GREENVILLE — According to the Ohio Department of Education, remote learning occurs when the learner and educator, or source of information, are separated by time and/or distance, and therefore, cannot meet in a traditional classroom setting. School Districts faced a situation last spring that had never been experienced as schools were ordered to close across the state, suddenly in March, due to the pandemic. Districts moved from traditional to remote learning. Greenville City Schools had initiated tools for remote learning that helped make this transition.
This sudden change caused Greenville City Schools to use a digital mode to provide remote learning. Digital mode is defined as remote learning, delivered via computer or internet-based means. As a district, the Greenville City Schools Board of Education had already approved one to one learning using iPads, so we were able to make the change with regular interaction between students and teachers via iPads and the internet. The District also had purchased Kajeets, mobile hot spots and provided those for students without internet access. During spring and summer months, parents and staff voiced that they greatly appreciated the smooth transition and communication and also their desire for a unified platform to deliver instruction, track and report educational courses.
A group of educators studied the available platforms, Learning Management Systems, and recommended that the Board of Education purchase Canvas. Canvas was every teacher’s first choice and came with strong recommendations from Hilliard and Delaware City Schools, as well as The Ohio State University, Miami University, Bowling Green State University, and the University of Cincinnati. Canvas was determined to be a useful tool either to continue remote learning or for traditional learning in the classroom.
As Districts transitioned back to school this fall, Greenville City Schools conducted a survey to collect data on how our community and families felt about students returning to traditional learning VS continued remote learning. Approximately 20 percent of our families wanted to continue remote learning for at least the first semester of the 2020-2021 school year. With that information, we assigned teachers to remote learners as schedules were developed to meet this need. Teachers were also trained during the summer to use the Learning Management System, Canvas. Many preparations occurred for a smooth and flexible return to school without affecting instructional time.
As we begin the second quarter of this school year, here are a few quotes from staff members and a student on remote teaching and learning:
Beth Shields, HS Math Teacher, “I’m very thankful that we have a new Learning Management System (Canvas). It is really helpful for me and the students to keep things organized! I think it is nice that students have the option to do remote learning because for some students, it really fits their learning styles and needs.”
HS student, “Remote learning is going better than I thought it would be. My teachers are making it easy to find assignments, and we have Zoom calls to clear things up and say hi. It fits my life style because when I wake up I start my work right away and I can finish at my own pace.”
Mary Kate Lefeld, Elementary Remote Teacher, “Remote learning has been an exciting new challenge! I am so proud of our students and families who are committed to continuing their child’s education from home during these trying times! Thank goodness for all of our awesome technology here and the educational online programs we have access to. It makes it easier to meet the needs of our diverse learners! I definitely feel like this is enhancing everyone’s knowledge of technology and though it is tough, it is making us better for our future!”
Overall, it’s been a great time for accepting change and being flexible to equip our teachers and meet the needs of our students. As Mrs. Mary Kate Lefeld said, “it is making us better for our future.” That statement is a great reflection in summing up the positive movement for education in today’s challenges.