How did the families experience distance learning during the lockdown? Here are the results of a recent study (carried out by the UNICEF Research Office – Innocenti and the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart), which revealed the difficulties faced by students and families.
Distance learning was very useful during the lockdown. How did families experience this distance learning method? Were they able to support their children in their studies? Here is the data provided by recent research.
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Dad, the difficulties of families
From a new study, carried out byUNICEF Research Office – Innocenti is Catholic University of Sacred Heart, based on the administration of questionnaires to 1028 Italian families, it emerged that the 27% of these did not have adequate technologies during the lockdown, while the 30% she didn’t have time to support the children with Dad. And the 6% of the children did not participate in distance learning due to connection problems or lack of devices.
Digital devices and a stable connection are essential
The research, therefore, underlines the importance for students to have access to one stable internet connection and cheap, as well as a digital devices of high quality that support video calls and digital educational platforms, so that all children can benefit from distance learning.
Daniel Kardefelt – Winther, Head of Research on Children and the Internet at UNICEF Innocenti, said: ‘Access to the Internet and quality devices was necessary for children’s participation [e dei ragazzi] to distance learning, but despite the fact that Italy is a country with a widespread internet connection, many families have encountered difficulties. Larger families have found it difficult to keep up with the growing demand for devices for each of their children attending school. These families should benefit from a additional financial support if distance learning should remain a long-term strategy “.
The Italian government has injected a substantial amount of resources to support distance learning during the lockdown: 46% of families interviewed received new digital devices from the schools attended by their children and one in four families received an internet subscription for access to distance learning.
Distance learning: children connected 4-5 hours a day (more)
The lockdown has led to children using digital technologies more frequently than before, with a considerable increase in 4-5 hours of connection per day compared to the period prior to the lockdown. Time spent on non-school online activities has been reduced to just 2.3 hours compared to previous years, possibly due to screen fatigue.
The research found that the hours spent online on extra-curricular activities may have been the only opportunity for children to keep a sense of normality through contact with friends.
Compared to children and teens, parents tend to express more concern about the impact of lockdown on their learning. Overall, many students said they were enthusiastic and optimistic about distance learning and they trusted their ability to adapt.
Dad, kids and teens better at organizing school activities
Younger children (aged between 10 and 11) showed a greater tendency to worry about their ability to adapt to distance learning: this signaled the need to provide a additional support for younger students, who may have weaker digital skills and less experience.
L’82% of respondents want that schools integrate more educational activities which favor a greater interaction among students, as well as more guidelines on how to supportdistance learning and the psychological well-being some children.
Parents also noticed spaces for growth in school life of their children during the lockdown period. The 61% of parents believe that their children have become better at organizing their school activities than in the pre-closure period. Furthermore, more than the 70% of parents reported that their children have gained autonomy in using digital technologies for school.
The study results highlight that, in addition to learning, children could benefit from efforts to enhance their well-being and mental health, thereby enhancing the overall distance learning experience for both children and parents.