Parents and teachers who recently participated in a survey to determine the success of eLearning gave the district mostly high marks for how it handled the drastic shift that occurred with instruction due to school closures from coronavirus.
A total of 2,148 parents responded to the survey, which sought feedback on two main questions: what went right with eLearning, and what could the district have done better?
Parents praised the district for helping to solve technology access issues in various areas by distributing Chromebooks and MiFi devices to provide internet connectivity. Despite those efforts, there were some parents who reported that technical issues did cause a hindrance in providing a completely smooth eLearning experience. This was particularly true in some of the rural areas of Shelby County.
Parents across all three grade spans of elementary, middle, and high also praised the flexibility students were given to work on assignments at their own pace. Some parents, especially those who were deemed essential workers, would have liked to have seen assignments given on Friday so that students also had the weekend to work on it and they would have been available to assist their children with the work.
Parents also liked the use of technology programs their students were already familiar with, such as Google Classroom, Google Meet, and the Clever app. However, parents admitted they needed some training on the use of these technology tools in order to more effectively help their children with the assignments.
“A lot of parents said they needed a Google 101 course,” said Dr. Leah Anne Wood, Director of Instruction, in a presentation to the Board of Education during a board meeting on May 28. “Our technology resource teachers are already working on some training videos to help walk parents through the use of things like Google Classroom and the Clever app.”
Parents praised Shelby County teachers for how well they adjusted to teaching online and how they continued to provide support and encouragement for their students. Parents responded that teachers were responsive in communicating with them and their students, flexible in their expectations, and kind and compassionate in how they responded during a very difficult time. Teachers were also well organized with their lesson plans and were engaged with students throughout the eLearning process.
“Teachers were quick to answer any questions my children had. They were so uplifting and encouraging in all of their comments on assignments,” said one parent.
“My child was blessed to have engaged and proactive teachers who went ‘above and beyond’ to ensure he had the information needed to learn and be successful,” another parent wrote.
Teachers who responded to the survey said one positive aspect of the eLearning experience was that it allowed them to learn new instructional technology they plan to incorporate into their teaching practices in the future.
Teachers also were very thankful for the instructional support they received from the district. Teachers specifically thanked the instructional department’s program area specialists and instructional coaches who worked countless hours helping to provide resources and support to assist teachers in making the transition to eLearning.