Built for Instant Remote: Any-Student/Any-Staff


With the uncertainty about the Fall opening of schools, the smart money says you need to be able to provide instant remote, built for any student and any staff member. In this episode of the Learning Counsel’s Back to (e)School Tactics Discussions series, education leaders from large and small districts as well as charter schools discuss their strategies to successfully provide on-demand remote learning.

According to LeiLani Cauthen, CEO and Publisher at the Learning Counsel, “Learning management is really what we see a lot of districts trying to drive at to figure out what's actually happening. So, first we all tried to do online, remote learning. And then, of course, the first question that popped up on the radar was, what's happening out there? So that's in front of districts right now. And then we went to, it's still synchronous. All 30 kids or grades are kept together, but now they might be remote at a distance. A lot of the more advanced districts are synchronous combined with asynchronous. So, your students are together in some respects, but then there's independent motivated study by some students in different things. Maybe it's project-based learning where you send three kids off to go wander around in a digital library and come up with a paper. And then the final one is the asynchronous individualized and auto intersected, synchronous. That doesn't exist almost anywhere yet. Personalized workflow learning, the true Uberization with algorithmic inference so that you're connected with the right teacher at the right time with the right cohort of other kids who are at the same place as you are in math, that's, what's coming.”

Terri Novacek, the Executive Director of Element Education in California, said, “Our schools have been doing this for about 20 years now. You can do 100 percent virtual. You could do blended, you can do five days a week. Our teacher of record is called an educational facilitator. And that would be like a home room teacher. As an educational facilitator, I'm responsible for sitting down with the parent and the student and we design a learning plan. And so, it's not about the curriculum, it's a, it's about the student and we still tie it all to the common core standards. We say if we have 500 students, that means we have 500 different learning plans. And, and then it's also based on what resources the student has available to them already and what resources the school would provide.”

Diane Harazin is the Supervisor of Instructional Technology at Prince William County Public Schools in Virginia. According to Harazin, “Our student learning department, our information technology department, our student services department, now all work together. Normally we have our own little silos, but we all work together to look at what instruction should look like. And, now, it's been amazing having conversations with everybody in the room virtually. We've never really done that before. So, it's nice to be all on one page. And in addition to everything going on, Prince William County is site-based managed, so we don't mandate things at the central level. We have about 91 different schools and 91 different leaders doing amazing things at their schools. I think we are seeing ourselves as a district coming together more as one. And in fact, pushing out one learning management system, instead of having 91 different systems going on in our schools, this is a great step forward into unifying our district.”

Guillermo Tejada, Director of Instructional Technology at the New York City Department of Education, said “We have one over 1.1 million students across 1800 schools. So, whenever we think about how to support 1800 schools, we think about supporting 1800 different districts since principals kind of run their own shows. We essentially provide many resources and tools to them, but at the end of the day, schools kind of do what they want to do, and we find a way to support them. But once we transitioned to remote learning a few months ago, we needed to streamline that and make the resources a bit more centralized. We have a Brightspace LMS that we've actually had for many, many years; we've kind of resurrected that platform as one that we would support. And then we've also developed what we've been calling a remote learning portal where our students can use, you one single sign on to access Google products, Microsoft products, and the Pearson product. It's like a makeshift LMS that we have made available. So, it's been, it's been pretty crazy.”

Susan Moore is Supervisor of Blended Learning at Meriden Public Schools in Connecticut. According to Moore, “We are a 1:1 school district. Prior to the shutdown, students in grades 6-12, were issued a Chromebook, which they kept with them over the summer. We offered summer learning programs to keep the learning going throughout the summer. Shortly after shutdown, we had the Chromebooks that previously were kept at a school, issued out to any K-5 student who needed it. We also have worked hard to make sure that our teachers and our students and our staff have easy access to all the programs that are being used for remote learning. So, we do have a single sign on solution that was very helpful when we went to distance learning because instead of having to say to parents you go here for this one resource and you go here for this other resource and you go here for another resource. We were able to say, you go here and find everything. We were really the beneficiaries of a very strong foundation in student-centered learning practices and using technology to leverage some of those opportunities for anytime, anywhere learning.”

Watch the video

Four panelists and four completely different situations. Large district, small district, charter, each has a plan to provide instant remote to their learners. With so many options to choose from, this discussion is sure to help you provide your own instant remote, anytime anywhere learning.

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