The Minnesota State Fair Board has made the decision to cancel the 2020 State Fair due to concerns regarding the COVID-19 virus. This forces the cancellation of the annual STEM Day at the Fair. We hope to be back in our usual places on opening day of the 2021 Great Minnesota Get Together.
The transition to distance learning for Minnesota schools opens a whole new set of opportunities and challenges for teachers and support staff. Parents who are home are looking for resources, teachers will be trying approaches, seeing what works, what doesn’t, and then looking for more resources.
The Minnesota Department of Education is providing resources across academic areas for implementing the states academic standards.
The Southeast Service Cooperative in Rochester has developed an extensive Distance Learning Resource Repository. The repository has links to online museums with robust digital learning resources such as the Smithsonian; Chicago Field Museum as well as National Park virtual tours; online museum collections, exhibits; and a long list of STEM specific resources.
The MDE requirement that this new area of distance learning requires that teaching be equitable for all students including those with special needs such as those requiring special education services, English Language Learners, and those with limited or no access to internet services at home. The PEW Charitable Trust raises concerns and reviews some of the federal Department of Education guidance. : Switch to Remote Learning Could Leave Students with Disabilities Behind.
Students without access to high speed internet make up 14% of the population according to recent federal statistics. Reaching those students presents a different set of challenges. Many districts have been reaching out to families and even providing school purchased devices. KQED, the San Francisco National Public Radio affiliate has provided 14 Tips for Helping Students with Limited Internet Have Distance Learning.