This up-coming report details the results of the fourteenth annual State of the Nation: K-12 e-Learning in Canada study.  Since 2018 this report has simply described the changes that have occurred in relation to e-learning governance and activity over the past year. The standard jurisdictional profiles (i.e., the annual update of activity and nature of governance for each province and territory, as well as for Indigenous programs under federal jurisdiction) have continued to be released in full on the State of the Nation: K-12 e-Learning in Canada website, which can be accessed at:

https://k12sotn.ca/

The 2020 State of the Nation: K-12 e-Learning in Canada report began with a caution for readers related to COVID-19 and the differences between K-12 distance and online learning and the pandemic-induced remote learning. At the time, we stated that:

…no accounting of the past school year would be complete without some comment on the global pandemic that was declared by the World Health Organization on 11 March 2020. Within days jurisdictions all around the world began to close schools, and Canada was no different. The annual State of the Nation: K-12 e-Learning in Canada study is designed to examine K-12 distance, online, and blended learning. Distance, online, and blended learning requires purposeful instructional planning, using a systematic model of administrative procedures, and course development.  It also requires the careful consideration of various pedagogical strategies. These pedagogical considerations are used to determine which are best suited to the specific affordances and challenges of delivery mediums and the purposeful selection of tools based on the strengths and limitations of each one. Finally, careful planning requires that teachers be appropriately trained to be able to support the tools that are being used, and for teachers to be able to effectively use those tools to help facilitate student learning.

However, as Hodges et al. (2020) argued, “‘emergency remote teaching’ has emerged as a common alternative term used by online education researchers and professional practitioners to draw a clear contrast with what many of us know as high-quality online education” (para. 6). Hodges and his colleagues described [remote learning] as:

a temporary shift of instructional delivery to an alternate delivery mode due to crisis circumstances. It involves the use of fully remote teaching solutions for instruction or education that would otherwise be delivered face-to-face or as blended or hybrid courses and that will return to that format once the crisis or emergency has abated. The primary objective in these circumstances is not to re-create a robust educational ecosystem but rather to provide temporary access to instruction and instructional supports in a manner that is quick to set up and is reliably available during an emergency or crisis. (para. 13)

As [remote learning] is temporary in nature, it is generally beyond the confines of an annual study focused on planned distance, online, and blended learning.[1] But we would be remiss if it was excluded altogether.

Everything that we wrote last year is still applicable. While not as drastic as what occurred in Spring 2020, the 2020-21 school year was still impacted by the on-going pandemic. In some cases this impact involved school closures and the need to revert to some form of hybrid and/or remote learning. However, in other cases it meant an increase in the number of K-12 e-learning programs that were available and/or the level of participation in those programs. While we provide a brief summary of the remote learning that occurred during the 2020-21 school year, a more detailed discussion of this pandemic pedagogy can be found at Canadian eLearning Network’s “Remote Learning Research Project.” [2]

Finally, it is important to remind the reader that historically this report has been prepared throughout the fall following the school year that is being examined. For example, as this report is examining the 2020-21 school year, during normal times the report would be written in September, October, and – sometimes – November. During these normal time periods the report would be published before the end of the calendar year (i.e., the report for the 2020-21 school year would be published before the end of 2021). However, the past two years have not been normal times. Both the 2020 report covering the 2019-20 school year and this 2021 report covering the 2020-21 school year have bene delayed well into the next calendar year. It is hoped that as we shift our focus to the next report we will be able to return to this publishing cycle.

 


[1] The State of the Nation: K-12 e-Learning in Canada special report entitled Understanding Pandemic Pedagogy: Differences Between Emergency Remote, Remote, and Online Teaching examined the differences between online learning, remote learning, and emergency remote teaching from a K-12 perspective (see Barbour et al., 2020).

[2] For additional information visit https://canelearn.net/home/research/ or https://sites.google.com/view/canelearn-ert/research-background

Introducing the 14th Annual State of the Nation: K-12 e-Learning in Canada

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