Special Education students have some of the best ideas.

Special Education students are one group of students who suffer the most in distance learning.

Although accommodations are provided, there remains a significant disconnect between student learning and the teacher’s plan.

I am not placing the blame on teachers. Instead, I applaud them, for they’re working even harder to connect, teach and make online lessons a temporary norm.

We all work together to make the best out of a bad situation with distance learning. Please read further to consider options for improving education for students at home.

In this two-series blog, we’ll go through some key factors that will assist in gathering, organizing, and strengthening distance learning for teachers and families.

Chunking The Learning Gap Into Four Areas:  Parents, Technology, Students, and Teachers

These four areas will accelerate and reconnect vital information exchange while strengthening structures.

Setting Up Parents For Success

We first have to remember that most parents do not have a teaching background. They have to balance their jobs while trying to provide their children with the opportunity to learn. That’s why it’s important to help guide them as best as possible.

Listed below are some suggested things to assist them:

  • Build a relationship with the parents. This is the most important thing you must establish first and will help show empathy to them.
  • Send out a weekly and monthly calendar of critical dates, meetings, and other bits of information.
  • Have the passwords and websites sent to them in a separate document.
  • Post and update a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section for parents to answer routine questions.  This should be for the school/division and the teacher as there are differences.
  • Provide in a separate notification a more detailed lesson. I’m not saying to give them your lesson, but give them points to emphasize during a lesson.
  • Provide structures that assist students in how to manage themselves.
  • Google From home shows excellent resources to make the learning transition easier from school to home.

Ask Parents to Touch Up Their Technology

  • Ensure your printer has been calibrated and the print comes out clean.  Order more toner in advance.
  • Provide instructions on updating their drivers, clearing the cookies, and other common factors that would delay production.
  • Suggest to them how to optimize their connectivity.  Things like considering the time of day to work online and basic troubleshooting will help reduce students’ frustration.
  • Take the commonly used sites and build a specific folder where they are bookmarked so children can access them.
    • Provide all passwords
    • Include any eBooks
  • Find useful apps, extensions, and online sites that will assist students in their work.  Here are a few of my favorites:
    • Natural Readers – this is a site where you can copy and paste your text and have it read to students.  Great for those who are English-Language Learners or need reading-a-loud assistance.
    • Geogebra.org – Not your ordinary graphing calculator.  This one permits students to see the difference between equations easily.
    • Stopwatch – From Google, you can use this as a timer where it beeps to remind students to stop and resume their activities or cut them off when they’ve been playing too many games.
  • On the computer, there are a few beneficial tools.
    • Snipit – click on it, and you can copy and paste your selected area or even save it as a jpg.  Great for showing things to teachers

What’s coming up next?

Next week’s blog will focus on Teachers and Students and how to help facilitate the process of improving special education.

If you are interested in learning more about distance learning, check out my other blogs. From Best Practices For Distance Learning to learning what skills can develop for work through distance learning, you will see that I’m trying to take a different angle where you can get more insight on how to bridge teaching and learning digitally.

I encourage you to take the lead with distance learning and help those receiving special education services.

Need more help with implementing distance learning more efficiently, contact me.  I’ll be glad to help.

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