July 19, 2024

CoSN2020: What Administrators Should Know About Enabling E-Learning

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Increased availability of mobile technology is enabling teaching and learning at any time, anywhere.

More than half of U.S. school districts have one-to-one computing programs, says Keith Krueger, CEO of the Consortium for School Networking. Many districts that lack one-to-one environments are close to it, he says. That trend, along with advancements in other educational technology, can also support instruction even when school buildings close.

A number of districts already operate online learning days when schools temporarily close for inclement weather or other emergencies. IT leaders are quickly realizing that the ability to continue school operations is essential, Krueger says.

Schools across the country have closed or are scheduled to close due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. In many cases, administrators and teachers are quickly shifting to remote learning options.

“Business continuity for schools means that you have to provide online learning in cases of an emergency, and this is a health emergency,” Krueger says. “But we know there are other emergencies that happen, whether they’re fires or tornadoes or things like that. How do we make sure that the learning can continue?”

Access to devices alone won’t fully support remote learning. Teachers and students need to be ready to teach and learn online. E-learning programs involve a number of considerations such as securing devices for students and staff, ensuring cybersecurity and providing technical support. Other considerations for a large-scale transition include systems — learning management systems or student information systems — as well as network access and connectivity, according to recently released guidance from CoSN.

Administrators should also define the role of IT staff “before moving instruction off-site and into an online environment,” CoSN noted. The technology should not drive instruction.

The following are additional needs or concerns administrators should think through when implementing e-learning.