With children staying at home during lockdown, teachers and parents faced a major challenge. How do we teach our children if they can’t go to school? The answer: distance learning. But not every school had the tools to simply switch to online education. And not every child has a laptop to join lessons from home. To help these schools and students, the Dutch government commissioned Cloudwise to handle a nationwide distribution of ready-to-use Chromebooks.
Government funding for remote education
As in other countries, schools in the Netherlands were shut down to prevent further spread of COVID-19. Almost all children learned from home. Yet without a classroom environment, differences in educational opportunities arose fast. The Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science set up a special fund for the distribution of laptops to children lacking IT facilities at home. Together with SIVON, an association of school boards in primary and secondary education, distance learning needs were mapped out in a national survey.
145 schools applied for government support. To meet the huge demand for devices, SIVON organized a large-scale distribution and selected Cloudwise as one of their national suppliers. In less than a week, the first schools received their Chromebooks. In total we were able to distribute over 4,500 Chromebooks in more than 70 school districts throughout the Netherlands! Students picked up their devices at school and were able to start their digital lessons straight away.
Creating equal opportunities
Thousands of children who didn’t have access to an online learning environment are now able to join their peers in digital classrooms and do their coursework from home. One of the shipments went to De Horizon primary school in the city of Delft. The school’s principal, Meint Helder, told the National Youth News Report (Jeugdjournaal): “Many of our students’ parents don’t have the money to pay for a Chromebook or computer.” He is very happy about the 64 devices that were delivered to his school. Helder: “With their Chromebooks, all of our students are able to follow instructions and stay in touch with their teachers and peers.”
Making IT easy
The devices were ready for immediate use and preset with easy-to-use digital tools for learning from home. To provide easy, fast and safe access, Cloudwise created Google accounts for each student based on schools’ student information systems, using LMS synchronization. The Chromebooks came with the Chromebook Education Upgrade in combination with our own COOL platform. For the youngest students, a simple COOL picture login was already in place.
Setting the device doesn’t require complex installation procedures. Students simply unbox and turn on their Chromebook, connect to the Internet and are already able to sign in. Easy as that! From there, students can access their class materials and edu apps through COOL. Taking away possible barriers is exactly what allows kids and teachers to return to the (digital) classroom in no time.
Remote learning? COOL!
To supervise children from a distance may sound even more difficult than managing a full classroom. Not with COOL! Our platform allows teachers to involve students in class work via Google Classroom and easily track individual progress. The COOL Monitoring tool makes it possible to view students’ screen activity in real time. Useful apps and websites can be pushed or screens can be locked in Exam Mode. In this way, teachers can support students to focus on online course work. Even from a distance.
Distance learning. For all.
We keep working hard to help as many schools as possible. To make distance learning fun and accessible, we’ve compiled a free Distance Learning Toolkit where you’ll find our favorite digital tools as well as inspiring best practices for remote learning: