Bridging the Classroom and Distance Learning Divide to Keep Students Connected and Supported

Taylor Shingledecker, Communications Manager, Lenovo

When schools all over the United States began closing their doors in March to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, many did not have the right systems or software in place to support distance learning. This meant teachers not only had to scramble to adapt their lesson plans for a self-guided, digital environment, but they also had to build strategies to securely communicate with their students, keep classes on task, and help troubleshoot tech issues so learning could continue unimpeded.

Furthermore, many students were suddenly lacking the community, structure, and daily routine that school provides. One of the most important ways teachers have supported their students during these unprecedented times is by prioritizing their social and emotional needs. Staying connected through technology has become more important than ever before.

Karli Bransteter, a seventh and eighth grade science teacher at Randolph Eastern Schools in Indiana, found that the remote supervising functionality gives kids the oversight they need to stay on task. “They know I can pop in at any time during the class to make sure they’re working,” she said, explaining that the functionality is also useful for helping students troubleshoot tech issues. “When an issue is brought to my attention, I can view what they’re looking at and quickly figure out where the problem may be.”

But even more importantly, Bransteter stressed that she’s been able to maintain emotional connections with her vulnerable students, partly as a result of using LanSchool Air.

“I’ve been able to keep up with kids I definitely would have lost without LanSchool Air,” Bransteter said. “Some kids just aren’t as engaged as others, but with remote learning, it’s more important than ever for them to make themselves present. I’ve been using LanSchool Air to check in with them and make sure they’re on their computers. If they aren’t, I can check with their parents and make sure everything is OK.”

I think all teachers miss being in the classroom and being able to see the impact we’re having. The silver lining may be that kids who weren’t the most fond of school have been reaching out and saying how much they miss it. I think parents and students alike are realizing what a privilege school is.

Randolph Eastern Schools has been offering LanSchool Air to teachers since late 2019, primarily for in-class usage but also to support distance learning when needed due to inclement weather, teacher preparation days, and teacher travel or absences. Since the schools in their district closed, Randolph Eastern teachers have been able to use LanSchool Air to keep students engaged and on track during the transition to learning from home.

Blake Clevenger, the IT Manager at Randolph Eastern, explained that LanSchool Air’s chat functionality plays a big role in keeping students and teachers connected throughout the day.

“For certain grade levels, we have email turned off,” Clevenger said. “A third grader might not be able to handle email where a fourth grader can. LanSchool allows teachers communication methods that are more timely and appropriate for lower-level kids.”

To help with the transition to distance learning, Lenovo has donated over $1.2 million in complimentary LanSchool licenses to schools and districts in the U.S. and Canada.* We know the impact goes so much deeper than helping students stay on track academically; it’s about giving kids a sense of normalcy and connection with the caring adults they desperately need in these uncertain times. We are honored to be able to support the education community with a critical component for distance learning, allowing schools to continue their educational programming without negatively impacting budgets. At Lenovo, we’re committed to partnering with our customers to solve for the future evolution of learning and provide smarter technology for all.

Lenovo and LanSchool Air are trademarks of Lenovo.  Google Classroom is a trademark of Google LLC. Clever is a trademark of Clever Inc.  All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. ©2020, Lenovo Group Limited.

*Where a school elects to use LanSchool Air, we provide LanSchool Air as a service provider to that school. The account, information, and content associated with LanSchool Air are controlled by the school – not by Lenovo or Stoneware, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lenovo. For details about how Stoneware collects data, please visit our privacy policy available at


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