Equity and Online Learning: two quick tips

underlying principles Oct 07, 2020

Asset-based instruction and ensuring equal access for all students are cornerstones of the OCDE Project GLAD® model.  

In order to create an inclusive environment with equal access, the teacher has to consider: 

  • Logistics - where students are seated and who they're grouped with
  • Relationship building - student to student, teacher to student, and with families
  • Pedagogical considerations - using best practices to make content accessible for your grade level. 

During online learning, technological access creates an added challenge to equity.  

Districts are already struggling with hardware and internet access for all students and staff. But that's not all. The very practice of a video conference in a synchronous digital classroom is creating issues of inequity. Now that the classroom is being brought into the home, our homes and the homes of our students are front and center and all of the inequalities can be visually witnessed by all.  

How can teachers engage students in a video classroom while preserving their students’ privacy? 

A small adjustment can make a big difference. One way to preserve students' privacy as well as minimize distractions, is to guide students how to set up the video class meeting in speaker view with a side-by-side view option. We want students focused on us and the view of our instruction, rather than becoming distracted by the other 25 faces of their classmates and whatever is going on in their homes in the background. 

Amidst the various platforms districts use, Zoom continues to be a popular option. For this example in Zoom, the teachers directs students to go to the top of their screen and click on "view options". Then select "side-by-side view".  Now when students are in "speaker view" only the teacher next to the instruction will be visible. 


Another way teachers are ensuring students’ privacy when students are learning at home is directing them to use a virtual background. This hides students’ homes from view. Some districts or schools are even creating virtual backgrounds for the students to use that includes branding with the school’s name, colors, or mascot.

Equity is always something that should be in the forefront of our minds when planning instruction and learning environments, but it doesn’t have to be time consuming or difficult. 

As we continue to teach remotely and grow closer to the time when we’ll see our students in person, we are eternally your biggest advocates! 


Jody and Sara

Next Steps with OCDE Project GLAD® 


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