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COVID Blog #2: COVID is Disrupting Education - These Digital Resources Can Help

On March 11, 2020 the designation of the novel coronavirus changed to a pandemic. The aftermath caused educational institutions across the globe from primary schools to universities to shut down and slow the spread. For many, continuing their education during this time of global uncertainty can be a positive way to balance the stress.

Millions of students young and old have experienced the disruption of their education. At the same time virtual digital solutions have emerged as powerful educational resources for this chaotic time. A slow shift to online learning has been occurring over the past decade with many programs utilizing virtual conferencing and remote collaboration. Resources are available to anyone, classes can be taken from anywhere, and the flexibility to learn on demand to fit your schedule is a convenient reality.

Coursera and Khan Academy, both online educational resources have been quick to adapt their content to address the current crisis. Coursera is launching a global effort to assist universities and colleges to deliver courseware online. From preschool through grade 12, Khan Academy is supporting teachers and parents with template schedules to modify and meet the needs of children, classrooms or districts.
JSTOR collaborates with the academic community to help libraries connect students and faculty to vital scholarly content. It offers a powerful research and teaching platform providing free and low-cost access to more than 12 million academic journal articles, books and primary sources in 75 disciplines. During this challenging time, JSTOR and their participating publishers are making an expanded set of content freely available to participating institutions where students have been displaced due to Covid-19.

Everyone can stay engaged with Audible. Audible is making hundreds of adult titles available for free for those at home in isolation. For as long as schools are closed, audible is also offering streaming content to kids everywhere. Stories, including titles across six different languages, will help kids learn, dream and just be kids.

A commitment to support distance learning globally for students and teachers impacted by Covid-19 is also forefront for Autodesk. Schools and individuals are rapidly having to adjust to the new normal of online learning and teaching. Autodesk provides both students and educators free access to their education software. Educators can also access free Autodesk Academy content and curriculum materials.
The Creative Cloud suite of tools from Adobe is available for temporary at-home access until May 31, 2020. Schools and colleges that currently have a license for lab access can enable at-home access by speaking with their educational institution if they are an existing customer of Adobe. Avaya offers a complete cloud solution for communications on their software platform. The company is offering its Avaya Spaces collaboration software for free to educational institutions and nonprofits through August 31, 2020. Check their site for country availability. Their platform offers remote work solutions for all sizes of businesses and educational needs.

Celebrating a large community of creativity is the focus of The Social Distancing Festival During March 2020 and beyond, there are an enormous number of live streams that celebrate art from all over the world. From live music events to the spoken word, this online festival is celebrating artistic achievement from around the globe.
Families can explore the world at their fingertips with these global virtual tours of world museums, educational sites and galleries. Make learning about travel, geography and history exciting by tapping into this resource offered by Family Days Tried and Tested.

The great news is that the list of applications, platforms and resources for both students and educators is bountiful. They all have a strong user base and evidence of positive impact around the globe. To locate a solution that works for you, explore some of these digital learning systems:

  • Blackboard Teaching and Learning solutions brought to life online
  • Century Intelligent Intervention tools offers Math, Science and English resources for free
  • ClassDojo turns remote learning into an online community
  • Moodle makes learning accessible to anyone, anywhere in the world, at any time
  • Google Classroom makes teaching more productive and meaningful by streamlining assignments, boosting collaboration, and fostering communication

NASA also wants your kids to stay excited about science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) even though they're missing out on field trips to local science museum, planetarium and other activities. To that end, they have a currciculum for teachers K-12, visits to the Space Foundation's virtual discovery center which is sharing video lessons and challenges, and a list of 10+ Things To Do with NASA At Home. 

We applaud the great adaption in learning that is occurring in response to the disruption of education and the workplace. Businesses and nonprofits have quickly answered the call for solutions to keep learning going. This round up highlights just a few of the many free solutions to help in the short term. If you know of any others, please let us know in the comments below.

Mar 27, 2020
Category: Thematic Issues
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