A tech expert's advice on how to best approach virtual learning
TORONTO -- With more students potentially moving to online learning platforms, parents are having to navigate their way through virtual classrooms.
While many schools across Canada begin their winter break on Monday, some school boards are uncertain if students will return to an in-person classroom in the new year.
On Wednesday, the Toronto District School Board sent a letter to parents warning them to prepare for the possibility that students may not return to classes following the winter break. The Ontario government also echoed the warning.
According to tech expert Amber Mac, parents need to prepare to adjust to e-learning just as much as students do in order for there to be an effective learning experience.
“The first step for a lot of parents is understanding what exactly your kid is doing online in the context of their day,” Mac told CTV News Channel on Saturday.
She explains that screen time can be defined differently depending on what your child is doing online. For instance, being in an online lesson is different than watching Tik Tok videos, she explains.
Regardless of their age, Mac says in order to prevent your child from burning out it is important to stay vigilant and watch what they are doing.
“It’s so important for parents to keep an eye on their kid, and to watch if your kid is feeling anxious or if you can tell that they are feeling stressed out,” said Mac.
That may mean building “mini breaks” into their schedules in order to avoid distractions or burnouts.
“The idea being that of course, exercise first and foremost has to be part of every kid’s day, so figure out opportunities to build that in,” she said.
Another important aspect is to get involved and do some of the online learning with the kids.
“We kind of forget that we also kind of have to be guides as parents when it comes to technology,” she said.
Mac says that the more collaborative the learning experience is for your child, the more effective the outcome will be. She says it is also important to remember that every child has different learning capabilities.
“We can’t think of a one size fits all approach. We have to really pay attention to the cues our child is giving us.” she said.
Socializing should also be a component in your child’s day-to-day learning, and that may happen in unconventional ways during the holidays.
“Maybe they’re playing video games with other kids that is the only social activity that they may have over the holidays,” she said.