‘Remote Digital Learning Roadmap’ issued

EWING, NJ — Sustainable Jersey for Schools has released a primer and a practical roadmap to help New Jersey schools and teachers implement remote-learning programs that provide every student with the best education, with as little disruption, as possible, when districts need to limit in-person instruction.

The user-friendly “Remote Digital Learning Roadmap,” issued through the new Sustainable Jersey Digital Schools program, is accessible at http://bit.ly/RemoteDigitalLearningRoadmap.

“It’s no surprise, and no criticism, that a number of schools struggled with implementing new remote-learning programs in real time,” said Randall Solomon, executive director of Sustainable Jersey. “The Remote Digital Learning Roadmap uses research and information gathered from many districts to provide guidance and examples of how schools can effectively implement digital instruction.”

The roadmap covers a wide range of topics including: equity; mental health; choosing content; choosing technology; family supports; remote digital learning for lab, CTE and other hands-on courses; remote digital learning in a hybrid model; lesson plans and strategies; and more.

According to Solomon, the COVID-19 pandemic will not be the last time that schools find it necessary to suspend in-person instruction. Extreme weather events, predicted to increase due to global warming, and future disease outbreaks are just two reasons that schools must build this capacity now, and for the future.

Equity is another concern.

“The public health crisis has exacerbated existing inequities,” said Laurence Cocco, senior program consultant for the Sustainable Jersey Digital Schools program. “The most vulnerable students, those with challenging home environments, limited access to computers and broadband, or limited parental involvement, or those who require ESL or have special needs, have been disproportionately impacted. 

“The digital divide is growing,” continued Cocco, a former director of educational technology for the New Jersey Department of Education. “These students in particular require schools to build a robust remote digital learning capacity to ensure they do not fall behind when in-person teaching must be suspended.” 

The Remote Digital Learning Roadmap is the first product of the new Sustainable Jersey Digital Schools program, a multi-agency partnership formed to help schools and their students prepare for a future of new challenges, during and beyond the pandemic. Financial support critical to this effort was provided by underwriter Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, as well as Sustainable Jersey Digital Schools bronze sponsor ClassLink. Sustainable Jersey Digital Schools program partners include the New Jersey Department of Education and the New Jersey School Boards Association.