Distance Learning with Common Sense: Small and Independent vs Large and Public

Merve Lapus of Common Sense sits down with Bill Selak, tech director, at Hillbrook School in Los Gatos, California, and Steve Zanotti, tech coordinator at LAUSD, to host a short discussion about the challenges and wins of schools in light of distance-learning needs with school shutdowns because of COVID-19.

As schools across the country continue to close due to the coronavirus, we’re all doing our best to navigate teaching and learning from home. But let’s be honest: It’s not easy! In this twice-weekly video series from Common Sense, we sit down for short discussions with educators from all over the country to learn how they’re coping with school closures, putting together distance-learning plans, and addressing some of the challenges that come with teaching remotely.

Recorded on 3/27/2020.

– Bill Selak @billselak
Tech director, Hillbrook School, Los Gatos, California

– Steve Zanotti @steve_zanotti
Tech coordinator, LAUSD, Los Angeles, California

– Merve Lapus (host) @molapus
Vice president of outreach and regional partnerships, Common Sense Education

1. Teachers, go easy on yourselves. You’ve (probably) never facilitated remote learning with your students before. You’re doing an amazing job.
2. Encourage parents to go easy on themselves as well. You’ve (probably) never facilitated remote learning with your kids before. It’s OK to skip assignments. You also don’t need to fill their day with 400 educational resources on an iPad.
3. Maintain connections. Google Meet and Zoom are amazing tools to stay connected. Use them.
4. Teachers, record videos of yourself talking, and keep it to one take, no matter what! Students want to see their teachers, so don’t do screen recordings only. This is not the time for polished (or even edited) videos. Students want to see the real you. That means not doing five takes until it’s perfect. If someone walks in, that’s fine. If the phone rings, that’s fine.
5. Find more resources for educators during the coronavirus pandemic: https://www.commonsense.org/education/coronavirus-resources.
6. Check out Bill Selak’s blog with tips and resources on the transition to distance learning: http://www.billselak.com/2020/campus-closed-for-covid-19-remote-learning-faculty-resources.

Are you looking for resources to help during the school closures? We’ve got you. Common Sense has free tips and tools for educators and families to support the transition to at-home learning. Get remote teaching resources, family education materials, and research-backed strategies to ease stress and encourage learning:

Join the conversation in our Facebook group, Common Sense Educators: https://www.facebook.com/groups/CommonSenseEducators/.

See more videos from the series: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8TjVyuBdsCm83SWlcCqv3yfnORe0g7_q

Common Sense Education supports K–12 schools with everything educators need to empower the next generation of digital citizens. Our innovative, award-winning Digital Citizenship Curriculum prepares students with lifelong habits and skills, supports teachers with training and recognition, and engages families and communities with helpful tips and tools. ​Schools everywhere rely on our free curriculum, expert advice, and edtech ratings to help kids thrive. Visit us at https://www.commonsense.org/education/.

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