PREPARING SCHOOLS FOR A NEW LEARNING REALITY
According to UNESCO, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected more than 1 billion children around the world. The costs of school closures were high and have exacerbated the gaps that existed before the pandemic, putting at risk the development of an entire generation.
Over the past few months, the educational community has been looking for strategies to prepare schools – and students – for a new learning reality, rebuilding an education system that ensures learning continuity for all the children. Most governments have implemented distance learning strategies intended to maintain a degree of continuity in students’ learning. However, these strategies do not serve all students equally, as they depend on access to unevenly distributed resources for studying at home, such as Internet connectivity.
In this difficult time for education, Critical Links has made available a C3 Micro-Cloud platform, giving teachers and students no-charge access to a curated set of educational content and activities enabling students to keep on track with a curated curriculum appropriate for K-12 age levels, even if they cannot attend school.
In order to enable all students to access this cloud-resident C3 environment, some Ministries of Education around the globe are working together with their local telecommunications and technology providers to allow free access to the domain which hosts this central C3 instance, ensuring that even those who do not have internet access at home can access the learning content.
Paraguay was one of the countries affected by the learning crisis. The country has always struggled searching for a well-developed education system, having benefitted, in 2017, from an educational reform, integrating the use of technology to ensure that all students have the opportunity to maximize their potential. In that year, 962 Paraguayan schools received the C3 Micro-Cloud, transforming over half-million students’ lives.
The C3 Micro-Cloud is a self-contained, cloud-enabled environment that allows the provisioning of content, applications, resources, and management to local students (and teachers) even if they do not always have an upstream connection to the Internet. It provides additional materials and methods that have improved the way in which knowledge is transmitted in the classroom. This means that, when schools closed due to COVID-19, in March 2020, many students were already familiar with using state-of-the-art technology in their classes – podcasts, e-books, quizzes, Khan Academy, Wikipedia, and learning applications such as Microbit and Scatch – making them better prepared to adapt quickly to remote learning.
The Paraguayan government was concerned with keeping the continuity of the learning process, through the C3 instance, maintaining world-class educational materials available, avoiding interruptions in their students’ education. However, like many other countries, Paraguay faced some issues: the cost of Internet access was high and 92% of the students enrolled in the public sector didn’t have Internet access at home. To overcome this, the Ministry of Education and Internet service providers – Claro, Copaco, Personal, Tigo, and Vox – gave free access to the domain which hosts the central C3 instance, ensuring that. while remote, all students use the same learning resources that were used in the classrooms prior to the shutdown. That brings continuity of learning throughout a very difficult time.
At the moment, schools are reopening again, and Paraguay opted for the HybridEducation Model, providing students a consistent educational experience whose quality is not compromised. Approximately half of a class is in person at school, while the other half join the class virtually from home.
Educators teach remote and in-person students at the same time as they see access, and use the same technology tools. This approach ensures that all students (those who are remote and those who are in person) attend exactly the same lesson at the same time, using the same learning resources. Students can be in school one day, are home the next, on a rotational basis, and see/use the same learning process. If the schools shut down for a number of weeks due to quarantine or other issues, the learning interface remains constant.
This style of instruction creates an ideal learning experience: students are able to maintain a connection with their teachers and colleagues. When they are learning remotely – or if their schools need to close again. they are less impacted as they continue to use the same learning materials they use in the classroom.
Paraguay is a great example of how a school system can adapt to a wide range of external conditions while giving students the opportunity to learn in a changing environment and develop a strong sense of security, stability, and confidence in the learning process.
The C3 Micro-Cloud is being used as a primary solution to ensure the continuity of quality education in thousands of schools around the world, enabling millions of students to enjoy the benefits of a hybrid education. If you want to learn more about the C3 Micro-Cloud and ensure the continuity of your students’ learning process, click