Pivoteer #5 - Rethinking Remote Education: Maintaining Relationship and Engagement while Socially Distant


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On Friday, July 10, 2020, OpenHub livestreamed its 5th episode of its webisode series

Pivoteers & Pioneers: Tech-Enabled Recovery in the Age of Social Distancing.

The theme was

Rethinking Remote Education: Maintaining Relationship and Engagement while Socially Distant.

Dr. Andrea TejedorFeaturing a diverse panel of education professionals, the event was moderated by Andrea Tejedor, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction & Technology at Highland Falls - Fort Montgomery School District.

Our esteemed moderator is also the Hudson Valley Director for NYSCATE and OpenHub’s HVTechFest Hackathon Leader.


Andrea Tejedor opened with an introduction to the theme: 

How do we support students as we move from physical, ‘brick & mortar’ schools that have been around for over a hundred years when overnight, on March 13, 2020, educators were asked to make the switch to a remote setting? 


Tejedor pointed to challenges that arose in the digital setting such as all teaching content and classrooms were online, inter-professional and staff communication and meetings were online, all schedules and announcements were online. And without any training to get everyone up to speed.  


“This was further illustrated by the misconception that our youth are ‘digital natives,’ as if they are whizzes at all things tech. What quickly became apparent is that students know what they know, but they do not know it all and they need instruction and guidance to get up to speed,” Tejedor reported.


“Tech is a tool, not a teacher. If we look at the pivot we had to make as education professionals, how did we help learning progress for our students? For example, many of us discovered that to learn with technology, students need guidance, reassurance and scaffolding that teachers provide,” said Tejedor. 


“Lastly, the transition to digital learning gave us a deeper and clearer understanding of what the Digital Divide means in the Hudson Valley. And the serious impediments to learning and participation that inequity can cause.”


Invited were representatives from CoSchools, Afterschool Programming, Community Colleges and Universities, Workforce Development as well as public and private school systems. 

We would also like to thank the following panelists who participated: 

  • Elizabeth Thomas-Cappello - Computer Science educator at Newburgh Free Academy, Newburgh, Early College High School, partnership program with Marist College, Poughkeepsie, Adjunct Professor, Mt. St. Mary College, Newburgh, NY
  • Tovah Goldfarb - 6th grade STEM Teacher, Krieger Elementary School, Poughkeepsie, NY
  • Sonya Abbye Taylor, Ed.D. - Associate Professor of Education, Mt. St. Mary College, Newburgh, NY, Director of Professional Development and Curriculum at Bishop Dunn Memorial School, NY
  • Ludmila Smirnova - Professor of Education, Mt. St. Mary College, Newburgh, NY
  • David Czechowski - Computer Science Teacher at F.D. Roosevelt High School, Hyde Park, NY, Founding a Computer Science Teacher Association in the Hudson Valley
  • Meg Käufer - President of the STEM Alliance of Larchmont-Mamaroneck, Nonprofit learning center dedicated to enhancing K-12 STEM education for LMI students


“The idea of connection was very important to us from the beginning. Although It felt like a natural instinct that technology would be a great tool for connection as we went to leverage that, we encountered that many of families in our community were struggling. Some parents have even felt humiliated for not being able to help their children with their homework. What we found is that it is through strong relationships, often one-on-one, that create digital resilience and grit, that allow communities to push forward, especially with something so new and not intuitive. Because of this, all of our programs have been deeply based in relationships in order to get families to digital resilience.”  

-Meg Käufer, President of the STEM Alliance of Larchmont-Mamaroneck

Question and Answer participants

Take a listen to the episode.

Please leave a comment and let us know what you think!


Save the date! Please join us Friday, July 31, 2020 at 3:00 pm for our next episode:

Data-Driven Hudson Valley: How Data Can Power Hudson Valley Businesses

featuring Dr. Cynthia Marcello, Data Engineer and Data Small Business Specialist 

In many cases, business owners or managers feel powerless when it comes to technology. There is confusion around data and the availability of powerful and affordable solutions for Small and Medium Business owners.”

-Dr. Cynthia Marcello, Data Engineer and Data Small Business Specialist 

This episode will feature guidance and solutions for Small and Medium Business owners, SMB’s. Dr. Marcello will demystify and what it means to be data-driven, what is ‘open data’ and what a data-driven culture is, and the affordable and available solutions for SMB’s. Dr. Marcello uses a ‘one-step-at-a-time’ approach, a model that allows SMB’s to experience small successes along the way to build efficacy for the long term.