remote learning only as their back-to-school instructional model. This impacted more than 9 million students.…Read More

Building your emergency back-to-school kit with reliable connectivity

A simmering demand for reliable connectivity in education turned to a boil during the pandemic when the digital divide–something that many under-connected communities were already facing–exploded. This was felt drastically as the pivot to remote learning exposed a widening gap between students who have access to high-speed internet compared to those who do not.

While there are hopeful signs that the pandemic is waning, schools will continue to rely on solutions that support flexible learning moving forward. From extreme weather knocking districts offline to students trying to stay in the loop when they are stuck at home sick, consistent connectivity is a staple for today’s modernized “pencil box.” It ensures students have access to the resources they need–no matter the circumstances.

With a new school year approaching, and the education sector forever changed in the shadow of the pandemic, there is a growing expectation among students, parents, and government institutions to be better prepared for the future. But preparing for the unexpected is easier said than done. So just how can school districts ready themselves to ensure consistent and reliable connectivity no matter what?

The key to making it happen is to understand the value of emerging technologies and approaches that support enhanced connectivity, such as Private Cellular Networks (PCNs), and leverage the right relief programs that can support investments in these types of solutions to close the digital divide. Only then can schools begin to lay the foundation of reliable connections that students need to combat this growing divide in the face of any unforeseen challenge.…Read More

7 eye-opening back-to-school predictions

This back-to-school season is unlike any before it. Not only are many students heading back to full in-person learning after more than a year of virtual or hybrid learning, they’re doing it in the middle of COVID-19 surges nationwide.

The pandemic brought with it a renewed focus on glaring equity gaps, the need for strong cybersecurity practices, and social-emotional support for students and educators.

Here, educators share some of their back-to-school predictions, including trends and practices they expect to see as the school year progresses.…Read More

Safer at home: Parents need online learning options

As fears about the continued spread of Covid-19 and the Delta variant circulate throughout the country, the return to in-person learning this fall has become an even more hotly debated issue than before. Many school districts are struggling to revise their back-to-school plans and alleviate parental fears, while continuing to address criticism over the subpar virtual learning many students experienced last year.

Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s updated mask guidelines and recent Covid-19 outbreaks at some K-12 schools are leaving many wondering if it’s possible to keep students and their families safe in the wake of so many unknowns.

In Arkansas, for example, one school district has placed more than 160 students in quarantine after seven students and three staff members tested positive for coronavirus. Despite this, New York City—the nation’s largest school district—is still on track to offer 100 percent in-person schooling, with no remote option available.…Read More

The role of no-code in back-to-school safety

The next challenge for educators as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic is safely returning to in-person learning. After over a year of forced shutdowns and adoption of an online workforce and remote learning, the logistics of safely returning to in-person learning are overwhelming. The challenge is even greater with the Delta variant of COVID-19 becoming more prolific, and K-12 districts, colleges, and universities are racing against the clock to figure out what their approach will be this coming fall.

Whether schools opt for a phased approach, stay with hybrid learning or proceed with fully in-person classes, the goal is the same: to safely, quickly and efficiently return to school. Further, higher education institutions have to be cognizant of their impact on the larger community. Colleges and universities are a hub–with thousands traveling to and from campus each year, mingling, cohabitating and more, what happens within an academic institution may reach far beyond the campus.

So what can be done to help leaders navigate these challenges? Enter no-code. The past year has highlighted the need for agility and the ability to adapt when change and disruption happens – which, as we know, is a constant. The adoption of no-code processes is vital to empowering organizations to adapt with change.…Read More

8 fun digital learning tools for the new school year

This fall’s back-to-school season brings with it a variety of emotions–excitement, relief, anticipation, and hesitation prompted by concerns around COVID-19’s Delta variant. And because schools may move to hybrid or virtual learning despite starting in person, digital learning tools that work in the physical or virtual classroom can prove invaluable.

Recent research from Texthelp shows that teachers believe students were significantly less engaged this past school year, but that digital tools were a bright spot in their classrooms. In fact, 90 percent of teachers say they plan to use edtech tools this upcoming school year.

Through using these tools, teachers say they experienced increased efficiency across the board and that students now have the accessible and engaging tools they need.…Read More

Aperture Education’s 2021 Back-to-School Guide Helps Teachers Support Social and Emotional Learning this School Year

Charlotte N.C. (August 17, 2021) — Social and emotional learning (SEL) will play an important role this school year to help students process the events of the past 18 months and re-focus on learning. Aperture Education, the leading provider of researched-backed SEL assessments for K-12 schools, has released its free 2021 Back-to-School Guide to help teachers and administrators support students and families as schools resume. The Guide is packed with SEL information, resources, lessons, and activities that can be used to help teachers and students manage stress, strengthen SEL skills, support student engagement, and more. To download the 2021 Back-to-School Guide, visit https://bit.ly/386CniJ.

“As we head into a new school year focused on learning recovery and acceleration – and hopefully returning to a sense of normal, we need all hands on deck to support students,” said Aperture Education CEO Jessica Adamson. “The resources in our Back-to-School Guide will help district leaders, teachers, and parents as they work together to support students’ wellbeing as school resumes.”

Resources and tips in the Guide include:
Strengthening Students’ Resilience
Getting Teachers and Students Back On-Track in 2021–22 with SEL
6 Ways to Build Strong Teacher-Student Relationships with SEL
Reduce Chronic Absenteeism with SEL
Manage Your Stress This Year With SEL
Manage Your Students’ Stress This Year With SEL
10 Social and Emotional Learning Activities for Grades K–8
10 Social and Emotional Learning Activities for Grades 9–12
Seen and Heard: 4 Examples of How to Incorporate Student Voice, Choice, and SEL
Supporting Schools, Educators, and Staff
Revitalize Student Engagement with an Inclusive, Supportive School Culture
8 Tips for Leading Highly Effective SEL Professional Development
SEL Funding: Using CARES Act and The American Rescue Plan Funding for SEL
Helping Families Build SEL at Home, including an SEL FAQ letter schools can share with parents
SEL Resources for Families…Read More

How to strengthen school IT for continued hybrid learning

With school out and summer break here, administrators are planning for the fall – but much still remains up in the air. Despite rising vaccinations, it seems inevitable that just like hybrid enterprises, hybrid schooling will continue to be the new normal. So how can district IT teams continue to handle the infrastructure impact that hybrid environments create?

In 2020, COVID-19 forced much of the K-12 world to adapt to a remote-first learning environment. With the nation re-opening amid rising vaccinations, hybrid models for workplaces are now becoming the new norm. Looking forward to back-to-school season, it is quite likely that we will see the same option continue for students for the foreseeable future.

These virtual models, though, have directly impacted school IT infrastructure in unanticipated ways. To ensure operational longevity and prevent any child from falling behind, it’s never been more critical for schools to reevaluate their IT infrastructure.…Read More

Leading EdTech Learning Platform Launches Major Upgrades for Back-to-School

Red Bank, NJ, July 12, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) —  Achieve3000, the leader in differentiated instruction and learning acceleration for students in grades PreK-12, has made several significant upgrades to its digital solutions for the 2021-22 school year. The new features and improvements across all of the organization’s cloud-based products are designed to increase student engagement, enhance the user experience, and empower educators to accelerate and deepen learning.

“At Achieve3000, we’re always looking for ways to make our solutions more effective and easier to use, but this year, our product development team pulled out all the stops,” said Stuart Udell, CEO, Achieve3000. “Educators, administrators, and students will all be very excited when they see what we have in store for them in the fall.”

Some of the key changes on a solution-by-solution basis include:…Read More