Ontario Moves To Online Learning…Inequities Exposed

Greetings,

I just wanted to take a quick moment to offer a level of encouragement to all families and educators who are embarking on a new learning journey! That journey of course involves a move to ‘online’ learning. Approximately 5 years ago I developed a theory called ‘Techno-Resiliency” and I wrote a book about it. My intention was to discover how educators were making technology work with their students despite levels of inequity (limited access to Internet, lack of training, lack of support, lack of functioning hardware). In the end, what I discovered was those educators that were making technology work had a strong ‘professional imperative’ to support student learning. The move to online learning supports is fraught with challenges for both educators and families alike. I have been privy to the work that has been undertaken by some educators to try and add this level of support to their students and I have to say I am very proud of their collaboration and efforts. There has never been a better example of ‘techno-resiliency’ in action (collaboration, creativity and a strong professional imperative to support learning). However, I think it will be important for us to realize it is also going to take a tremendous amount of ‘techno-resiliency’ from the perspective of the students and parents. There has been inequity that has been exposed in terms of access and the ability to support all students in an effective manner. It is also important to realize that true ‘online learning’ is in fact a separate endeavour from providing online learning supports. What is being offered is the latter. To provide a true online learning experience requires a tremendous amount of planning, training and technological support. In essence, it is a discipline with more than 20 years of research and pedagogy behind it.

The purpose of this brief posting is to offer a level of encouragement to all those that have pushed into an uncomfortable reality. There will be high levels of techno-resiliency required by all parties! In the end, I am confident there will be some positive that comes from this experience as it will be an impetus for exploring and testing the limitations and positive aspects of how this form of online can better support learning once we get back to a face-to-face learning environment.

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