Distance Learning during COVID-19

While much of the world is on quarantine, all educators’ eyes have shifted to distance learning. We want to continue teaching our students. We want to make sure our students and their families are okay. Distance learning gives us the opportunity to do both.

There are hundreds of companies at this point offering services for free in order to keep children learning and entertained while at home for an extended period. Many have a caveat, however: they require a classroom teacher to sign up for a service and provide an access code to the parents. This is doable, but it’s a huge undertaking. So how can we choose the best services for our students?

Video Distance Learning

In this category, there seem to be two main options that stand out among the rest. Zoom (website: zoom.us) seems to be far and away the most popular distance learning platform being used right now. This is one of the companies that are catering to teachers and students right now. With a free plan, they have removed the time limits usually in place for video meetings, allowing video sessions at no cost. If you want a tutorial for setting up and using Zoom for distance learning, visit my tutorial Using Zoom for Distance Learning!

The second-place platform is Google Meet and Google Hangout, and I’ve heard mixed reviews about this platform. Educators that I’ve spoken with have preferred Zoom over the Google applications for various reasons. However, this is still a free option that can do the job when it comes to distance learning.

The benefit of both platforms is that you can participate via computer, tablet or phone. This opens doors for families that may not have a computer or tablet but are able to use their cell phones. Because of its nature, video distance learning is easily implemented into any grade level, subject area, and content area from K-12.

Google Classroom

As a kindergarten teacher, I am still wrapping my brain around how I can use this resource with my kiddos. Most of my kiddos are not computer-savvy. Some are still beginning- or pre- readers, making it difficult for me to utilize this to its full potential. However, I am determined to find a way and I will update when I do!

Other grade levels 1-12, however, can utilize this platform to create and assign work easily and interact, comment, and communicate with students as they work. I used Google Classroom a few years ago when I taught fourth grade, and it was so interactive in the fact that I could literally watch students working and comment in real time. This was a great instructional tool and would be great for distance learning.


I think this is a little overlooked at this point because it seems basic-and it is. But over the past week I have emailed many, many work packets that parents are willing to print on their own and have their children work on, which is more ideal at the kindergarten level. Innovation is awesome, but some basics are effective as well.

Not only have I sent printable work, but I’ve also clarified standards, sent main objectives, and reassured parents and families that are trying to help their children continue learning. The power in a simple email is distance learning as well.

Resources for Distance Learning

This is a list of some of the resources you can share directly with families. I compiled this list using my own criteria. It had to be useful, require minimal account setup, and be appealing in content. Click each title below to go directly to the resource! In no particular order:

  • Vooks: this platform runs animated storybooks online. The pages of a story literally come to life! Parents can sign up on their own, and the first month is free.
  • Scholastic Learn at Home: Scholastic has provided four weeks of day-by-day lesson plans, stories, and related activities in writing and math to keep kids learning. The whole program is created specifically for distance learning. It’s organized by grade level, and parents can access it for free.
  • edHelper: Offering free daily worksheets and challenges for students by grade level. No account required.
  • Zoos and Museums: This link to a people.com article provides links to 48 free virtual trips to museums, aquariums, and zoos around the world!

I hope this list has given you some inspiration for guiding your students’ instruction and creating some learning for them. Be safe and stay healthy, friends!

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  1. Great resources, thanks for sharing, fellow educator. We use MSTeams for our school/ district & have used Zoom for social meetings with friends. Yes people need to be made aware of tons of free online resources for kids of all ages.

  2. Great resources and suggestions! I love the museums and zoos and aquariums, even for myself! This way I can see all of the cool things that I might not be able to travel to even after all of this. Thank you!

  3. Thanks for these! Our district has their lessons on Canvas (since they already used it for the upper grades) but I’ll be checking out the Scholastic lessons and the museums we can “visit” too.

  4. I was using Zoom when my brother said not safe to do. But so many people use it so I don’t really believe him but now I am going to have to investigate. So far I love zoom and every group meeting I am apart of uses it.

  5. My kiddos are homeschooled and have been using Schoology throughout the year. Now that we are home full-time, it’s a blessing that they learned this early on. And I was grateful for the opportunity for them to use Zoom to meet with their tutorial teachers and fellow students. Great blog post. Thank you.

  6. It has sure been a learning curve in my home. I thing we are finally getting into the swing of things. I have one college student and two in middle school so fortunately they are pretty good with the technical end.

  7. Thanks for the great resources. If these school closings had to happen, at least we have the technology options to make distance learning possible. Kudos to all the teachers who are doing all they can to keep their students engaged in learning.

  8. Both of my children are using two different platforms so it has been a learning curve for parents too! And my kids are so excited for their Zoom meetings when they get to see their friends and have a chance to talk with them.

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