Patience needed as distance learning experiences glitches

For hundreds of thousands of Minnesota students, distance learning is entering its second week. It will take time to adjust to this new way of learning, not only for students but educators and parents as well. And it will also take time to work out the kinks experienced during the first week.

According to MPR News, several districts experienced problems last week with digital learning platforms. From crashes to slowdowns to error messages, the volume of users all at once proved to be too much for the platforms to handle.

Anthony Padrnos is the executive director of technology for Osseo Area Schools. He said many teachers in his district as well as other districts in the state were not able to log in to platforms like Schoology or Seesaw throughout the day on Monday.

“As we dug in and were working with Schoology, we learned through the process that with all of Minnesota going online for distance learning and a multitude of other states, they just had a lot of users trying to go into their site at the same time,” Padrnos said. “They weren’t completely ready to handle the load and the volume.”

For many Minnesota parents, the “number of emails, apps and different, confusing and sometimes unhelpful materials they were getting from schools” overwhelmed them. And even with education officials reminding parents that “it’s not necessary they home-school their children,” several families have shared with me the pressure they feel to make sure learning continues so their child doesn’t fall behind.

But the glitches will get sorted out. And as I shared here, parents, make sure you give yourself some grace during this sudden plunge into online education. It is a work in progress. If the online platform is freezing or crashing, take a break and test a new recipe in the kitchen to discuss fractions. Or, pull up YouTube and watch an episode of Bill Nye the Science Guy or Liberty’s Kids. And there is always the option to go outside and learn from nature.

Despite the challenging time we find ourselves in, there are wonderful learning opportunities available and meaningful family time that can be taken advantage of. The next month or months may not be easy, but seek out the positive aspects, as this too shall pass.