The Canadian government ramps up online learning as schools remain closed
As the March break came to end, students across Ontario experienced structured online learning for the first time last week. Canadian Premier Doug Ford and Education Minister Stephen Lecce made an announcement that schools would remain closed in Ontario until at least the 4th May as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the press conference they announced details of the online learning plan, which includes distributing devices to families and a partnership with telecommunication companies. It also recommends that students in Kindergarten – Grade 6 spend 5 hours learning per week, whereas students in Grades 7 and 8 should spend 10 hours studying per week. Younger learners will be advised to watch free educational programmes which will be broadcast on a daily basis via Television Ontario.
A platform for secondary students has also been developed in collaboration with teachers in Ontario, which contains links to various courses: https://lah.elearningontario.ca/
Post-secondary students will be able to access resources through the eCampusOntario platform and the government is aiming to also use this portal to offer end of year assessments.
“ We’re embracing all forms of student-teacher connectivity based on the student’s access to technology, meaning one way or another, by printed materials or tablet, every child should and will be able to continue learning through the curriculum supported by their teacher. ” Stephen Lecce, Education Minister
In the time that schools have been closed, Khan Academy has reported a 322% increase in Canadians using its platform. This figure surpasses the growth rates witnessed in other countries. During an interview, Sal Khan also commented that he is willing to work with the Canadian Government to develop specific solutions.
Many other leading organisations are also providing free resources to help parents at home. For instance, The National Film Board of Canada has offered free access to its repository of online learning videos: https://www.nfb.ca/education/