In March 2020, the reality of teaching and learning across the world was flipped upside down. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, school buildings were closed and education moved “online.” But for many schools and educators, getting online was the battle, let alone providing valuable instruction.
Shortly after schools pivoted to distance learning, large Internet providers started offering discounted Internet access to students, companies shared free digital resources, and carriers created hotspot and other device plans for schools to extend access to homes without.
But what about teachers without access? Teachers in rural locations rely on Internet access at school to reach students. What happened when those buildings closed?
According to an Education Week article, teachers flocked to school parking lots. A number of schools set up public Wi-Fi in school parking lots to provide access to students, families, and teachers alike. More than 25% of homes across the United States do not have broadband internet access, and 4% of teachers are without reliable internet. (do we need to cite the source on this or at least state that the article provided these facts?)
Across social media, we see celebrations of teachers’ resourcefulness and commitment. Check out this video for how educators are keeping the wheels on the bus going ‘round.
As mentioned in the Ed Week article, this challenge can make an already stressful transition to distance learning overwhelming. On top of that, teachers who are additionally responsible for their child(ren)’s ongoing education are feeling tapped out.
In true educator fashion, teachers forge ahead in their commitment to connecting with students. Through online tools, neighborhood parades, long days and late nights, teachers continue to show up for their students.
Are you already sharing your perspective on Twitter? Vartek is hosting a Twitter Contest for educators to enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card weekly for sharing ways they’re connecting with students during distance learning. Check out this tweet for more information and to enter to win!
While the fourth quarter of the 2019-20 school year is coming to an end, we cannot help but wonder what the 2020-21 school year will look like. Will we be in classrooms? Online? Half capacity? Alternating schedules? Will teachers be stationed in parking lots to reach their students? Should internet access be a “benefit” provided to teachers in preparation for a blended teaching and learning environment? There is an argument to be made for schools to provide Internet access to teachers.
With the anticipation that schools will move towards a hybrid model for next school year, Vartek’s commitment to supporting a blended-learning environment remains steadfast.
For more information on Vartek’s support of schools advancing blended learning now and in the future, reach out.