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Monday, July 26, 2021

A Parent’s Perspective of Remote Home Learning

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Canvas learning platform simplifies Covid-era education

Last school year was anything but ordinary. And area students were called upon to adapt, grow and thrive in a post- Covid education model.

Covid-19, face masks, hybrid attendance, virtual attendance and a new online learning platform called Canvas. All of these factors created advantages and disadvantages in students’ learning processes.

I am not a fan of Google Classroom. I will admit that when the schools shut their doors in March 2020 (for the most extended Spring Break ever), I was not focused on getting my children to complete the classwork they were assigned. Navigating that platform was timeconsuming, and the amount of effort required to figure out what needed to be done was not worth it.

Initially, they were very excited about the prospect of staying home, but this quickly lost its luster. Meanwhile, mom was just trying to keep up with the needs and assignments from three different schools for children in various stages of life and learning (preschool, elementary and middle school).

I was excited when Caddo Parish Schools announced Canvas would be an addition to the educational tools the schools would utilize to bridge the gap between students attending classes in-person and those attending class virtually.

I was already familiar with Canvas because the university I attend for my graduate studies uses the platform. I am happy to say that Canvas was the best thing that ever happened to my oldest child educationally in our home. She completed the seventh grade this year and made all A’s the entire school year – that’s not happened before! She absolutely thrived!

This child of mine has struggled with ADHD since kindergarten. And kids with ADHD often are treated as if they are not as smart as typical children. That is incorrect. It is not a matter of being smart when you have ADHD; it is, instead, a matter of having the tools that will enhance the learning experience of those whose brains are wired differently.

With Canvas, all the assignments are organized and listed on the platform very intuitively, making it simple to navigate.

Canvas also sends emails to keep the learner up-to-date when assignments are graded and when teachers make announcements. The built-in calendar is also a handy tool to keep up with upcoming assignments and whether an assignment has been submitted.tt There was a slight learning curve for both my child and myself while acclimating to Canvas. For example, during the first nine weeks, I would log into Canvas every Friday afternoon and click on every assignment in all of her classes to ensure they had been completed and submitted. Students also could message their teachers with questions or gain feedback. This taught my daughter to advocate for herself. I encouraged her to message her teachers to clarify assignments and ask if assignments could be redone and submitted for a better grade. She eventually began effectively communicating with her teachers without prompting. We were lucky that her school and teachers allowed

flexibility in submitting classwork. Students were able to ask questions during virtual Friday Zoom classes, and they had until Sunday to turn everything in. I lost count of the number of times that she may not have done as well as she could on an assignment or quiz, and she contacted that particular teacher to ask to redo the work.

The difference in my child from the onset of the school year until class ended for the summer is astonishing. She is very confident in her academic abilities now and in her ability to communicate with her teachers.

Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of typical pre-teen times when she didn’t complete an assignment or didn’t do well on a quiz, but overall I give the district’s addition of Canvas to enhance the learning experience for our students an A+. I hope Canvas is retained and schools continue to use it for the foreseeable future.

ON STANDS NOW!

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