N.C. nonprofit to host free virtual learning conference for parents, teachers next week

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RALEIGH — Chatham parents and teachers looking to get a leg up on virtual learning can attend a free, half-day conference offering strategies, resources and tutorials next Wednesday, Oct. 28.

The conference — called the REAL 2.0 (Remote Education & Learning) Conference — will offer several targeted sessions led by educators for both teachers and parents. Sessions will be available in English and Spanish, with three targeted sessions for Spanish-speaking parents led by the Wake County Family Academy.

The North Carolina Business Committee for Education (NCBCE), an education nonprofit working out of the governor’s office to support workforce development, organized the conference along with Hometown Strong, Community Family Academy and the Department of Public Instruction (DPI).

“This is an unprecedented time that we’re in right now for education,” said Caroline Sullivan, the NCBCE’s executive director in a press release. “We’re pleased to be able to support our teachers and parents by providing a resource that will assist both of these groups in their new roles.”

Parent sessions will offer tutorials in virtual learning platforms like Google Classroom and Canvas, supporting autistic children’s learning as well as virtual learning strategies. The three sessions specifically for Spanish-speaking parents will offer advice about filling out college applications, navigating virtual learning platforms and maintaining good mental health during COVID-related isolation and school closures.

Likewise, sessions for teachers will discuss how to navigate asynchronous (or non-simultaneous) learning, to teach students effective study habits and virtual learning routines, and to create and edit great videos, among other topics. A full list can be found on the REAL 2.0 conference webpage.

This conference follows a previous REAL Conference held in early August for North Carolina’s teachers. It’s also part of Gov. Roy Cooper’s NC Student Connect initiative, a $40 million program launched in September to help close internet connectivity and digital literacy gaps among teachers, students and parents. The initiative will fund two more remote learning conferences later this fall, including one for STEM teachers on Nov. 17 and another for arts and humanities teachers on Dec. 15 and Dec. 16.

The REAL 2.0 conference kicks off next Wednesday at noon and offers five hour-long sessions, each with a 15-minute time slot for questions. The conference schedule estimates the last session will end at 7:15 p.m. 

To register for individual sessions in English or Spanish, go to www.ncstudentconnect.com. Registration closes the day of the conference. Recordings of the event will be released to this same link after the conference ends.

Reporter Victoria Johnson can be reached at victoria@chathamnr.com.

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