Ella loves school. She thrives on social interactions and has a thirst for knowledge. Every day after school she gets a snack and pulls up to the breakfast room table to work on her homework. On weekends she plays school and pretends to be the teacher. Her grades are excellent and her friendships are solid. She adores all of her teachers, assistants, and support staff.
Our school district started e-learning last week. It was new to all of us: teachers, students, and parents. On the first day of e-learning, I woke the kids just before 9 a.m. They raced down to the breakfast room and opened their Chromebooks. Each of them navigated to their teacher’s e-learning page and found lessons there. Within minutes they were reading, writing, and doing math. They explored science sites and worked from their social studies textbooks.
Ella’s older siblings, Ava and Henry, got through their lessons quickly, by not taking any breaks. Ella, on the other hand, took her time and took several breaks in between lessons. She worked diligently and asked us questions if she didn’t understand something. One of the areas she said she needed to work on was “money.”
Ella logged in to IXL — a math website she uses at school — and found her way to the fourth-grade money lessons. The lesson has different combinations of coins and bills and the student is tasked with working out the total amounts. I found several quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies in our “junk drawer.” I placed the coins in front of Ella and we separated them into groups. We traced each coin on a piece of paper and labeled each one with its name and value.
We proceeded through the lesson using real coins to build the total amounts. As we progressed we took away the piece of paper, leaving just the coins on the table. Ella found the coins shown on the website and did the math to figure out the total. Soon, she was doing the calculations without the coins.
To fulfill the social interaction that occurs in a classroom, Ella’s teacher used a website called Zoom. The video conferencing website allows up to 100 people to converse via their computer — desktop, laptop, Chromebook, or tablet. During a class session, her teacher read aloud to her students and let the kids talk to one another and get caught up.
Technology can be a great thing, allowing students the opportunity to continue learning even though they are at home. It enables social interaction as well. Ella and her siblings have embraced the e-learning situation and they continue to become more adept at using its features.
We don’t know how long we’ll need e-learning, but thanks to the educators using the platform, we feel confident that learning and social interaction will continue.
Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.
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