Helping Parents Survive Remote Learning

This blog was posted on behalf of Cigdem Ertem. Cigdem Ertem started her career working in IT departments of Public Sector organizations, after graduating from Middle East Technical University Computer Engineering Department. She has worked at various positions mostly focusing on systems analysis, software development and IT procurement evaluation/selection. She joined Intel over 15 years ago and is now the Global Director for Education in Intel’s Client Computing Group. 

I am a mother of three boys and a cat who loves to make cameo appearances on video calls. In the blink of an eye, our lives have changed dramatically—not just my family’s life but the lives of everyone around us, my relatives in Turkey, people everywhere across the planet.

And with an 8th grader and a 10th grader at home, the changes affecting our schools are top of mind. Teachers are working overtime to adapt their lesson plans to remote learning and hold students’ attention in a world of distractions while ensuring that each student has the right access and is receiving the help they need. In the meantime, parents are grappling with being the onsite coordinators for their children’s schooling—all while trying to keep some perspective and put meals on the table every day. 

Here I am reviewing my son’s video project, which he prepared with Mindcraft for Children’s Day celebrations in Turkey.

In the face of this challenging time, our team got together with some education experts, and we asked ourselves, “How can we help?” What gap can we fill beyond what the Intel Pandemic Response Online Learning Initiative is doing? In our research, we realized that while a lot of tips and lists were spontaneously emerging on the internet, few were organized by school age and actually getting to the “how to do it” part. 

So, we decided to partner with top educators, including a National Teacher of the Year and blended-learning and Ed-Tech experts,  to produce two guides – one for educators, one for parents – designed to help keep our children’s education relevant, organized and engaging.

The Educators’ Guide is a simple, organized plan for getting started with remote learning. It offers guidance for adapting lesson plans to remote learning and is designed to balance on- and off-screen activities. The Guide includes a list of resources that are trustworthy, subscription-free, and work even if an educator doesn’t have the latest computer. That was important to us—equally important was to design a guide for non-techies! 

 

The Parents’ Guide is designed for all families—there are no minimum technology access or resource requirements. Like the Educators’ Guide, the Parents’ Guide includes a list of resources that are trustworthy, subscription-free, and work even if a family doesn’t have the latest computer. We curated over 20 tip sheets filled with project ideas, the right balance of on- and off-screen activities, and candid photos, taken by real families. It was a lot of fun to see the resourcefulness and creativity coming through as families sent us pictures.

Our hope is that by narrowing down the options, showing real-life examples, and organizing the content by age-relevant sections we will make it easier for parents to find ideas that are practical and relevant. 

So far, the responses have been quite positive. I sincerely hope that these guides will help lighten the load for many parents and help children find their passion. I encourage everyone to try some of these activities and please, share your experience.

 

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