Public and private school administrators throughout New Jersey have instituted online or remote learning to educate students during the coronavirus pandemic over the past couple of weeks.
For how the Hillsborough Township Public Schools have been handling online learning, Superintendent of Schools Lisa Antunes said the district has been doing really well with the transformation to online learning and has seen students, teachers and parents come together to help make the process better for everyone one.
“There is so much going well with remote learning,” Antunes said. “Students, parents and staff have embraced the flexible learning plan and their collective efforts have enabled the district to ensure that students continue to learn and grow throughout this crisis.”
Online learning platforms such as Google Classroom and Google Meet have been forms of contact that students and teachers have been using to stay connected and conduct class, Antunes said.
Google Classroom is the primary platform teachers are using to conduct classes and to post work material.
Google Meet and other video conferencing platforms are being used by students and teachers to meet together virtually and for teachers to create video lesson plans for students.
Teachers who have their own webpage in the Genesis Portal on the district’s website will also use that platform as a way to post assignments and materials, just as they would if remote learning was not in place.
Students and teachers generally meet from 8 a.m. to noon each day during their regularly scheduled classes.
As a part of the district’s flexible learning plan, Antunes said students have the choice to virtually attend classes when they are scheduled to meet or learn in an asynchronous manner throughout the day.
In the afternoon, teachers generally will meet with each other virtually to plan out their course schedule for the next day.
Because of the flexibility that is associated with online learning, many teachers have begun sharing workloads and resources to help create better lesson plans for their students.
Teachers will give continuous feedback to students about how they are doing with online learning, Antunes said.
For safety reasons, only full-time teachers have access to communicate and educate students for online learning, according to district administrators.
Antunes said administrators are encouraging parents to maintain a regular and consistent
schedule for their children and to adjust expectations for learning and working from home.
So far, the biggest challenge with online learning has been meeting the needs of the younger students, Antunes said, but the superintendent said she is pleased with the efforts of the staff.
“Ensuring we have access to meet the learning needs of the younger students has proven to be a challenge, but we are very proud of the dedicated efforts of the staff,” she said. “We also want to be sure our staff has the tools they need to move forward in a productive manner.”
Antunes said administrators will continue to monitor the online learning program as all schools remain closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.