‘This is forward moving learning’: Maine school districts make changes to improve remote learning

When Maine school districts shut down in March due to the pandemic, educators had to build remote learning models on the fly.Now districts are taking the lessons learned to improve remote learning when school resumes in the fall.Maine School Administrative District 15 curriculum coordinator Chanda Turner said in the spring it was like there was a pivot every hour when it came to distance learning.She said expectations will be higher if MSAD 15 implements it when school resumes.”Coming into the fall, we need to be really intentional about this. It isn’t just about making it through anymore. This is forward moving learning,” Turner said.MSAD 15, which represents Gray and New Gloucester, relied heavily on an end of year survey sent to families and teachers. They found a simple solution to a problem that hindered the district in the spring. MSAD 15 will go with one video conferencing platform over the many that were used in the spring.”What we said to teachers was we are not going to make you learn a new video conference on top of dealing with everything else at the same time, so if you have something you like, use it. What that meant was we had five to six different video conferences across the district. But as we go into a school year intentionally planning what remote would look like, we have made a lot more ‘have to’s.’ So, for instance, we have one videoconferencing platform and all students and staff will use that,” Turner said.MSAD 15 has also tried to address other issues, including the stress on parents who are trying to work and help teach their children. They have also looked at alternative methods of learning at home.”Trying to be sensitive to screen time. We don’t want kids to be glued into a screen. We want them moving. We want them doing things, also,” Turner said.

When Maine school districts shut down in March due to the pandemic, educators had to build remote learning models on the fly.

Now districts are taking the lessons learned to improve remote learning when school resumes in the fall.

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Maine School Administrative District 15 curriculum coordinator Chanda Turner said in the spring it was like there was a pivot every hour when it came to distance learning.

She said expectations will be higher if MSAD 15 implements it when school resumes.

“Coming into the fall, we need to be really intentional about this. It isn’t just about making it through anymore. This is forward moving learning,” Turner said.

MSAD 15, which represents Gray and New Gloucester, relied heavily on an end of year survey sent to families and teachers. They found a simple solution to a problem that hindered the district in the spring. MSAD 15 will go with one video conferencing platform over the many that were used in the spring.

“What we said to teachers was we are not going to make you learn a new video conference on top of dealing with everything else at the same time, so if you have something you like, use it. What that meant was we had five to six different video conferences across the district. But as we go into a school year intentionally planning what remote would look like, we have made a lot more ‘have to’s.’ So, for instance, we have one videoconferencing platform and all students and staff will use that,” Turner said.

MSAD 15 has also tried to address other issues, including the stress on parents who are trying to work and help teach their children. They have also looked at alternative methods of learning at home.

“Trying to be sensitive to screen time. We don’t want kids to be glued into a screen. We want them moving. We want them doing things, also,” Turner said.