Virtual Round Table: Remote Teaching and Learning in Small School Districts

  • Published: Thursday, April 9, 2020

As part of our three-day-a-week series of virtual round tables, this week, one of our topics was remote teaching and learning in smaller school districts.  Topics discussed included favorite tools to use (Zoom, Canvas, EBSCO), methods of communicating with stakeholders and network successes and challenges.

Here are some highlights of the take-aways from the conversation:

One of the biggest challenges remains home internet access:  Although hotspots seem like an easy answer- it brings its own challenges of hardware shortage and monthly service fees.  The group felt like the FCC confirming community use of Wi-Fi with E-rate funded connections offered an opportunity to solve this challenge.  Schools and Libraries can work with our network team to align wireless access points to reach outside, which is a switch from our normal recommendations.

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) can enable office staff access protected software.  Many times, the software used for fiscal and human resources records are only able to be accessed on the organization’s IP address.  This is a security step to keep data safe.  Our network team can help you work with your firewall to add a VPN to allow essential office staff the ability to complete their work from home.

We still believe that Zoom is a solid platform for remote work and communication.  For education, a few safety steps need to be taken.  They can be found in this hand out or on this tutorial.  Zoom is making updates every day in response to the unprecedented demand, and our team will stay on top of those updates!

For communicating with stakeholders, best practices are to use the broadcast element included in your student information system.  For other external communications, having one webpage with all information on reopening, reentry and recovery is a good option for a one-stop-shop for information as it relates to crisis communication.

Join us every Monday, Wednesday and Friday as we gather to share successes and solve challenges with peers and subject matter experts.