Parents want more independent online learning

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The parents of over 75 percent of Algoma District School Board students who are distance learning this school year want their children to do some or all of their learning on their own rather than using as much as possible. teaching time with teachers.

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Most choose a separation between synchronous learning, when students are with classmates and a teacher, and independent work, education superintendent Marcy Bell told administrators in a meeting Tuesday night.

A large number of pupils learn on their own, with the possibility of asking teachers if they need help with their work.

Parents working at home or concerned about their children’s screen time contribute to the number of students who do more of their learning on their own.

The ADSB wanted “a variety of options” for parents, Bell said.

School boards must allow students to be exempt from the minimum requirements for synchronous learning on Microsoft Teams.

Administrator Sheryl Evans-Price called the number of students leaning towards more independent learning “incredible” and said the three learning scenarios offered by the board presented “flexibility for families.”

I think that says a lot, it says a lot about what families really need as opposed to what was presented to them as what they had to take to learn, ”said Evans-Price.

Online registration stands at 1,302 – consisting of 863 primary and 539 secondary students. Students studying represent almost 13 percent of the total enrollment.

Kindergarten students have 180 minutes of synchronous learning when they are with the teacher and their classmates. Students in Grades 1-8 have 225 minutes of synchronous instruction.

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Students in Grades 1-8 are online for 60 minutes together to start the day. Additional group instruction follows between 11:30 a.m. and noon and 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. A final half hour of time together ends the day.

Parents can choose to have their children work alone between 11:30 a.m. and noon and 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.

Another online option is to study independently, with the support of a teacher. Students get learning materials from Edsby, a learning management platform, or hard copies. Teachers have set times when they can be contacted for assistance.

High school students take two courses at the same time. Each lesson lasts 150 minutes. Ninety minutes of synchronous instruction can be followed by 30 minutes of small group or independent work with a teacher, or students can learn on their own, before returning for an additional 30 minutes of class work. New courses start in November.

Online learning is also available for students with mild intellectual and developmental delays. Teaching focuses on literacy and numeracy or life skills and functional academics, said Education Superintendent Brent Valley.

The ADSB has 41 virtual classrooms for students from Kindergarten to Grade 8. The staff includes 124 teachers, early childhood educators, teacher assistants and principal Carol Lucio. Thirty-seven teachers provide distance education to high school students. Kara Provenzano is director.

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Twelve teachers work from home. Others are based in schools. Some teach students remotely and offer classroom instruction to other students.

Teachers working online will be expected to be leaders helping other educators if all teachings are back online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bell said.

Classroom teaching stopped after the March break due to the public health crisis. Parents could choose to continue online learning for their children in September or have their sons and daughters return to school.

Online classes started September 14th. The Virtual Elementary School is the council’s largest site for K-8 education. The online secondary school is the third largest secondary school in the council.

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On Twitter: @Saultreporter

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