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Online learning programs no longer “optional”

Brenthaven ceo - scott armstrongI came across a very interesting article last week by Yoree Koh who writes for the Wall Street Journal. In the article, Ms. Koh points out the painful difference between school districts with online learning programs and those without.

In districts like Seattle Public Schools, where there are no online learning programs, students and parents are left to fend for themselves. For example, a neighbor friend of mine, whose kids attend a Seattle public school, is requiring his kids spend several hours a day watching videos on Khan Academy. The videos don’t necessarily align with what the kids are studying in school and he wishes he had more guidance from the teachers as to what his kids should be studying.

Kids in an online learning setup

Danny Westneat, a writer for the Seattle Times, wrote this interesting article about his frustration with the Seattle Public Schools and the administration’s reluctance to even consider alternative ways to educate kids online during this time.

As this horrible virus rages on, it remains to be seen if students will return to school before the end of the school year in June… and even worse, whether they will be allowed to return to school next September.

How will schools without online learning programs decide who gets to graduate from high school this Spring?

Parents are asking… “how is my child going to learn what they were supposed to learn this year so they can be ready for the next grade?” In the absence of online learning programs that allow students to continue their studies from home, these are some of the difficult questions facing parents and school administrators alike.

Kid in an online learning setupAs I look at both of these scenarios, I can’t help but recognize how Brenthaven fits into the online learning scope. Since 2001, Brenthaven has been providing highly protective mobile device cases specifically for K12. Our products keep devices safe thus keeping students connected to their online learning programs. Today, about 50% of students in the United States receive a device on the first day of school (usually a Chromebook or an iPad). This enables access to everything, from textbooks to homework to testing. Teachers can track how well the students are doing in real-time and using online learning programs, offer customized tracks for different types of learners.

Tectonic shifts often occur in times like these where an outside force fundamentally shifts our reality… and I’m ready to declare that these 1:1 digital initiatives are no longer optional. They are now mandatory.

Kids sharing the same ipadEvery school district across the country absolutely must prepare for the unfortunate possibility that this is our new ‘norm’. We have been inundated with calls from school districts around the country, desperate to launch 1:1 programs prior to the start of the 2020/2021 school year in August. They know that school those without a ‘protection strategy’ will see sky-high damage rates on their devices. Students are tough on devices, whether at home, at school or in transit. Districts like Seattle Public Schools will continue to hear outcries from angry parents until they embark on the shift toward online learning platforms that will allow students to continue their studies remotely.

Our hearts go out to everyone affected by this virus and we hope for a speedy recovery for our nation and the world. The silver lining here is that we will be better prepared should this happen again. I predict that two years from now that 50% figure could grow to 100%, as online learning programs become a ‘must-have’ for every student.

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