Students are hitting the books once again across Ontario and the rest of Canada, and one of the lessons being studied is the effectiveness of measures designed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 while still providing a meaningful education experience.

Quality classroom furniture will play a key role in the success of educating students in the COVID era, and in ensuring students receive the education they need and deserve in a safe environment. That includes remote as well as in-class lessons. Although many of the measures for remote learning will be similar to the experiences of employees working from home, key differences include tailoring processes to achieve the expectations set out by educators and the Province.

Let’s take a close look at what that entails, specifically goals and strategies laid out by the Province for remote learning:

  • On August 13, the Ministry of Education released its plan to achieve “a consistent approach to remote learning” during the pandemic. It notified stakeholders, providing detailed direction to keep students learning from home engaged in the education experience, and providing definitions of remote, synchronous, and asynchronous learning
  • Remote learning: Essentially it means a teaching/learning experience away from a traditional classroom setting.
  • Synchronous learning: This is education that occurs in real time, involving the use of text, video, or voice communication that facilitates two-way communication between educators and students in an interactive and engaging manner.
  • Asynchronous learning: This approach is not delivered in real time, but rather involves the use of recorded videos, assigned tasks, and participation in online discussion boards.

Students Will be Required to Complete a Minimum Amount of Daily Instruction

Minimum daily instruction times for synchronous learning were also established: 180 minutes for Kindergarten, 225 minutes for Grades 1 through 8, and for Grades 9 to 12, 225 minutes per day for a full course schedule. The Province also established communication and assessment protocols, and also ways to support students with special needs. In all, the approach is an attempt to duplicate, as much as possible, the classroom experience in a remote environment. Have a fuller read of the plan here.

Having their home spaces outfitted with quality classroom-like furniture to convey an in-school feel can help students with the structured approach of the Province’s plan. Here are a couple of suggestions along those lines:

  • One of the first steps for parents and students is to carve out a personalized space, one that students can call their own that provides comfort, security, and a sense of belonging. Encourage students to add personal touches. That setting could be in a bedroom, but perhaps another location in the home would be better suited, to provide a change of scene.
  • An ergonomically designed chair built for comfort and a range of postures will also enhance the remote learning experience. Students will be required to spend hours each day doing school work, so the more comfortable they are, the more likely they are to benefit from the daily routine.
  • Desks should be able to adapt to the technical requirements of remote leaning, including sufficient space for computers and other necessities. A flexible desk that allows students to go from sitting to standing will help them ‘stretch their legs’ when they want to.
  • Provide sufficient and suitable storage capacity, such as bins, so that students can store and retrieve their work.

Develop Home Strategies to Keep Students Engaged and Focused

Remember that students learning remotely will need at-home strategies to feel connected, focused, and healthy. Here are some ideas on how to achieve that:

  • In all likelihood, the school bell will ring remotely the same time as the school one does. Students will be using a variety of tools, including Zoom, to connect with teachers and the virtual classroom. Understanding the schedule and sticking to it will be a key success factor.
  • Keep students off of social media channels and online games during scheduled learning times.
  • Proper diet and exercise will help. Try to schedule some outside time for a run, walk, or other physical activities.
  • Staying connected to friends will help alleviate feelings of isolation some students may experience. When students are on a break, perhaps schedule some chat time that may provide the feel of daily in-school hallway banter.

As mentioned, school boards are trying to make the remote experience as close as possible to the classroom routine, through processes and procedures. To get an in-depth look at the strategy, take a look at what one board, the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board, is doing. Using classroom-like furniture at home can only enhance the likelihood of success.

Contact the experts at POI today for advice on creating a successful remote learning experience for your child.