The Pandemic and Education: Non-Profits Offer Efficient Resources to Bridge the Gap

The abrupt closure of schools and transition to distance learning in response to the novel coronavirus caused an undue amount of stress on educators, students, and parents. It has also exposed many of the disparities and social injustices in the nation’s educational system. Though the fall is still a few months away, there are rising debates on whether schools should reopen amid a pandemic, and more importantly, how to ensure that students across the country receive an authentic educational experience.

Many Districts Struggled to Provide Resources

Even before the coronavirus pandemic schools in poorer districts struggle to provide the resources students needed to learn effectively. From textbooks and software to modern technology and basic school supplies, poorly-funded schools lacked the capital and support necessary to ensure their students had what they need. The pandemic, however, has shed even more light on this issue.

At the start of the pandemic, schools were forced to close to slow the spread. Students in poorer districts and/or from low-income families were without quality internet access and computers/laptops necessary to continue their education through distance learning.

Some schools were able to deliver laptops to their students, but many didn’t have enough to go around. Telecommunication companies offered free internet service, but the quality wasn’t ideal for video conferencing, applications, and other digital resources students need to engage.

Students Find Online Learning to be Complicated

With little warning and few resources, educators scrambled to find an efficient way to continue to teach their students. Using a number of digital platforms and resources, teachers did everything in their power to ensure their students were still getting a quality education.

Many relied on video conferencing software for group sessions and lectures, utilized sites approved by their district to assign online assignments, and provided students with links to free resources to aid them in their studies.

Even with these resources in place, students struggled to achieve academic success. If it wasn’t an issue of having the necessary resources to access content and attend class, students found themselves struggling to keep up with the class.

Without teachers there to provide detailed instruction on the text they’re reading and the assignments they’re completing, students struggled to grasp key concepts and successfully complete coursework.

Parents Become Educators

When schools went virtual, parents became educators. This added role to parenthood was challenging for all. This is especially true for adults who were fortunate enough to remain employed during the pandemic as they adjust to working from home or working longer hours.

Parents have become responsible for filling in the gaps in their children’s education. It is mom and dad who were left to explain complex subject matters (that they sometimes struggle to understand themselves). It was essentially the parents who became responsible for ensuring their children are meeting the requirements set forth by teachers.

Whether it meant doing the work alongside their child, helping with additional research, assisting with periodic homework and class assignments, or simply ensuring that their children were disciplined in their studies, this was a role most parents were not prepared for.

A Nation Divided

As the fall draws closer, there is a great divide in the United States. Should schools reopen or are students better off remaining safe in their homes? While districts have been working for several weeks now to devise plans for a safe return to in-person classes that range from full in-person classes, a strictly virtual school year, or a combination of both, there is still a lot of concern.

As new cases continue to rise, how can districts ensure the safety of both the students and teachers? Will schools with less funding have enough capital to invest in everything they’ll need? What happens if cases don’t go down or there is an outbreak in the school?

While there is certainly a lot to debate here, whether school districts decide to fully reopen in-person, stick to online learning, or some combination of the two, how are educators going to provide their students with an authentic education that works (in-person, virtual, or hybrid)?

Free Open Source Resources for Immersive Learning

Curriki is a non-profit organization that offers free open educational resources to bridge the gap in distance learning. Educators have been using Curriki for over a decade to curate and share open educational resources – this is not what Curriki is doing now. We just launched the interactive content creation tools.

With easy-to-use tools like CurrikiStudio and CurrikiGo, teachers can create lessons that are fun, engaging, and more effective in helping children achieve academic success. Educators can create videos, games, assessments, and much more that students can access easily.

School Districts, Educators, Students, and Parents Benefit

Tools such as this can be used to bridge the gap in distance learning while also resolving many of the issues discussed above as they relate to the pandemic and education. A free open-source educational resource resolves an issue for financially strapped school districts, students, and their families, the easy-to-use tools provide teachers with a platform to provide quality content for their classes, students have an easier time comprehending lessons, and parents have more resources they can tap into to enrich at-home education.

Satisfying All Sides of the Fall Debate

Whether school districts decide to reopen completely, on a part-time basis, exclusively online, or a combination of in-person and virtual learning, having resources such as those offered by Curriki helps to yet again bridge the gap by satisfying all sides of the debate.

Teachers can create content that can be instrumental in online and in-person classroom settings that students can easily access. Essentially, teachers have an easier time teaching across the board whether the students are physically in the classroom or learning from home. In a hybrid situation where teachers are expected to teach students in-person and online simultaneously, the use of a single platform for disseminating curriculum and lessons makes it easier to balance.

Innovations Are Needed During Tough Times

The coronavirus pandemic has shaken the educational system in a way no one was prepared for. Districts unable to provide the resources students need, teachers being thrown on the front line without adequate resources or training, students struggling to grasp key concepts and lessons, and parents strained trying to balance the educational needs of their children while inundated with stresses over everyday life.

Fortunately, there are pioneers like Curriki trying to make a difference during these uncertain times. As the nation continues to debate on when and how children should return to school, it is essential that more brands in the education industry work to provide resources that can solve problems while enriching the minds and experiences of students around the world.

This content is sponsored by Anne Davis.

Photo: iStockPhoto

The post The Pandemic and Education: Non-Profits Offer Efficient Resources to Bridge the Gap appeared first on The Good Men Project.

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