A real headache for a majority of parents in Canada— and beyond
I started hearing horror stories from other friends who had school aged kids in March 2020, when schools in Ontario and most of Canada shut their doors to students. In Toronto, Canada’s largest city, distance learning did not kick in until late at public schools, except for some school boards like ViaMonde, a francophone school board in Toronto that is quite tech-savvy.
When distance learning started after two weeks, it was only a very minimal version of teaching as it was. Adaptation to Covid-19 was understandably a challenge for teachers and administrators. Unfortunately, many parents, kids and teens seem to have paid a heavy price . We should all be concerned and talk, among other things, about how to improve future distance learning, if Covid-19 comes back with a vengeance in the fall.
Survey of Parents and School at Home in Canada during Covid-19
In order to obtain more quantitative data, the Tech for Good Canada coalition decided to launch an online survey of parents as they lived through home schooling during Covid-19 in Canada. It looks beautiful and takes 4 minutes, here. Participants can win a $25 Indigo gift card. Answer by August 30, 2020.
I also thought this article from the Toronto Star by Sydney Washburn was an interesting testimonial of parents’ experience. I’ve reproduced an excerpt below.
Nine apps, three kids, one frustrated mother: Home education diaries:
Flipgrid. SMART Notebook. WordReference. The Hub. Prodigy. Raz-Kids. Tumblebooks. YouTube. Google Drive.
Nine apps needed on Day 1.
It’s 9 a.m.
And I’m nine hours away from wine time.
Let me preface this by saying we are usually a very busy family. We have three small kids — nine, eight and five — and are constantly rushing from thing to thing to thing. School, homework, play dates, birthday parties, making and eating dinner as well as hockey games, practices and tournaments — times three. So to say this coronavirus isolation is a change of pace for us is an understatement.
For the first couple of weeks of COVID-19 closures, including March break, I was enjoying the slower pace. I had set up some work for the kids to do, but I was so unbelievably thankful when the teachers took the reins again and the programming from my hands.
I don’t know anything about the curriculum for senior kindergarten, Grade 2 or 4 so I was constantly second guessing what I had set up and whether it added value. I was so sure that once that was off my plate this would all be easier. Boy was I wrong.
The first day of home-school was pure chaos. Trying to help my three kids just set up and get organized took nearly the entire day. The emails from the teachers were detailed and looked easy enough in theory. Easy instructions, links to the work and good to go.
For my eight-year-old the work required a simple download of SMART Notebook.
We fired up that new Chromebook we needed to facilitate three kids working simultaneously, found the SMART website, found the Notebook link, scrolled down, scrolled down and then …
Mac or Windows
Wait, what? Where is the Chromebook version?
You’ve gotta be freaking kidding me …
If you’re a Canadian parent, answer our survey here, until June 30, 2020.
And/or join us Tuesday, June 23 at 4 PM EDT for an eDiscussion on how schools can do distance learning well. Sign up for the Zoom call here.