I don’t know about you, but my activity levels have definitely decreased this past year. I find that I’m spending more time in front of my PC for work and recreation (video chatting with family and friends, going on virtual tours, streaming channels for shows and movies, etc.). With many children in remote or hybrid learning situations, their activity levels are also decreasing as it has become easier to move from one place to sit to another place to sit (i.e. chair to sofa). Besides allowing for more physical activity during breaks (run outside for 15 minutes, 5-minute stretches every hour, 60-minute lunch and recreation break sans devices), learning should also incorporate more movement. In addition, with the push for more hands-on STEM integration, students having to school at home need a viable option for STEM learning besides online games and interactive worksheets.
When schools and universities closed campuses earlier this year, educators and students struggled with the shift to remote learning. If educators weren’t already using some method of remote learning, such as flipped or hybrid, they soon discovered that facilitating instruction from afar was quite a challenge. Especially for those in continuing, higher, and adult education institutions, giving lectures, conducting lab experiments, and having class discussions became nearly impossible. Instructors had to alter how they were accustomed to presenting material so that it was more engaging over a video conferencing application. For many, this was a frustrating and overwhelming addition to the pile of tasks they were already having to deal with, especially if they were not accustomed to incorporating tech into their instructional plans. There was also the concern that students were not feeling as connected and motivated with the lack of interactivity and faculty contact.
With COVID-19 cases on the rise in many areas, a number of schools are opting for total remote learning when school starts. What does this mean for parents who have young ones starting school for the first time? If the anxiety about starting school in person during a worldwide pandemic wasn’t enough, the prospect of starting totally online can be overwhelming. Often, parents see entering school (Early Years to Key Stage 1) as an opportunity for their children to learn social skills, understand rules and routines, and set a foundation of basic skills that will prepare them for the next 12 years of learning.