Teachers adapt lessons to distance learning, technology gaps

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Welcome to Julie Law-Marin’s social sciences class. There’s a notable absence of students and the presence of some distractions. 

It’s a new virtual-learning reality the John F. Kennedy High School teacher is slowly getting used to.

“We all came into this unprepared. We didn’t expect that we would have closures,” she said. “Initially, (Sacramento City Unified School District’s) closure was for three days and now we’re looking at almost two months of closures.”

Teachers had to learn fast how to move lessons online. While preparing to teach her own students through Google Classrooms, Law-Marin volunteered to also help her colleagues.

“A couple of hours a day just kind of reaching out, sending screenshots and making documents to kind of say, ‘This is how you upload an assignment. This is how you reach parents. This is how you do things in an efficient manner such as taking attendance,’” Law-Marin said.

They found a large technology gap, not only between various teachers but also students.

The district handed out roughly 20,000 Chromebooks for families who need them, but many students are sharing with siblings.

“If a student is helping their younger sibling do assignments from 9 to 12 in the morning they might not be able to do the assignment until later in the evening,” Law-Marin said.

So Law-Marin is asking her students to complete their work at their own pace.

“I’ve explicitly stated that there will only be two assignments a week in my classes so my students know how much they’re learning, when do they need to do it and how to do it,” she told FOX40.

But it’s difficult when Law-Marin hasn’t even been able to reach roughly 10% of her students — despite countless phone calls and emails home. She worries about the learning lost.

“I think we are going to see that there is a need to rebuild as we go into the next school year,” she said.

For now, she’ll keep posting lessons, answering calls from parents at all hours of the day and night and doing everything she can to help her students through this difficult time.

“We’re trying to do the best with the tools we have,” Law-Marin said. “Which is the resiliency of this profession.”

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