Districts discuss pros and cons of distance learning

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- As school districts and students continue to tackle distance learning, they're finding things that work and things that don't.

Distance learning has been a double-edged sword for students and educators. Technology can both be a help and a hindrance.

"After 9/11, going to the airport was never the same. After COVID-19, I think that educators' and kids' access to technology is never going away," said Fresno Unified Superintendent Bob Nelson.

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The districts have passed out more laptops and hotspots than ever before and there are perks to managing classes online.

"They are really content and happy with how Google Classroom works, assigning work, and collecting work," said Clovis Unified Principal Laura Hart. "That's been going really well, and I suspect we'll keep that."

But tech troubles have also plagued classrooms all semester long.

"We hear all of our kids talk about how things are glitchy and that's true," added Hart. "Technology can work really well one day then you have some glitches the next day."

Fresno Unified says some students have found a home in online learning, even planning to stay with the e-learn academy after other students return to the classroom

"For some of our kids who have social anxiety, distance learning seems to work pretty well," added Nelson. "We anticipate that's really going to grow and some more of our kids will opt into that going forward."

Another really big lesson for the districts: The benefit of recreating the classroom setting and schedule as much as possible.

"On Monday morning, we kind of set the week out ahead, so people know what to expect, and being well organized around that. I think is a major add," said Nelson.

"We've always done cooking on Wednesday, and we've been able to recreate that at home," said Hart. "So we still cook on Wednesdays with our students and we're finding that's a fun thing for parents to do together."
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