Regardless if your child is going fully virtual or following a hybrid plan, most students will be learning remotely at some point during this academic year.
With remote learning still relatively new for most families, preparations are needed.
“The biggest barrier to remote learning is having a good setup, that is, access to materials and technology...as well as resources such as uninterrupted space and time for learning,” said Sandra Chafouleas, professor of educational psychology at UConn.
Enough technology and room for everyone in the family is also key.
“With multiple children trying to share a single access device, the challenges become even greater for organizing and scheduling routines for work, play, eating,” said Michael Young, associate professor in educational psychology at UConn. “Noise-canceling headphones that allow multiple online users to use the same space without interfering can be a good start.”
Another challenge of remote learning is the loss of social development and connection between students.
“It has equally to do with students’ social welfare as well as academic development,” said Katherine Roe, assistant professor of education and educational psychology at Western Connecticut State University. “So many of our students need to go to school for childcare, they need to be in school for meals, so that’s a huge piece there.”
As a way to help maintain a child’s social connections, parents can help encourage virtual play with other students.
“Social learning is an inherent part of school and parents should support students having time to connect, even play together online,” Young said. “Many parents seek to limit ‘screen time’ and now that students are online for classes, some parents may seek a balance by insisting students step away from devices for social entertainment. While a balance in life is always a worthy goal, depriving students of a chance to socially interact with peers may itself become a problem.”
While remote learning is an adjustment, it is helpful to have an open mind.
“People need to embrace (remote learning) or possibly at least be open to the idea that traditional education may be evolving,” Roe said.