60,000 Students Logged On as Brevard Public Schools Transformed to Online Learning Last Week

By  //  April 6, 2020

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WATCH: BPS Mark Mullins Talks About the First Week of Remote Learning

SPACE COAST DAILY TV: Brevard Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Mark Mullins provides information for parents and students as Brevard Public Schools welcomed its more than 70,000 students back to school remotely last Monday. Dr. Mullins speaks with Space Coast Daily’s Giles Malone for an update regarding the education of our students here on the Space Coast and how it has been affected by Coronavirus.

“People are doing amazing things with technology that may have been outside their comfort zones before,” said Russell Cheatham, BPS Chief Information Officer.

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Remote instruction is working in Brevard County — and growing, log-in by log-in.

With coronavirus spreading and fewer than three weeks to prepare, Brevard Public Schools relaunched itself Monday, March 30 as a virtual school district.

Through laptop computers, the internet, and mobile phones, about 4,500 Brevard Public Schools teachers are working from home, posting lessons aligned with state standards, assigning homework, and communicating with students they had taught face-to-face in classrooms before spring break.

Day one was full of challenges, including a rush of students who created a digital bottleneck in the district’s computer system for resetting forgotten passwords.

But by Friday, April 3, about 60,000 students per day were successfully logging into the online Focus platform and ClassLink student Launchpad, clicking the “I’m here” attendance button — and learning.

“People are doing amazing things with technology that may have been outside their comfort zones before,” said Russell Cheatham, BPS Chief Information Officer.

“People are doing amazing things with technology that may have been outside their comfort zones before,” said Russell Cheatham, BPS Chief Information Officer. (BPS image)

Data tracked by the district’s Educational Technology division revealed encouraging trends and new insights over the first week of remote instruction:

STRONG ATTENDANCE ‘ONLINE’

By day two, Tuesday, Brevard Public Schools recorded about 59,000 unique student log-ins to the remote-learning system, up by about 1,000 from the day before. To put that into perspective, BPS has about 66,000 students enrolled in its elementary and secondary schools.

By Friday, about 90 percent of Brevard Public Schools students were logging into the online system daily.

That percentage doesn’t reflect students who are working with paper packets as accommodations for special needs or for lack of any reliable way to connect online.

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WHEN STUDENTS LEARN AT HOME

One-third of all Brevard students who log-into the ClassLink student “launchpad” for remote instruction do so between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. — hours after class would normally be in session.

This data seems to reinforce BPS’ decision to not attempt “live” classes via teleconference at specific times.

The numbers of student log-ins per hour, as reported by Educational Technology Wednesday:

• 4-5 p.m. – 7,000
• 5-6 p.m. – 5,700
• 7-8 p.m. – 2,500
• 8-9 p.m. – 3,700

WHEN STUDENTS LEARN AT HOME: One-third of all Brevard students who log-into the ClassLink student “launchpad” for remote instruction do so between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. — hours after class would normally be in session. (BPS image)

BORROWED DEVICES

Brevard Public Schools expected to lend up to 15,000 school-owned laptops to students in need by Friday’s cutoff.

With help from corporate donors, BPS also has purchased and issued about 2,200 internet “hotspots” to students who had no internet service at home.

The Brevard Public Schools computers contain software that let the district track when they log into the remote-instruction system.

On the very first day of remote instruction, more than 11,500 student log-ins came from the Brevard Public Schools-issued devices.

MOST-USED SOFTWARE

Brevard Public Schools also can monitor what portals, platforms and software students are using.

The most used so far include:

1. Microsoft tools such as Word
2. ClassLink (Launchpad)
3. Focus
4. Google tools such as Docs

“We anticipated bumps — students needing passwords and that sort of thing — but we worked through those,” said Brevard Public Schools Superintendent Mark Mullins.

“We recognize that this is a new way of work. This is a new experience for all of us.”

ACCESS YOUR STUDENT’S REMOTE LEARNING CURRICULUM HERE:

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