Tag: Digital Learning

Oct 7

Working to Bridge the Digital Divide for Our Students

The lack of access to digital and technology resources is not a new phenomenon facing school-aged children of color and children experiencing poverty. A recent study found that, nationally, around 17% of children are unable to complete their homework due to limited internet access. This “digital divide” and resulting “homework gap” mirrors trends in California, where about 1 in 6 school-aged children lack access to the internet at home. These numbers grow for the state’s most vulnerable children: students of color, low-income students, English Learnersstudents with disabilities, and homeless youth.  

The Education Trust West

The data is stark when it comes to the digital divide for our students, as these recent headlines illustrate:

This week is Digital Inclusion Week. Digital Inclusion Week is an online event held October 5-9, 2020 to raise awareness of solutions addressing home internet access, personal devices, and local technology training and support programs. Visit the official website to learn more and get involved. To celebrate this event we are spotlighting some of our recent efforts and partnerships as we work to bridge the digital divide for our students as part of our digital learning initiative.

Online Tutoring for All Students

In 2014, School on Wheels established its online tutoring program as a response to reach students that were geographically difficult to reach in Southern California. Our online tutoring program provides a live online classroom in which students and tutors interact synchronously through audio, video, and a shared whiteboard. From 2014 to 2020, School on Wheels has served close to 2,000 students in hard-to-reach areas such as Apple Valley, Lancaster, and San Diego with the help of hundreds of online tutors from 26 states across the country. We would not have been able to serve many of these students through our in-person tutoring programs.

Prior to the onset of COVID-19 in March of 2020, School on Wheels provided 90% in-person tutoring and 10% online tutoring. As a response to the circumstances surrounding the pandemic, we have transitioned 100% of our tutoring online, and we have reached almost 900 students since March. While BigBlueButton is our main online tutoring software, students without robust internet and/or technology utilize other tools such as FaceTime and Google Duo to connect with their tutors. School on Wheels students and tutors are meeting exclusively online for the foreseeable future.

Summer Rewards Program

Our Summer Rewards Program was a massive hit! Any student who completed at least 5 full tutoring sessions between July 1st and August 17th qualified for a free device. Most qualifying K-3 students received Amazon Kindles or Amazon Fires (Kids Edition), students in grades 4-8 received Android tablets, and students in grades 9-12 received Chromebooks. 303 students qualified, participating in 2,878 hours of tutoring over the summer (thanks to the help and support of our amazing volunteer tutors)!

Technology access is crucial to students’ success during this time and we are so thankful to be able to provide devices that our students can keep and utilize to attend school and engage in learning.

Bel Air Internet Partnership

School on Wheels and Bel Air Internet are working together to bridge the digital divide and provide free high-speed Internet access for children experiencing homelessness in Southern California. Since January of 2019, BAI has provided its services to 6 of our sites. As a result, over 400 of our students have regular access to the Internet that they would otherwise not have. 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Bel Air Internet has installed high-speed internet/WiFi at 3 of our sites (with others in the works): Orange County Rescue Mission (Village of Hope) in Tustin, Motorcycle Riders in South Los Angeles, and HomeAid Family Care Center in Orange.

We are incredibly lucky to have such a great partner who helps us grow our impact and provide learning opportunities to more students.

Technology Donors

We have been able to purchase many tablets, Chromebooks, and other necessary hardware for our students with donated funds. In addition, we have had many generous technology donors, including Microsoft, AT&T, T2 Tech Group, and PBSSoCal.

Feb 25

The School on Wheels Podcast Presents: Digital Learning with Ian Chan and Emma Gerch

In the second episode of our new podcast, Katie Brennecke interviews two members of our programs team about digital learning, digital literacy, and technology at School on Wheels. Ian Chan, Program Administrator and original digital learning champion, discusses our students’ access to digital learning has developed over time. Emma Gerch, Online Tutoring Coordinator, walks Katie through online tutoring, virtual field trips, and the newly developed digital literacy program.

If you want to learn more about the various digital learning programs available to you and your student, please visit our our tutor resources page. While you’re there, you can also find more information about our digital literacy program and watch Emma’s webinar.


Music:
Antidepresseur by [friendzoned] | https://soundcloud.com/friendzonedbeats
Music promoted by https://www.free-stock-music.com
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en_US

The River by Rolemusic | http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Rolemusic
Copyright: Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 
United States: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/

Feb 28

2019 Digital Learning Day


In 2018, our students accessed over 38,000 hours of digital learning! This year, to celebrate #DLDay2019, our Skid Row Learning Center participated in Hour of Code – a fun and interactive hour of computer science. Younger students got a visit from the PBS SoCal Kids Mobile Learning Lab and participated in developing their STEM skills through games and engaging hands-on activities.

Make a difference this Digital Learning Day! With your support, we can provide digital devices for our students, online tutoring support, digital after-school programs, wifi and hotspots for learning on the go! Visit schoolonwheels.org/digital to donate!

Feb 22

Kevin Bacon makes a visit to our Skid Row Learning Center

On Friday, February 19 Kevin Bacon, the well-known musician and actor, stopped by our Skid Row Learning Center to hang out with our students, learn about our Digital Learning Program, and answer questions our students had about his life and success. We are inspired by the work he does at SixDegrees.org and hope he can drop by again soon!

Sep 17

Bringing EdTech to Your Tutoring Sessions

(Note: there is an echo for the first few minutes, but the audio is clear following this)

Curious about using technology in your tutoring but aren’t sure where to start? In this workshop, School on Wheels digital learning staff shows you how to integrate technology into your tutoring sessions to enhance your student’s learning experience. First, get started with one of the easiest ways to help your student by using our list of 20+ apps, which target specific skill areas by grade and subject. Next, learn how to use our adaptive learning program to track your student’s progress, find personalized worksheets to use during your tutoring sessions, and improve your student’s academic performance by a whole grade level. Finally, learn about online tutoring and how you can utilize it to connect with your student wherever you are, so that your schedule or location never gets in the way of helping your student.

Digital Learning Program Guide (PDF)

About the Presenters:

Sarah Ikemoto, Digital Learning Center Specialist; Ian Chan, Digital Learning Coordinator; Alisa Lemke, Digital Learning Support; Matt Raab, Program Director

Mar 25

Technology Tips for Tutors

Technology is a buzzword in education, more so than ever before. Is it all just hype? How can it work along with traditional tutoring without replacing one-on-one attention? At School on Wheels, we have a plan to improve outcomes for homeless students in our program through the use of technology and blended learning. Learn about digital learning tools that can help you as a tutor to enhance and improve instruction for your student.

In this online workshop, we discuss new tools available to you such as assessments to identify gaps in learning, individualized lessons that give practice in these area, and access to more engaging activities.

View/Download Slideshow of the Workshop (PDF)

View our Digital Learning Resources

About the Hosts:

Natasha Bayus is the Education and Training Coordinator for School on Wheels and has been with the organization since 2007. She currently supervises the AmeriCorps VISTA project that is working towards enhancing the program at School on Wheels through technology and digital learning.

Matt Raab is a former elementary school teacher who has worked for School on Wheels in many different capacities for the past nine years. As Program Director, he develops and oversees the infrastructure of the program and supports team members in doing outreach to families, partner organizations and donors in the community.

Ryan Locante has been with School on Wheels since 2009. As Operations Coordinator, Ryan is responsible for all operations functions, including utilization of technology in our program.

Beth Romero spent 9 years in the elementary classroom and conducted an action research study entitled Using Computers at the Skid Row Learning Center for her recently received MAED, Curriculum & Instruction.