On Thursday, April 8, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced the unprecedented closure of K-12 schools for the remainder of the year due to the outbreak of COVID-19. In lieu of brick and mortar classes, the Philadelphia School District will offer students online classes and a Digital Learning Plan. In order to make this program succeed, the school district is distributing laptops to all students without computer access, while Comcast is granting free or low-cost internet access during this pandemic. For a complete description of this Digital Learning Plan, how it works, who it affects, and how to obtain free resources and learning guides, visit the Philadelphia School District's FAQ.
This crash course in online learning presents a formidable challenge to both students and teachers. Teachers with little to no experience teaching online classes will soon teach students who are equally inexperienced with online learning. Even worse, teachers and students will transition to remote learning mid-semester. Luckily, there are a plethora of online resources to help guide teachers in preparing their courses. To begin with, should PreK-12 teachers create synchronous or asynchronous online classes? And what does that even mean?
The Free Library is temporarily closed during this pandemic, but its digital resources remain available 24/7 for all to use. While there are many databases available, here is a short introduction to a handful of select databases by grade level. Those interested can learn more about the library's primary sources and primary source literacy. Finally, Traveling Treasures, which has traveled to many schools and institutions, allowing participants of all ages to touch and hold artifacts, can also be enjoyed remotely.
COVID-19 has certainly changed how teachers teach students. But the Free Library, with all of its resources is here to support Philadelphia's teachers as we enter uncharted territory together.
To obtain additional information, please contact Joe Shemtov at shemtovj @ freelibrary . org