Online camps, added choice key to slowing summer slide amid coronavirus

Dive Brief:

  • As social distancing rules continue and most camps and pools are closed, students are starting their summers indoors and online. Interactive, live esports games and tools can help students make social connections with peers while providing an educational boost, too, according to two University of California, Irvine professors interviewed by District Administration.
  • Online esports camps have instructors and high school volunteers who guide students through the games. They can also help quell parents’ concerns about their children, especially those in younger grades, being in a multiplayer digital space.
  • Children mostly direct their own learning — by building in Minecraft, for example — as they learn about subjects from astronomy and business to coding and engineering.

Dive Insight:

Summer slide, even before COVID-19, is a genuine concern educators face every year. With students at home for the past few months learning remotely, finding ways to engage them this summer may be even more challenging.

One way is to allow students to select their own summer projects, including options that dovetail with their interests and can help boost their engagement and motivation to learn, notes a 2016 study from the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education.

Some students may choose to write a paper or produce a portfolio or poster that showcases research they’ve focused on during the summer months. Minecraft, as the District Administration article notes, can also be adopted as a learning tool, allowing students to collaborate with each other inside the digital space on academic assignments in subjects such as U.S. history.

Students shouldn’t need to spend money in order to complete the projects — a factor that, in the current economic environment, may be an additional stressor for families. And administrators can help make sure teachers have adequate resources, especially time to prepare, follow and support students.

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