Supporting K-12 in the time of COVID-19

COVID-19 coronavirus online learning platform system

As education leaders take unprecedented measures, platforms like Edsby are playing an important role

Since 2010, the Edsby digital learning and data platform has been complementing K-12 classroom education with safe, effective online instruction purpose-built for the unique needs of K-12. Schools and whole regions are relying on it more than ever today. Edsby has tools and resources to support schools transitioning from bricks and mortar to dynamic online learning environments while keeping learners and their families engaged.

Edsby is absolutely mission critical and working very well. We’re now 100% online with near 100% attendance this morning, our first day of all-online classes.
Jon Butcher, Administrative IT Coordinator / St. Andrew’s College

Existing Edsby sites – are you using all this?

If you’re already an Edsby site, are you taking advantage of the following to maximize student online distance learning and parent engagement?

  • Class conversation and activity feed – Every Edsby classroom and group has its own feed for discussions and sharing links. Teachers can use these for regular check ins to help maintain and assess student and parent well being, for sharing PDFs for parents to print out and to stay visible as possible to help maintain community in this extraordinary time. Use Edsby polls to engage with students and parents and learn what they’re thinking and feeling.
  • Realtime video and voice – Edsby integrates with Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Google Hangouts and more. Configure Edsby to use any of these for realtime video and voice conversations inside Edsby classes and/or groups.
  • Content Builder – Teachers can arrange and publish curriculum in each of their classes in a hierarchical lesson plan. This can vary from a few pages added into a usual mix of assignments and lessons to full online learning courses complete with online testing and automated grading.
  • Import of SCORM and ePub online course content – Found online course packages to present to your students? Import course materials into the Edsby Content Builder above from a variety of sources including IMS Common Cartridge, ePub (eBook, digital textbooks, etc.), SCORM and websites. Once imported, content can be copied in part or whole and edited as required by teachers.
  • Journals – Use Journals to share learning goals and supporting materials. Parents who can spend time during the day helping their child with schoolwork will appreciate knowing what learning resources have your stamp of approval. Students can use the information to learn independently. Journals can appear in an Edsby Class on a set date so teachers can work ahead if they wish. Journals are also listed separately within a Class. Students and their parents will learn to check the Journal for information about learning expectations and support materials.
  • Learning Object Repositories – Make it easier for educators at your school, or even across your district, to collaborate on and share best videos, PDFs, images and more. LORs are easily set up in Edsby and are integrated with Edsby search so teachers can quickly find and use the best content other teachers have already found.
  • Online tests – Edsby has powerful online testing. Tests can include multiple choice, true/false, all-that-apply, short answer, paragraph, Likert Scale, and drag-and-drop answers. Online test results go straight into each classes’ Edsby gradebook.
  • Edsby Groups – There’s no better time to use the powerful group system in Edsby for discussions that are important to your classes, schools and districts.
  • Private messages – School closures are increasing stress levels at home. Your students may need to talk to a trusted adult privately. Share information with your students on how to send you a private Edsby message.
  • News – Keep students and parents up-to-date with latest school or district-level happenings via Edsby.
  • Notifications – Remind your students and parents that Edsby has notifications so they don’t miss anything. Many of them don’t know Edsby has notifications and haven’t set them up yet. There are special notification instructions for parents.

Specific suggestions for teachers and online learning

If you’re a teacher, here’s a short checklist of ideas, with screenshots, to help promote student wellbeing with Edsby while students are at home: Suggestions for teachers using Edsby for online learning.

Contact us if you’d like further info or guidance on any of the above.

Protecting people

We want to make sure we do everything we can to protect the health of the people at the learning organizations we serve and our wider industry, as well as our staff and their families. We’ve taken steps to help assure that our customers and the Edsby team continue to operate at peak performance during this crisis:

  • We are providing our training and customer meetings strictly through online webinars until at which time it makes sense to shift back to face-to-face
  • We have cancelled all participation at trade show events and conferences in the next two months as part of our social distancing efforts
  • All Edsby team members have the capacity to work from home should that be required, and most team members are currently doing so in alignment with government recommendations
  • We have cancelled all international business travel, and
  • We are limiting visitors to our office to further reduce potential sources of infection

Protecting Edsby

Edsby is 100% cloud-based and runs on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform. This gives Edsby remarkable security, reliability and scalability. We’ve engineered Edsby to provide excellent performance at all times, and that will continue as customers transition to new models of teacher-student-parent interactions. These shifts may see students doing more and more work remotely via Edsby. The resources that power Edsby can be scaled up in minutes should increases in user load require it, and this will all be managed transparently by us on behalf of our customers.

In these uncertain times, the Edsby team is closely monitoring the availability and responsiveness of our customer Edsby systems. We know your organization may be coming to rely on Edsby more than ever in the coming weeks. We’ll also be prioritizing feature enhancements that enable students, teachers and parents to be even better connected in this new distance model of learning.

Download a K-12 Emergency Readiness Plan

One Edsby site, the American School in Japan, has offered to let other educators see and learn from its plan for extended school closures. Titled the ASIJ Distance Learning Plan, it was readied before the onset of COVID-19 and updated in recent weeks. This 17-page document includes:

  • Procedures to follow in the event of a school closure due to a crisis
  • Distance learning approach
  • Technology systems to be used
  • Guidelines for teachers
  • Guidelines for parents
  • Roles and responsibilities during distance learning
  • Priorities and considerations for early learning, elementary, middle school & high school

Contact us if Edsby can help you further in these challenging times

Thanks for being you, Edsby! You’re making our first day of online learning possible. Not perfect, but possible. The not perfect part isn’t on you: You are working flawlessly! We’re just getting used to a new teaching style.
Bob Gerryts, Director of Technology / Smithville District Christian High School