Distance Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Common Sense Launches 'Wide Open School' to Assist with Remote Learning

Common Sense has launched an online school to help educators and families cope with remote learning and teaching. "Wide Open School," as it's called, features resources curated by the media organization and provided by a number of well known education content providers, including Khan Academy, Scholastic, Time for Kids, National Geographic, PBS, Sesame Workshop and others. The daily learning activities are organized by grade band and subject.

The website features:

  • Coverage of math, English language arts, science, social studies, science and the arts;

  • Virtual field trips;

  • Resources for special needs students and English learners;

  • Ideas for physical activities and life skills;

  • Links to daily live events; and

  • Guidance on emotional well-being.

There's also a link to a bunch of guidance on setting up a virtual classroom. For grades 6-12, that incorporates links to remote learning resources, how-to's on setting up Google for Education and Zoom, digital citizenship lessons and a list of the "best messaging apps and websites for students, teachers and parents."

While most of the sites require no log-in for access, some do require registration. Common Sense has warned users that the external websites and applications "are governed by their own privacy policies or information-collection practices." For that reason, the organization advised, "We encourage you to review the privacy policies and information-collection practices of any external websites and apps before using them with children."

"This crisis has reminded us of our deep appreciation for the work teachers do every day in their classrooms," company officials noted in an "about us" page. "At Wide Open School, we celebrate teachers--and parents--as they take on this new challenge."

Wide Open School is freely available online.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.