INDIANAPOLIS – Most schools are making the tough decision to reopen while parents and teachers are still having to navigate this challenging time. Education officials say an eLearning Lab is becoming more useful, even if kids are heading back to class.
David McGuire has taken on a new role. He’s not only the Principal at Tindley Summit Academy and a father, he’s also running the parent and community dashboard for the eLearning Lab.
“How can we help parents bridge the gap between their home and school, so their student still feels apart of the school?” asked McGuire.
It’s a free online resource that’s connecting families and teachers to articles and tutorials. McGuire is there to talk with parents, virtually about their challenges and their successes.
“We have to make sure even though when we come on the other side of this that we don’t lose some of the good things we have learned about how kids best learn,” he added.
Since launching the eLearning Lab in July, Kristin Grimme with The Mind Trust says, there are 2,500 educators and parents using the online tool.
“So, if their student is using google classroom and they’ve never used google classroom before they can go on there and watch a quick video about how the platform works,” Grimme explained.
She believes there’s even more urgency as schools re-open. Families are allowed to provide feedback which would result in more information being added to the eLearning Lab. The company, FiveStar, worked with the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) to create the lab.
In a statement, April Harper, the Senior Director of Strategy for FiveStar Technology Solutions said:
“Our number one priority is providing resources and tools that can be used tomorrow to make the teaching and learning experience better. With the chat feature, we are able to problem-solve with teachers and parents and provide immediate assistance when they have questions. The resources, lesson ideas, and virtual workshops are just a click away to inspire you in whatever capacity you work with students.”
“Who knows what it will look like in a month or two months, but what is important for us is to get the infrastructure in place – so no matter what happens or if a family chooses to continue to stay at home and learning virtually, that they have the resources and support they need,” Grimme said.
Now that the infrastructure is in place, the plan is to continue to add to the eLearning Lab. For McGuire he plans to help walk families through this unprecedented time.
“I want to make sure our virtual families still feel connected,” said McGuire, “Create the space that conducive for learning. The second being, set a set schedule and stick with it. The third is, make sure you build in appropriate breaks. Four, make sure as a parent that you know exactly what is going on and the fifth one which I think is the most important is, be the parent not the teacher.”
Supporting and providing information that’s just one click away.
“We finally have an opportunity to do education, I think, the right way,” McGuire added.
This tool is for parents, statewide. If you would like to use The eLearning Lab, click here.
In response to school closures, The Indianapolis eLearning Fund was created to help support educators and families. The fund launched with more than $2.6 million with help from multiple foundations and organizations in Central Indiana. Under this fund, the statewide e-learning lab was built.