Article | April 7, 2020
With much of the country, if not the world working virtually from home now due to the coronavirus pandemic, we're learning a great deal about what technology is capable of. Employers who previously believed that employees needed to travel to potential clients to close deals are now seeing that these employees can accomplish the same task without the travel expenses. The pandemic is also teaching us is that virtual learning for students is more doable than we may have ever believed it to be.
Article | May 3, 2021
Special education instructors, like everyone else, turned to an array of digital tools and technologies to continue teaching in the wake of the pandemic. And while most would agree the shift to online learning came with serious challenges, many also found solutions that worked.
“This last year was a struggle — I won’t tell you it was not,” says Wendy Thompson, a special education teacher at New Jersey’s A. Harry Moore School. “That being said, we have seen success, and there are things out there that can help.”
Thompson, who is also president of the New Jersey Coalition for the Advancement of Assistive and Rehabilitation Technology, says the key is to ensure the tools educators use can be adapted to fit the needs of individual students. “It’s important to approach students where they are and provide them with options for how they can respond and show what they know and what they are learning.”
Article | August 25, 2020
This entry is the 13th in a blog series called Pandemic Response and Educational Practices (PREP), which aims to highlight and further the important work educators are doing amid the worldwide COVID-19 crisis. Based on Creating the Anywhere, Anytime Classroom. Gloria’s situation is not unfamiliar. In fact, over the last six months, millions of teachers everywhere have been asked to suddenly transition from traditional face-to-face instruction to working either fully online or in some type of blended-learning configuration.
Article | October 1, 2020
Since some schools across the UK have started to re-open in phases, it’s opened up a whole new set of questions for families. What will it be like for our kids? How will my child adjust to school after months at home? As well as adjusting academically to full-time education again, the emotional impact will be big too.
We spoke to NHS Senior Clinical Psychologist, Dr Shreena Ghelani, about how parents can help their get kids ready to return to school, whenever that might be. Here’s what she had to say:
Prepare in advance
Before it’s time for them to go back, keep school in the minds of your kids – drive past the school if you can so that they can see that it’s still there.
When they’ve been given a return date, treat it like the beginning of the school year. Do a test run of getting ready in the morning, make sure school uniform fits, practice packing bags and walking the route to school.
For younger children, they may need a settling in period again – parents may have to come into the classroom and ensure their child is settled.
For teenagers – use the time while they’re still at home to keep their friendships alive by video call etc. This will help make returning back to their peer group feel less unfamiliar.
One step at a time
Even when school re starts, you may find that children are more tired than usual by the extra demands and sensory stimulation placed on them. Ease them back in to their routine gently and wait to start other activities (clubs and activities) in a few weeks time.
When the time comes, you’ll find you’ll feel less stressed if you know there will be bumps in the road.
Allow enough space and time in a new schedule for any hiccups so that you’re not having to manage too many demands (i.e batch cook dinners before hand, don’t agree to extra activities or if possible, adopt flexible working hours).
Try to notice if you’re feeling anxious about the return to school in any way and if so, spend some time thinking about it and unpicking it. If children pick up on your anxieties they may feel anxious too.
Managing worry and anxiety
If you know your child might struggle with going back to school, try developing a toolbox of things they can do when they are worried at school. This might include a song to sing to them selves, visualising a calm place, some affirmation cards, practicing a breathing techniques and identifying safe staff they can tell. You can make this box together and the child can take some bits with them to school.
Speak to your children about the impact of Coronavirus
Let children know that it is likely that other families have been impacted by the virus (whether that’s key worker parents working hard, or family bereavements). Encourage your child to be patient with and kind to other children. Talk to them about what they might still be expected to do – not hug friends, wash their hands often, not share food or toys etc.
For any children with special educational needs, they might need adaptations made for them. This might include visiting the school while it’s empty to familiarise them with the space, a video call with their teacher or a more phased return than other pupils – whatever’s best for them.