Mon Apr 6, 2020 | | Charter School Insights, Copyright, Education

Distance Learning Technology Update

distance learning technology

As schools in New York City enter into their 3rd/4th week of distance learning along with news that for many, the originally-scheduled spring break may not take place, here are a few distance learning technology-focused matters that we have been following:

  • Video Conferencing. Unfortunately, while catastrophes and challenging times seem to bring out the best in many people, for others, the same events present an opportunity to exhibit troubling behavior.  We previously blogged about Zoombombing, where people are able to guess a meeting ID for a scheduled meeting and find their way into a class or meet-up in progress, exposing students and teachers to inappropriate comments, pictures and screen shares.This unwanted experience can be partially avoided by adding the requirement for a password (though there’s still the issue of students giving out the password to others) and a hosts (teachers) ability to remove unwanted participants (and prevent them from returning under their login) and also restrict the screen share function so that only the host can share their screen.  In addition to the above security features and in response to many instances of Zoombombing and concern raised by schools and others, there’s now a default setting whereby video conference participants must first enter a virtual waiting room, and can only enter the conference when the host lets them in.  As a reminder, in addition to any video conferencing and technology use policies and procedures that a school already has in place,  schools may want to consider a technology use contract between schools, students and their parents/guardians to focus everyone’s attention on the unique nature of this distance learning experience.
  • Copyright. On a lighter note, we previously wrote about intellectual property considerations when reading teachers are filming themselves reading books and other works to their students and sharing them online. In addition to specific permissions (licenses), authors and publishers have already provided to address this concern and in addition to the many free websites that provide students with enrichment content,  with an eye towards students engaged in distance learning and perhaps requiring additional resources to account for not being in a physical classroom, JK Rowling (of Harry Potter fame) has created a free interactive website, which she announced on Twitter last week:
free interactive website

Wishing everyone a great week of distance learning. Stay healthy and stay safe!