PHOENIX (KGUN) — Over 10,000 attendees from around the country participated in a virtual conference Saturday to learn tips and techniques for remote learning.
The event hosted by Arizona State University was free to those looking to learn more about K-12 remote education.
"The year 2020 has provided, or showed, that education will look different for the rest of our lives," says Alison Hernandez, a professional development manager at ASU Prep Digital.
Hernandez, who lives in Tucson, began teaching virtually since 2018, a few years ahead of many of her colleagues, who transitioned at the beginning of the pandemic.
She says there are some advantages that come along with a virtual classroom.
"A lot of teachers are saying, 'Gosh, I can meet with my students whole group, give an introductory lesson, but then most of that time is really freed up for personalized learning," says Hernandez.
Another advantage: the quick jump to remote learning, has made many educators learn to expand their digital toolbox. According to Jackie Krieg, a library media specialist at Sahuaro High School, those skills aren't just beneficial during the pandemic.
"When we go back, there are going to be so many other opportunities or things that we've learned through this process that we can say, 'Hey I can teach this way,' even when we're in person," says Krieg.
Hernandez, expands on that, saying that many Arizona schools, are looking to continue online learning aspects in their classrooms.
"When talking with a lot of district leaders and school leaders throughout the state, they are planning for continuing some branch of an online, digital program for the future," says Hernandez.
Krieg says her fellow Tucson Unified School District teachers have helped each other get up to speed with the technology required remote learning.
"There is definitely a learning curve if you're not comfortable with the technology," says Krieg. "And that's the case, then find a colleague partner who can help walk you through that."
She adds, one of the main things teachers need right now is validation.
"If you don't have it down 100%, that's okay. What's really most important is flexibility and really the relationship building with students," says Krieg. "I'm looking forward to this whole learning process."
You can find out more and register for upcoming events put on by ASU Prep Digital on its website.
Originally posted to KGUN9 January 10, 2020.
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Aubrey Gelpieryn is a journalist currently in New York. She enjoys writing about music, politics and current events.