One-on-one connections to better distance education

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports…

Three weeks into distance learning, Lisa Terrell worried that her first-grade daughter Iris might not be able to stick it out in the Spanish immersion program at Minnetonka Public Schools.

Iris needed casual Spanish conversation, her mother said, and it wasn’t happening in this new online world. Then, more one-on-one reading sessions opened up, and Iris was back on track.

“It was a game changer,” Terrell said.

The key, as it turned out, was that personal connection — even when accomplished virtually. A Star Tribune survey of parents shows that the more frequent the live video sessions between staff and students, the greater their satisfaction with their children’s learning.

Nearly 3 in 4 parents whose children had daily live conferencing rated their experience with distance learning as a 4 or a 5 on a 1-to-5 scale, according to the survey that ran in April and drew more than 500 responses.

Other stats of note…

Only one-quarter of parents, for example, reported that video conferencing was occurring on a daily basis.


Minneapolis Public Schools reported on April 10 that about 30% of its 33,838 students were not engaged in distance learning that day, with about 4,200 awaiting delivery of devices or learning materials.

Because I was a teacher, because I am a parent I think about this a lot. Kids need broadband and devices and the that’s mentioned in this article…

Gov. Tim Walz acknowledged recently that the state needed to do more to ease the inequities that come with online learning, among them a lack of broadband access in rural areas and student access to digital devices.

But teachers the time to learn to use the new tools. Talking about it with my daughter in high school she misses class participation and can’t stand the busywork. For better or for worse, they have the summer to work on it.

This entry was posted in Digital Divide, education, MN, Policy and tagged by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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