There’s no doubt in anyone's mind that COVID is having a significant, negative impact on our students' achievement gap and psychological well-being. As educators and technologists supporting educators, our responsibility is to be proactive in building programs that help students in this remote learning environment.
- Lack of academic progress
- Internet connectivity/technology issues
At PhotoStudy, we have the privilege of speaking with hundreds of brilliant TRiO & GEAR UP educators each week, and we wanted to channel some of the ways to address these concerns.
Dealing with stress, anxiety, & loneliness
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and a set schedule is of utmost importance for students in a remote learning environment. They should sleep at a reasonable hour with 8 hours of zzz time, wake up at the same time every day, eat healthy meals, set aside time for exercise, and try hobbies that don’t rely on screens. As educators, we put a big emphasis on coursework and academics but often forget about the simple conversations we can have with our students:
“Hey Student, what’s your daily schedule like, and how do you feel about remote learning altogether?”
“Got it, here’s an idea, try setting your alarm before school starts, take a walk, enjoy your breakfast, and don’t forget about soccer -- you played JV last year. I try to get 5,000 steps per day; think you can beat that?”
3 new ways for academic progress
Students are struggling with the heaps of self-learning content that’s being tossed their way. We know that a digital learning course won’t achieve the same learning as face-to-face learning.
- Breakout sessions with smaller groups of students on a recurring or subject basis is a great way to discuss lessons/concepts and focus on areas where students are struggling.
- We’ve also heard of educators redoing a number of traditional lessons for more problem-based and discussion-based learning; the purpose here is to make lessons more engaging and interactive.
- Lastly, it’s essential to evaluate the best online learning platforms and free up resources to get your students to access them (tying into the next concern below).
Internet Connectivity & Technology
Even before COVID, the adoption of some of the more legacy e-learning / LMS platforms was on the decline as the ease-of-use gap between personal life apps (TikTok, Uber, Instagram) and educational apps got bigger.
Students are digital savvy and are used to:
- Short social stories
- Slick native iOS / Android apps
- The ability to ingest information when they want to
Unfortunately, several e-learning/LMS platforms have too many hoops for students to jump through and clunky interfaces: creating profiles, remembering pins, sign-up sheets, waiting 48 hours for tutor availability, etc. As the steps to usage increase, the percentage of students who don’t follow through increases.
Additionally, students are suffering from Zoom fatigue with remote learning. It’s intense, spending 7 hours a day on a laptop screen. We also frequently hear, “Hey, is my audio working” or “I can’t see your screen right now” -- and it’s incredibly frustrating. Zoom is also a bandwidth-heavy platform, making it difficult for students with slower internet connectivity to participate without the infamous transformer-like audio glitching.
Here at PhotoStudy, we think about our tech-savvy students’ busy schedules, how they communicate (texting), and the personal apps they’re glued to when we design our products. Our 24/7, app-based tutoring platform gives students access to resources in a non-invasive manner (they can even do it lying in bed while listening to Spotify), right on their cell phones (only 50MB of space), whenever they want to.