A full recording of this event is available on YouTube. View it here.
On Wednesday September 15th, the Family Online Safety Institute hosted a virtual fireside chat titled, “School’s Back - Now What?” FOSI CEO Stephen Balkam led a conversation with Diana Graber of Cyberwise and Cyber Civics, where they explored a number of topics surrounding what back to school looks like in 2021. They discussed ways that parents, educators, and school administrators can support each other in providing a quality learning environment and experience for students this year.
The conversation opened with a brief overview of the current educational landscape, emphasizing all the work that educators have done to adapt to different styles of teaching in the past few years and how resilient children are for maintaining their academic lessons through the changes as well. As an educator herself, Diana shared personal stories from her classroom, noting that students felt technology and video conferencing software allowed online learning and socialization to happen easily, but not without its drawbacks. She remarked that both students and teachers have become much more tech savvy over the past year and a half, and those skills are valuable moving forward, predicting that the state of education will not regress back to pre-pandemic operations, instead incorporating more technology, devices, and increased EdTech in curriculums.
The importance of social and emotional learning (SEL) was heavily discussed, acknowledging the likelihood that teachers will have to address current events that a student sees at home or while using their device. Being able to have group conversations about what is going on in their students’ lives allow for more engaging lessons and meaningful student-teacher interactions. Diana and Stephen also spoke about the ways communities, schools, and families can come together and set technology rules or “classroom norms” that everyone would operate from to keep their classroom community digitally safe and healthy.
During a Q&A period, Stephen and Diana answered questions from the audience on everything from hybrid learning and how to engage parents in digital academic activities to building and encouraging resilience related to viewing difficult online content, cyberbullying, and sexting.