Coronavirus Chicago: Educational companies offering free e-learning tools for teachers, parents

Michelle Gallardo Image
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Educational companies offering free tools for teachers, parents
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Educational companies are opening up their online curriculums for free amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- From interactive grade school math lessons to social studies classes to an entire catalogue of podcasts aimed at improving listening comprehension, educational companies are opening up their online curriculums for free as parents everywhere begin to take on the role of teachers to their children.

FULL LIST: Free educational resources for kids stuck at home

On Chicago's South Side, Burst into Books founder Jurema Gorham is offering parents a weekly game plan they can follow whether or not their children have laptops or tablets.

"It's kind of giving parents tips of how to use what's in the home that you're going to be doing daily anyway as learning tools for the family," Gorham explained. "And then incorporating reading. Like reading 20 minutes a day regardless of the subject area is going to help them tremendously."

RELATED: What you need to know about Illinois' 1,535 COVID-19 cases, Chicago area impact

And it's not just parents. School districts are grappling with how to best help their teachers continue doing what they do. To that end, Modern Teacher is currently offering a free webinar to help educators set up an online classroom within 48 hours.

"Our approach is, how do we help teachers just very quickly get something up and running so that learning can continue while these emergency school closings are in place," said Dr. Shawn Smith, with Modern Teacher. "We're trying to point teachers, and give examples where the resources are free, where the online virtual classroom is free."

That is however, just part of the equation. With 852 diverse school districts across the state, the Illinois School Board of Education is scrambling to come up with a plan that addresses everyone's needs and situations.

"In some cases school bus drivers who are still on the job, they can also pick up and deliver assignments from their students at designated bus stops," Deputy Governor for Education Jesse Ruiz said. "And so there is a diversity of different mechanisms by which education can continue. Some of it will be digitally. Some of it will be good old fashioned paper and pencil."

CPS is also offering what they call enrichment activities online. For those students participating in the meal program, those activities can be physically picked up on site.

MORE: Illinois State Board of Education resources for parents