Our Kids
Glen Herbert - Editor

Glen Herbert
Editor/Writer, Our Kids Media

June, 2020

As you are (perhaps painfully) aware, things have changed. Some of the changes will be major and lasting, though often it’s the smaller ones that really shed light on what we’re facing. I heard this week, for example, that my gym won’t be opening in the same location after the shutdown. The news struck me because for weeks I’ve been saying to myself and others that, yes, “things will get back to normal. Before we know it we’ll be back together at the gym again.” Except that, now, we won’t. It will be the same people, and that’s the most important thing, but at least superficially—since it will open in a different location—there really is no going back.

That’s what we’re going to be experiencing in the private school market as well. Some things will be different forever, though, while there are things we’ll certainly miss, there is also a considerable silver lining. My gym is a good example of that, too. It turns out that, while it won’t be in the same space, it will actually be in a better one. The new space will be closer to the downtown core in Burlington, where I live, meaning a shorter walk, more foot traffic, and more coffee shops to meet in after group classes. (We’ll do that, right? Meet in coffee shops again?)

So too in the private school setting. Connections between families and schools will take other forms, from online conferences and workshops to online expos and virtual tours. (An intriguing early example is Microsoft’s decision to move their ConnectED events online. More on that below.) Families have had to learn to use online tools due to the pandemic, and there’s no indication they will abandon those tools when we’re all meeting in person again.

We can work with that, and at the end of all this, there will be more options for you to reach more people more often. We’ve also been developing tools that will add interactivity to your profile. These have been in development for some time, though are particularly apropos to the current context. User accounts will allow families to search more deliberatively online, also allowing you to capture some key insights as well as contacts. We’ll provide a means for schools to share virtual open house events and to broadcast them to our readership. Videos will add a personal, human dimension to the profile and site content.

So, yes, things are different. They’re different for you, and they’re different for families, too. While there are negatives—it’s sad to think we won’t be hugging again anytime soon—there are some very considerable positives, ones that will allow you to reach more families, more frequently, in more substantive ways. Through the growth of online tools, and a greater facility on the part of users—we’re all Zoomers now—we’ll be able to allow more active, more deliberative online experience. And that’s good for everyone.

For more ...

  • Microsoft Canada is hosting the ConnectEd Virtual Conference for Canadian educators, leaders, and IT Professionals. You are invited to spend a day on June 29th, 2020 engaged with more than 4500 educators, school leaders, and an impressive roster of presenters around a range of education topics. Speakers include Marc Brackett, Director, Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence; Kate Griggs, Founder, Made by Dyslexia; Craig Kielburger, Co-Founder, WE. You can find the full agenda for the day here. There is no cost to participate. To learn more and to register, visit aka.ms/ConnectEd

  • Continue to build your remote offering. Summer School is a free, self-paced professional development program focused on helping educators and school leaders across Canada further develop their digital literacy skills and build a strong understanding of how technology can complement teaching and learning when working remotely. The program also includes digital workshops where educators can participate in an online learning day, access valuable tools and resources for your classroom, and connect with other educators across the country. Virtual live sessions will run all summer long. To learn more and to register, visit aka.ms/SummerSchool2020

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