All IN

Digital Equity and Inclusion are learning designs that proactively meet the needs of all learners. Both are necessary to produce successful students. Each activity is vitally important to provide all students with access to all ICT resources. This includes internet service, personal devices (I.E. Smartphones, iPads and PC's) and also technical support. Furthermore students don't have to be subjected to specific tools or technologies. Instead they can choose from the resources that are readily available. The ultimate goal is to enrich all students where they become accomplished learners. In this blog post, I briefly speak on the effects of the pandemic and how it affected my family with distance learning. 

    The year 2020 was very hectic and uncertain with the pandemic and natural disasters that we experienced in Northeast Louisiana. It was a year filled with uncertainty, anxiety and worry. These were unprecedented times that came with unwanted and unprecedented obstacles. One of those obstacles was distance/virtual learning. The first thing I noticed about distance learning was that either myself or my wife literally had to be observing my daughter as she was virtually learning. We have a five year old who was in kindergarten, and getting her to stay focused was a task all in itself. Honestly it made us more accountable, and we basically became home teachers.

    But being an at home teacher, I noticed that there were several issues that the virtual learner faced. Some students didn't have the proper etiquette nor the attention span. There always seemed to be problems with access and logins. There was always a student that was logged off or missed something because of slow speeds. The kicker was tech support was never readily available. The good thing for my daughter is that I'm tech savvy and she didn't have to worry much about technical issues. The question that really resonated with me was...what is happening to the children that don't have some one to help? Or the families that may have lost lost loved ones due to the pandemic?

    Me and my wife are a team and we made it work, but what about the children that didn't have that? Could this distance learning have caused students to miss out on valuable learning time? One would think that distance learning would have actually helped the students, but what I found out is that the scores were lower in most grades K-12  because of these obstacles. The good thing is that the remind app gave students and parents a platform to discuss these discrepancies and air grievances.

    How does this all apply to digital equity? Well, teachers, the virtual and in class learners were all at a deficit. The in class learner was fighting for time with virtual learners and the virtual learners had to deal with the first level digital divide. Teachers had to juggle hectic and rigorous schedules and attend to the needs of all leaners all while adjusting and getting acclimated to this new normal. In the grand scheme of things, the distance learning got better over time with collaboration and coordination from the teachers and tech support. Now everything is seeming to get back to normal, but the pandemic showed that we can persevere and make learning inclusive and digitally equal for all with the right resources in place. The question still remains how we make up for this valuable lost time? Time is the ultimate currency. Anything lost can be found again except for time wasted. 

Performance

Even though we were faced with natural disasters we still had to make sure our daughter performed at the highest level given the access to the technology

Engagements

Things are returning back to normal and the kids have regular field trips and engagements to attend. 

Flexibility

When the storms and hurricanes hit we had to still be flexible to teach on our own. Although most of the city had no power and schools were closed, we were fortunate enough to have a generator. We still taught Tianna day by day, so she wouldn't experience learning loss. 

Snow Storm

Learning Loss

How the pandemic could have caused significant learning loss without the proper resources.