Self-Advocacy Online Blog
[Cliff Poetz passed away on March 25, 2021. He prepared a series of posts to run through the year on Self-Advocacy Online, a website he co-founded.]
I would like to thank all of the teachers and schools for working so hard and adapting during this time. I know it can be frustrating, but we can also look at this as an opportunity to learn new techniques and tools through remote learning and adapt them for classroom settings in the future.
Technology is developing quickly and it may be difficult to keep up, but it has potential to improve everyone’s quality of life. It can help teachers and staff work more efficiently and quickly and can help students be prepared for transitioning into the workforce, higher education, or to access their community.
Students may experience difficulty accessing remote learning. We have seen for almost a year now that many people do not have the resources they need to learn well with virtual school. Several students do not have the access to technology, internet, or a safe and quiet environment needed to learn successfully. Some communities have less technology literacy or technology training than others and things like socio-economic background, income, race, ethnicity, and language can be huge barriers to learning.
Remote learning can be especially important for students with disabilities. This is preparing them for their future after high school. A big part of higher education or getting a job these days is knowing how to use and have access to a tablet, smartphone, or a computer. Learning this technology can help them get better supports or expose them to other devices to help them improve their quality of life.
Government officials need to introduce a federal plan to give everyone the resources they need to both learn remotely and to open schools. The Department of Education should be leading this and the new administration needs to come up with national guidelines that are simple, easy to understand, and support all students with remote learning, whether it is entirely remote or a combination of remote and in-person.
It is important to be patient with one another as we are all learning how to best teach and learn virtually.