This is a shocker.
In June the Wall Street Journal reported:
The Results Are In for Remote Learning: It Didn’t Work
Here’s a chunk from the article:
This spring, America took an involuntary crash course in remote learning. With the school year now winding down, the grade from students, teachers, parents and administrators is already in: It was a failure.
School districts closed campuses in March in response to the coronavirus pandemic and, with practically no time at all for planning or training, launched a grand experiment to educate more than 50 million students from kindergarten through 12th grade using technology.
The problems began piling up almost immediately. There were students with no computers or internet access. Teachers had no experience with remote learning. And many parents weren’t available to help.
In many places, lots of students simply didn’t show up online, and administrators had no good way to find out why not. Soon many districts weren’t requiring students to do any work at all, increasing the risk that millions of students would have big gaps in their learning.
“We all know there’s no substitute for learning in a school setting, and many students are struggling and falling far behind where they should be,” said Austin Beutner, superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, in a video briefing to the community on Wednesday.
Already, school administrators are looking ahead to an uncertain fall, when many will be trying to apply lessons gleaned from the rocky spring to try to reopen classrooms, possibly using a mix of in-person and remote learning. To prevent a repeat of the spring disaster, some of them say, more students will need suitable electronic devices and internet access, and teachers will need much better training about how best to instruct from afar.
Preliminary research suggests students nationwide will return to school in the fall with roughly 70% of learning gains in reading relative to a typical school year, and less than 50% in math, according to projections by NWEA, an Oregon-based nonprofit that provides research to help educators tailor instruction. It expects a greater learning loss for minority and low-income children who have less access to technology, and for families more affected by the economic downturn.
Even though many students these days are tech savvy, that doesn’t ensure they will do well with remote learning. Some education experts say there is a huge gap between what students can do for fun on their cellphones and gaming systems and how good they are at using a device for educational tasks such as reading a document, answering a question or figuring out a problem.
“I think we have this assumption that since they spend all their time on their devices, it’s no big deal for them to learn remotely,” said Janella Hinds, a social-studies teacher at the 500-student High School for Public Service in Brooklyn’s Flatbush neighborhood. “But being a digital consumer and a digital learner are two different things.”
Parents, for their part, are frustrated after more than two months of trying to supervise their children’s at-home learning while juggling jobs and other responsibilities.
“It’s been very challenging,” said Mara LaViola, who has a 17-year-old son with autism and other disabilities in the Eanes Independent School District in Austin, Texas. Initially, she figured she would be more tolerant of teaching shortcomings during such an unprecedented time. But she was dismayed that her son’s interaction with teachers didn’t extend much beyond a morning greeting.
“The vast majority of it failed because of a lack of imagination, and a lack of effort,” she said.