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War Zone Virtual Education - Learning Amid Chaos

Keith Brooks
November 14, 2023

War Zone Virtual Education - Learning Amid Chaos

I gave this session at the November 2023 GLOW online worldwide event.

It is broken up into 4 sections, parents, teachers, schools/Govermnent, and students.
My hope is to raise awareness that we could be doing better and I provide the issues each segment faces, some ideas to counteract them, and lastly some action items specific to the situation.

This presentation is meant for teachers, school administrators, and government offices that may need to see what is going on in front of them.

Lastly for students to know, we do understand much of what they are going through.

This presentation was reviewed by teachers and students, and was partially created using Ai.

Keith Brooks

November 14, 2023

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  1. Welcome to my presentation about the world of virtual/on-premises classrooms

    in war zones. Get ready to discover the challenges and impact of learning amidst adversity.
  2. Education in war zones is a daunting task. Limited resources,

    safety concerns, and disrupted infrastructure hinder traditional teaching. All while trying to be safe in bomb shelters, safe rooms in homes, or internal staircases and basements.
  3. Technology empowers students in war zones to overcome obstacles. With

    online platforms and video conferencing, teachers can connect with students, deliver lessons, and provide support. But who does it help, the parents, students, teachers or the school?
  4. • Spouse(s), children, called up • Kids not in school/pick

    up/drop off kids • Still have their day job • Maybe has a baby, pets • Short on money, may need IT equipment • Home Tech Support • Reduced sleep/energy • Household Chores • Food Provider • Less bandwidth available with kids home • Air Raid Sirens (run to shelter) • ZERO Downtime Photo and message courtesy of my friend, who gave me her permission to use it Parents - Issues
  5. • Look for help from friends, parents, or grandparents and

    local organizations • Kids may be in school 1-3 days a week, or not, work with them when at home • Flexible work schedules, plan your day differently than in the past • Baby goes everywhere you go now • Try to buy what you need, borrow from work or friends • Ask tech friends for help • Try to power nap, but caffeine is likely • Have your kids take care of the pets, or expect them to stay closer to you • Order food if you can. Some people are helping prepare meals, ask around • Use your cell phone data. At least your kids won’t take your bandwidth • Take time when you can. No one knows when the next siren will sound • Make plans with friends, walk a dog, do small things for yourself Parents – Ideas to Help
  6. Parents – Helping Education Help your kids stay calm, by

    staying calm yourself. Kids, like animals, can sense fear in you. Don’t demand your kids do all their Zoom’s. You don’t want to do all yours either. Your kids, and spouse, need you more than ever. Be there, as best you can. Contact the school and let them know how your child is doing. The school needs your feedback. Homeschooling isn’t for everyone. You will know after this if it is for you or not. Your kids learn from you. Give them reasons for everything, not just “Because I said so.” Accept that your child may have a gap in their knowledge because of the situation. Try to help them overcome it later in life. 9/11, Economic Downturns, Covid-19, War, what is next? No one knows, but your kids need to know they will get through it as well. Seek professional help for yourself and your kids if you need it.
  7. • Spouse or children called up • Their kids may

    be at home or need drop off/pick up from their school • The teaching schedule is in complete chaos due to mixed signals from the school and government • Exam schedules are a mess • Maybe has a baby, pets • May need other equipment • Lacks online teaching/tech skills • Reduced sleep/energy • Household Chores • Food Provider • Less bandwidth to use since kids are home • Air Raid Sirens (run to shelter) • ZERO Downtime • Stress and Secondary Trauma Photo https://pixabay.com/illustrations/student-laptop-stressed-avatar-5752322/ Teachers - Issues
  8. • Look for help from friends, parents, or grandparents and

    local organizations • Need to make separate quiet space for when teaching • Daily announcements sometimes conflict, let students know your plans as best you can • Planning your classes and tests becomes secondary because you can’t plan for rockets • Baby may end up on Zoom because you can’t leave them anywhere • Borrow what you need from friends if you can’t buy it • Covid started online, but not all teachers or schools reacted well, and education is needed • Caffeine probably is your best choice to get through class • Pets may stay near you more, try to get your kids to help with them • Schedule chores around teaching, but leave yourself time to relax • Takeout and food deliveries may be an option. Ask if any local help might be available • When teaching, if you need it, boot the kids off the wifi, but yes, then they are not in school too • Grab time when you can, you have no idea when the next siren sounds • Worrying about your students and what they are going through on top of your own is normal, it is important to converse with the students and their parents • Give assignments in advance so there is no need to just be on Zoom needlessly Teachers – Ideas to Help
  9. Teachers – Helping Education Stop yelling at the students. They

    have enough issues without feeling you hate them too. Zoom teaching is not about sitting down. Get out of your chair and be interactive. Instead of long Zooms, record your lessons in shorter videos. Let the students watch them on their own schedule. Contact the parents and let them how their child is doing. Parents need feedback too. You may find teaching is no longer for you. This may happen, it doesn’t make you a bad person. Some kids will struggle with focus, accept it. Others may dig in to learning, work with both. You may get behind in the curriculum, and so has everyone else. Hopefully, the testing authority will take this into account. 9/11, Economic Downturns, Covid-19, War, what is next? Always plan for the next problem, you never know when it will appear. Seek professional help for yourself and your students when needed.
  10. • Communication is not great at the best of times

    • Air Raid Sirens / Location may be under attack, delaying decisions about the situation • Sets parameters that don’t work for everyone • Some areas of schools are closed as people evacuated, others are over capacity • Don’t presume your teachers say what you tell them or what they tell the students • Limited Equipment to provide • Lack of Advanced Education / Training • Tech Support for “official” apps • Funding is diverted, when they need it most • Explain decisions to the students, don’t just tell them what the decision is School / Government - Issues
  11. • WhatsApp became the default to students, but emails to

    parents should be sent too, especially for younger students • Older administrators have a more challenging time dealing with the situation as they are not technically savvy. They should have someone more technologically capable on hand to advise on options and communications • Updates need to be monitored, and update parents and students as soon as it makes sense to provide your decisions • Recognize the different locations of students, teachers, and their schools when making decisions about what rules should be in place in different areas • Allow the school some choices of how to carry on with their classes, aside from any closings or emergencies • If you don’t explain to the teachers what you want them to do, they may not match the message you are sending home • Provide logins, software options, and tech support if you are relying on any applications • Give teachers lessons on how to present, do video editing, or any training to help them • Military budgets grab everything they can during wartime, start saving for those times School / Government – Ideas to Help
  12. School / Government – Helping Education School: Start acting like

    a real business. Leverage scheduling software so your plans make sense. Government: Teachers, students, and schools may live in different places under different guidelines. Try to make some logic. School: Having classes at school, then expecting Zoom classes at home later that day is not going to work, ever. Government: If your schools do not have bomb shelters large enough for all of the students, this is YOUR fault not the students. School: Stop changing your mind daily/weekly about everything. Have a plan and stick to it until this is over. Government: We know you lost your funding to the war effort. Now explain what you were going to do with that money in the first place. School: You want testing to continue? For what purpose? Do you think the kids can focus properly? We know you can’t, and you are adults. 9/11, Economic Downturns, Covid-19, War, what is next? Who knows, but we know you don’t have ANY DEFINED PLANS in place. Seek proper professional help for your teachers, staff, and students because they will not do it on their own. Many of them need it.
  13. • Limited Equipment • Tired / Restless • Bus, carpool,

    no school, yes school, Zoom, No Zoom • Physical Space may be an issue • Air Raid Sirens • Limited outside activity • Timing of everything and anything is a problem • Hungry / Hangry • Worried about their family, friends, teachers • Homework? Not happening • Introverts vs Extroverts • Exasperation over decisions which are made for them rather than discussed • Annual exams may not be adjusted properly Photo https://pixabay.com/illustrations/vulnerable-childhood-feelings-fears-445382/ Students - Issues
  14. • Covid equipment bought previously may be okay, but they

    may need more if the next child is in school • Relaxation techniques better than comfort food options, but the latter is more likely • Try to maintain some schedule, so they have something to latch on to for now • The times of school classes may need to be adjusted for everyone • Their bed may be their desk • They should be encouraged to send messages or draw pictures for their parents and families • When practical, they should be encouraged to go outside and do some projects • Reading is advised, but homework is not going to get done usually • Some need to see people and some don’t. Encourage them to get together when possible or do whatever they need to do for themselves • Air Raid Sirens may still come at any time • Not to force them to do things that they are not comfortable with Students – Ideas to Help
  15. Students – Helping Education They need down time, not more

    Zoom time. They also need to get out of the house, if possible. Encourage them to start or continue a hobby. They need to think about something else for a while. Let the students create their own support groups. Kids understand other kids better than adults. Let the students lead or help with some classwork. The sense of purpose and leadership is what some of them need now. Send messages to their parents, siblings, teachers, or friends in the army. It helps everyone cope better with the situation. Be respectful to your school and teachers. They are in worse situations than you are in many ways. Accept that you may have a gap in your knowledge because of this situation. It does not define you and you can make it up later. 9/11, Economic Downturns, Covid-19, War, what is next? No one knows, but you will have other events happen and will learn from this one. Seek professional help for yourself if you feel suicidal or the world is collapsing around you.
  16. Amidst the chaos, education is a lifeline to students in

    war zones. Technology, innovation, and the dedication of teachers and organizations are not enough, but they do all they can in adverse circumstances. Let us continue to support and empower these resilient learners on their journey to a better and more peaceful future.