How students can learn during coronavirus without internet: Teacher union leader

Schools closed because of COVID-19 are using technology to supplement learning

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The coronavirus pandemic may offer a good opportunity for students working remotely to revisit term papers, or capstone projects, Randi Weingarten, the American Federation of Teachers president, said.

“If we trust teachers, particularly for a high school graduating seniors, to kind of come up with projects, to sum up the year then and… if somebody doesn't have the internet or somebody doesn't have online to kind of create a delivery system like we have with the grab and go meals, then we can actually help sum up the year in as productive a way as possible,” Weingarten told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo on Thursday.

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School closings throughout the country have forced classes to be held online using online platforms like Zoom and Google Classroom, which has been effective, Weingarten said.

However, teachers are still learning as they go, she said.

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“We often use the expression building and… flying the plane at the same time,” she said. “And I would actually say that's pretty apt right now because… virtual learning has been around for a long time -- it has actually not really worked effectively. And so everybody within, I would say like five to seven days had to learn how to do it very quickly.

A student watches an online lecture Thursday, March 12, 2020, after her school closed for five weeks due to the coronavirus. (Anne Marie Canlis via AP)

Georgia joined a growing list of eight other states to announce that schools will be closed for the remainder of the year. Weingarten said once the coronavirus could partially change how students learn in the future.

“Parents are now seeing kind of just how hard it is to teach,” she said. “And so we need to actually build those relationships again, see people again, connect with people again and have schools that actually wrap services around -- it’s going to be actually more important to have some of those other services past this virus.”

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But Weingarten also believes that technology will not replace teaching.

“Technology does not supplant teaching and learning," she said. "It has to supplement teaching and learning. And that's what you're seeing here."

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