The shift to distance learning has forced many schools to utilize the technology that surrounds them. Schools that did not previously use technology in their everyday lessons might find themselves struggling to figure out what works for them during the distance learning transition. We recently spoke with Monica Burns to learn about the struggles different schools are facing with integrating technology during the distance learning transition.

The Distance Learning Transition with Pre-Existing Technology

Schools that had a pre-existing digital environment before distance learning began had an advantage of comfortability and familiarization. During the distance learning transition, these schools were able to leverage the best practices and utilize the technology foundation they had already established.

Because these teachers had pre-existing knowledge of the different technology tools available for their use in the classroom, they had more time to focus on building a continuous relationship with students and parents during the distance learning transition rather than spending an extensive amount of time figuring out how these tools work. 

We also had the chance to speak with hosts of the TNT EdTech Podcast, Scott Nunes and Matthew Ketchum, who shared with us how their district was prepared for the transition to distance learning because of pre-existing technology. At their district, Modesto City Schools, 1:1 devices, and learning with an LMS were used for the 7-12 grade students, while the elementary schools were not quite 1:1 yet prior to remote learning. Just after beginning distance learning, their district saw great results. Over 80% of students engaged in the material the first day online. 

The TNT hosts said it felt like they went back to business as usual, the only difference being that lessons weren’t conducted in person. 

Transitioning to Distance Learning Without Pre-Existing Technology

Schools that did not have a pre-existing digital environment took more time to get settled into the distance learning transition. Monica shared that these schools implemented new tools and tricks little by little so that their students and staff weren’t overwhelmed. 

The transition to distance learning made educators more mindful of the unknown circumstances every family was going through. These schools have been supplying families with resources and taking into consideration the economic restraints and prioritization of other things. 

This way the schools aren’t making challenging expectations of students and parents to fulfill during the distance learning transition.

The transition to distance learning can be difficult for any school. The unexpected hick-ups and uncertainty of the extent of the circumstances is not something a school can be fully prepared for.

However, the schools that had pre-existing technology at their schools had a smoother transition than those who did not have pre-existing technology. 

Different steps and measures were taken to curate the best plan for every person’s needs. Technology could help your school adapt to unprecedented circumstances better in the future.

Listen to the full conversation with Monica Burns on our Tackling Tech Podcast!

On this episode of Tackling Tech Podcast, Brett McGrath speaks to Dr. Monica Burns, ed-tech and curriculum consultant, author, and former NYC public school teacher. Monica usually travels across the country to schools to help them integrate technology in a meaningful and sustainable way. Since the quick shift over to remote learning, she shares her observations of K-12 schools during this difficult time.

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