Virtual Learning can seem like an overwhelming task if you don’t have the proper technology and scheduling in place for your students. With a little alignment of your existing technology as well as investment in some new, you can set up your home for an efficient and positive learning experience.
It’s best to be proactive if your district is considering moving to a hybrid or virtual platform and ensure you already have these steps in place.
Virtual Learning Checklist for Parents
Inventory Your Assets
Look at the technology you already own, such as cell phones, tablets, laptops and desktops. Do they have adequate monitors? Do they have internal or external cameras so your student can be seen in class? Are they updated with the newest operating systems? These are all questions to ask yourself when evaluating your current technology.
Upgrade Your Bandwidth with Your Internet Service Provider
It may be to your benefit to check with your internet service provider to see if you are getting the best bang for your bandwidth buck. If you have several children doing virtual learning at the same time, having enough bandwidth is critical. It can be the difference in network speeds, video quality, and sound quality. Check with your school to see if they are affiliated with any discount programs for internet.
Ensure Your Wireless is Properly Connected and Sufficient
Contacting your local internet provider about upgrading your router if its over 3 years old. Your existing router may not be prepared for the volume of devices connecting at the same time to ensure there are minimal technical difficulties when your children are logging on.
Consider External Audio/Visual Equipment
This may seem like an over the top request, but it may be the ticket to a virtual experience that is close to being in the classroom for your child. External camera, microphones, and lighting can help with their engagement. All devices are not created equal and a build in laptop microphone may not be up to the task. Small investments can make a world of difference. Check with your school to see what other students are doing and if they offer any type of government credit for upgrading your equipment.
Configure Your Space for Ergonomics
Your kitchen table or couch isn’t necessarily ideal for an all-day learning session. Be creative and make the space comfortable for your child. Purchase good lighting, add some plants, pictures, and a comfortable desk chair.
Create a Schedule for Device Use
If your family is all working from home and children are virtual learning, you may be putting constraints on your devices and internet bandwidth. This can lead to frustration between family members and distractions. Being mindful of each other’s schedules can be critical for a productive day for all members.
Test Devices with Platforms Before They Are Needed
Check with your school to see if there are training sessions available on the digital platforms they are requiring you to use. Do they have a training directly with the vendor that’s providing the tools? Are they hosting a virtual session for parents and students? Being prepared and testing the platforms with your technology will ensure a successful experience for students and educators.
Prepare to be Flexible
Requirements will change and technology may not work as expected at all times. Prepare to improvise if needed and consult with your child’s teacher if challenges arise (on either end).
At the end of the day, your child’s education is the most important. When schools make the decision to go virtual, being prepared and proactive is in your best interest. Student engagement will increase if your home environment is set up for success.