What is Remote Learning?

Remote learning occurs when the learner and instructor are separated by time and distance.  Information is typically communicated via technology.  No physical classroom presence is required. Right now, around the world, students, parents, carers, teachers, schools, and districts are either preparing for, or engaged in, remote learning.

This is very different to traditional home schooling where, by choice, parents act as facilitators of their child's schooling.  This can fall under a very broad spectrum and can range from a highly structured approach with a detailed curriculum to 'unschooling', where children choose the direction of their learning.  

In our current COVID-19 crisis, your school should have a plan to provide learning activities to students in the event that they are unable to attend school.  Teaching and learning remotely presents a number of challenges for both students and teachers.  So how can we best support our students?  And how can we make sure we are armed with up to date information for ourselves?  The links and articles on this page aim to provide teachers with information so that they are equipped to do the best job possible in ensuring all of our students are being supported. 

Independence

Education Departments around the country all agree that remote learning activities should be manageable for students and should not rely too heavily on parents being educators.  It is also important to note that parents may not always be available during school hours.  Many have to work or have other responsibilities. 

Furthermore, some parents may experience difficulty in supporting their children with remote learning, particularly those with ​English as an additional language, low levels of literacy or a learning disability.

Communication

There is no doubt that parents around the world are scared and confused.  Regular, clear communication is essential.   Use plain English and provide translation services if necessary.

All staff need to know exactly how to communicate: and what to communicate.  Your school might have set ideas about what communication should look like, and it is critical that your staff are aware of this in order to maintain a consistent approach.

Digital Equity

When planning your remote learning lessons, much consideration needs to be given to digital equity.  Put simply, do all of your students have access to the technology needed to effectively complete your lessons.  As difficult as it is to believe around 12% of Australian homes do not have internet.  Outages are commonplace, with a staggering 75% of nbn users reporting problems  in the last two years.  Couple that with some homes having only one device and multiple children needing it for remote learning, and it is easy to see why digital equity is a complex issue facing many teachers and students. 

Remote learning expectations vary between states. 

​© 2020 by Naomi Wiseman.

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