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Distance learning in Schleswig-Holstein: how parents, students, teachers, and school administrators assess learning during the pandemic

June 17th, 2021

An IPN study provides a differentiated picture of how school administrators, teachers, parents, and students from Schleswig-Holstein assess the phases of distance learning during the Covid 19 pandemic.

In an online survey, the IPN asked school administrators, teachers, parents, and students at 150 schools of all school types in Schleswig-Holstein about distance learning. In addition to a general assessment of how distance learning is rated overall, the survey addressed questions about the home situation, how schools have prepared for the second lockdown, the time required for learning at home, digital equipment, and the time spent on learning at home.

The results (German)

Here are the most important points in a nutshell:

General assessment of distance learning: more positive assessments by school administrators and teachers than by parents and students.

Almost half of all school administrators rate the distance learning phase as very good or good (in the school grading system from 1 to 6); among teachers, this positive assessment drops to around 40%. Parents and children assess distance learning much less positively, with only 32% of parents and 37% of students giving it a rating of 1 or 2.

The survey asked about the technical equipment and workspace available for students to learn at home, and whether parents or teachers have the necessary IT skills to support children and teenagers in distance learning. Nearly all parents indicate that the IT equipment necessary for distance learning is available and that children have a quiet place in their home environment to learn. Also, nearly all parents indicate that they are able to use their own digital skills to help their children learn at home. Three-quarters of parents estimate that teachers have the necessary IT skills to support students in distance learning.

Continuing education and expansion of digital equipment: Preparations for the second lockdown

Between the first lockdown in spring 2020 and the second in winter 2020/2021, school administrators and teachers used the time to prepare for further phases of the lockdown. School administrators and teachers exchanged ideas with colleagues on distance learning and engaged in self-study technical training. School administrators developed many professional development activities for digital media use. Teachers surveyed also participated in training for the use of learning platforms and video conferencing tools. About one-third of the teachers received explicit in-service training on the use of digital media in subject lessons. After the first lockdown, digital devices were purchased primarily for students, and the equipment with communication software and learning software improved in half of the schools.

Keeping in touch during the lockdown: digital and analogue

Previous studies showed that teachers were successful in keeping in touch with students during the first lockdown. This study asked about the ways in which students received or were provided with their assignments during the second lockdown. In high schools and community colleges, assignments were provided primarily through online platforms, in videoconferences, or through email; in elementary schools and in remedial centers, in-person delivery or pickup from school was more prevalent.

Learning and work time: up to 6.4 hours per day.

The amount of time students spend learning at home increases as grade level increases. In 12th grade, students spend an average of 6.4 hours per day studying; in elementary school, children spend between 2.3 hours (1st grade) and 3.3 hours (4th grade) studying at home each day.

The study

Distance Learning in Schleswig Holstein (DiScH) is a project of the IPN - Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education, which was conducted on behalf of the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture in cooperation with the Institute for Quality Development at Schools and the Institute for Pedagogical-Psychological Research on Teaching and Learning at Kiel University. School administrators, teachers, parents and students were asked about their experiences with distance learning. Participation was mandatory for school administrators and voluntary for the other groups.