With Schools Out, Parents Encouraged to Help Learning Continue

  • March 24th, 2020
A professor poses for a portrait wearing a green sweater.
Dr. André Denham

With grade school students at home, parents can help their children continue to learn while they’re not in a traditional classroom.

As primary and secondary schools across the country shut their doors in response to the novel coronavirus, Dr. André Denham, associate professor for instructional technology in the College of Education, says parents are crucial in maintaining a routine and engaging children in educational activities.

“With the recent suspension of face-to-face instruction and transition to online instruction due to COVID-19, students and parents across the country are entering uncharted waters,” Denham said. “Fortunately, there are ample online resources and activities that can help K-12 students as they transition to online learning. I want to stress that it is important for students to remain active during these uncertain times. Continuing the learning process is one way that you can do that.”

Even if children are not doing activities provided by a school for course credit, online resources are a good way to continue learning. Many vendors are lowering or eliminating fees, and some websites are compiling and organizing resources for parents.

These resources provide support not just to students, but to parents, many years out of school, who may  need help guiding children in subjects, he said.

“They can provide richer and more contextualized instruction than students might receive in a typical classroom setting,” Denham said.

Parents should find a balance between screen time for educational purposes and screen time for recreation, and to remember the cognitive benefits of exercise, fresh air and sunlight.

“I would strongly encourage parents to make sure to set aside time in the day (weather permitting) when their children can go outside and play, but to do so responsibly while practicing social distancing,” Denham said.

Denham recommends these sites to get started in finding the best online resources:

The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.