This is Poetry – ACE was an Original Distance Learning Provider and Now It’s What All Students are Doing
By Riley, ACE Poetry Contest Mascot, assisted by Martha Sessums, ACE President, because Riley won’t wash his paws as often as he should and tries to use her keyboard
I’ve been talking to Martha and she says that distance learning is what ACE did originally when they started 50-plus years ago. Classes from Bay Area schools and universities were delivered using closed circuit TV (like a show just for subscribers) at special locations. These locations were at a workplace so adult students could continue their education by watching classes on a TV and not having to physically be in a classroom.
Surprising, isn’t it? Kinda like what we are all doing today for learning. But now we use digital devices for learning anywhere. My friend John says that’s a cool evolution as Alpha was one of the first schools using technology to assist learning. I like to say that’s sorta like chasing my tail in a circle – what goes around comes around.
Distance learning is kinda poetic too because the definition of poetic is to make readers feel something. While a poem is different than prose (you know, regular writing like this blog) because the normal rules of writing don’t apply, something can be poetic if it makes you feel something. The fact that distance learning moved online all over the world means that learning in front of a screen works – but sometimes in ways we didn’t think it would.
For example, Renée White-Francis, a teacher at Oxford Day Academy, was anxious about how an online class would go. She discovered there was a new dynamic to her classes.
“Students seemed to be listening and more readily . . . share their ideas,” she said. “There were more voices and some great questions and dialogue happening.”
Plus, search engines like Google helped students provide answers. Search works in distance learning situations to aid participation, and White-Francis is now looking for ways to embed research as a daily practice in her class. (For me, search means looking for my pal Lucy cause I know I’ll get pets from her.) All this new learning and teaching style can drive feelings.
“Research would help (students) develop their research skills as well as accumulate more knowledge they can then use to evaluate and analyze course content, and then better engage with the course content,” she said. “I’m pretty excited that online learning is already making me think about my classroom practices as I’m already thinking about how to make next school year better.”
The ACE Learning Center schools are working hard to meet the new challenges. Oakland International High School, through its Emergency Fund for Newcomer Families, is raising funds for students, including access to internet services. San Francisco International High School is not only a Free Grab and Go Meal site for the community but is working to get internet access to its students using hotspots. Oxford Day Center has provided great curriculum for their students that was created to meet the challenge of online learning that was new to everyone. Alpha Public Schools offers a Free Grab and Go Meal site at José Hernández Middle School in San Jose along with free Xfinity Wi-Fi for everyone, or a hotspot if needed.
In this tough time, we’re all connected to help each other get through this. I didn’t even mind being catbombed the other day. I like cats, although they don’t follow directions very well. (Hmmm. I don’t either sometimes.)
But I did mind being poembombed by the Poetry Cats so I’m catching up. Here’s my first poem for National Poetry Month.
The New Connected
New connected is more than a hotpot
that lets you logon to online classes.
It’s schools reaching out to teachers
to give them the tools to teach.
It’s teachers reaching out to students
and students reaching back.
It’s lessons that reflect the new
virtual norm of screens
It’s staying focused on the screen
‘cause that’s the now way we learn.
It’s students reaching out to fellow students
and their school to stay in touch.
‘Cause staying in touch is the only way
we’ll get through this new norm.
Everyone – continue to reach out and help each other. And treat yourself to a poem.