Many NC parents need a technology crash course to help students with...

Many NC parents need a technology crash course to help students with online learning ::


— With many public schools across North Carolina starting next week with only online classes, parents will be serving as substitute teachers to help students navigate lessons as well as the traditional homework.

“It’s a little overwhelming,” said Kisha Epps, who has three children in the eighth, 10th and 12th grades in Edgecombe County schools.

“We’re going to have to be the teachers at home even though we work,” Epps said of her and her husband. “When we come home, I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a million questions that they’re going to ask. So, I’m going to be in school all over again.”

For parents like Epps, it’s not just course material that they have to re-learn. Parents will also have to learn the different technology platforms used by teachers to make assignments, communicate with families and provide resources for at-home school work.

“We know this is a major adjustment for families,” said William Logan, principal of Hillside High School in Durham.

School administrators understand technology may be second nature to many children, but not necessarily to their parents, Logan said. So many back-to-school plans take parents into consideration.

“One of the things we’ve proposed in our re-entry plan is the whole idea of our IT department possibly helping principals and teachers create virtual webinars, online webinars that parents can watch,” Logan said.

Most schools will use two main platforms: Google Classroom, along with a suite of Google apps, and Canvas, which gives parents complete access through the local school system’s portal.

According to an online Canvas tutorial, the platform lets students check grades, view assignment due dates, read instructions, follow calendars and communicate with teachers. Parents can download a Canvas app and get access to their children’s accounts.

In Google Classroom, students set up accounts using a Gmail address or their school email. There’s also an app that parents can use to track assignments.

“I think it’s going to take a lot of research, a lot of patience from the children and from the parents,” Epps said.

Southwest Edgecombe High School, which her two older children attend, uses Schoology as its online teaching platform.

Regardless of platform, the Wake County Public School System provides the following advice for parents:

Know the basic places your child’s teacher shares information to keep track of assignments, announcements and feedback.

Know what resources are available. Get the login information for the school system’s portal.

Get the apps now to be able to monitor what’s due and what’s done through the school year.

Experiencing trouble? Do what parents have told children for generations: Ask for help. That might mean going old school and actually going to school.

“One of the things we have decided to do was open the doors to the school by appointments and allow those families to come in and get tech support, and we’re willing to do that in the fall as well,” Logan said.

Epps admits she’s no computer genius, but she said she’s determined to make this school year work for her children.

“I’m not going to stop until they get it or I get it,” she said. “If they don’t understand it, I have to understand it in order to help them.”

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