San Juan Puerto Rico-The pandemic is just one of the challenges facing teachers in Puerto Rico. The island is still grappling with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017, which destroyed most of the electrical system. And in January 2020, Series of earthquakes After the building was damaged, many children in the southern part of the island were unable to attend school Had to close For security reasons.
As a result, this makes distance teaching during the pandemic more challenging, as many students are struggling to find reliable power sources and computer and Internet access.
For Luis A. Martínez Moyet, a math teacher at the Granada Villa High School in San Juan, this means being creative, requiring students to use short courses and resources on websites such as Khan Academy and ThatQuiz.org, and Available at any time.
Martínez Moyet said: “The interesting thing is that seeing the students doing their homework at 11pm, I am ready to take care of them. They call me or write to me on WhatsApp. There is a lot of communication between teachers and students—— Information is flowing.”
in order to Antonio Serra, Teaching visual arts in a school in San Juan, one challenge was to overcome the lack of materials for his art classes.
“The materials they use are because I provided them, or because other students in the past few years have donated and given them away,” he said. “The other materials we use are made from Save art, A non-profit organization in Chicago, sent us materials after the emergency. “
The situation improved in March, when the federal government Released more than 900 million U.S. dollars Among the COVID relief funds restricted by the Trump administration for education. The current Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona (Miguel Cardona) is of Puerto Rican descent and said that assistance is needed to help the island reopen schools.
Starting in July 2020, the Puerto Rico Education Department will distribute computer-connected classrooms and implement the Microsoft Teams system as the official teaching system. However, the digital divide still exists.
Martínez Moyet said: “Even if they have state-paid equipment and free Internet access, they don’t know how to deal with it.” He pointed out that some students are not familiar with how to send emails. “The problem is the technology gap” in terms of skills.
Earlier this month, the Deputy Minister of Education Héctor Joaquín Sánchez stated that there are about 45,000 students — about 25% of the total number of students — Failed at least part of the course. The department is making plans The Acting Minister of Education Eliezer Ramos Parés (Eliezer Ramos Parés) said he is working hard to help students catch up this summer.
Although online education faces challenges, some teachers still see bright spots.
“I like my transformation as a teacher-it is beneficial,” said Martínez Moyet. “The workload of the students is huge. For me, this is a time to overcome.”
Sierra also sees online migration as an opportunity to provide diverse courses. “I see that through virtualization, there are many ways to enrich courses and provide workshops and lectures,” he said. “I even have the opportunity to travel while in class.”
For Antonio Delgado, an instructional designer who has been studying and researching online education in Puerto Rico since the 90s, after experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic, moving on means changing attitudes and attitudes towards technology. Implementation in the island’s educational model.
“We can’t keep thinking about getting back to normal,” Delgado said. “It’s time to go back to class with an open mind [be] The open approach is combined with a structured and organized plan that supports them. ”