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Man helps Brooklyn schools handle technological challenges of remote learning

Posted at 7:04 PM, Mar 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-18 20:08:43-04

BROOKLYN — Kern Alcindor, like many New Yorkers, is working from home amidst the coronavirus outbreak.

He founded SMEL, which stands for Stimulating Minds through Entrepreneurship and Leadership, in 2016. His goal: to teach students how to become business savvy through creative thinking and decision making. Under normal circumstances, Alcindor and his staff of 10 would visit them during or after school.

“All of our students have business plans that they submit at the end of the school year,” Alcindor said.

He has students ranging from kindergarten age up to high school.

However, the coronavirus outbreak has altered his plans. Now he’s stepped up to the plate to provide technical support to the 10 Brooklyn schools his company services.

"You have some schools that have a budget for tech teachers and some schools that don’t," he said. "So technology is one class that’s omitted from the day schedule. "

Alcindor said that the Department of Education plans to give out 300,000 iPads to students in need. His job now is to prepare parents, teachers and administrators so they can navigate through the online portals to ensure that no student gets left behind.

While most schools have implemented virtual learning, they’re still not accustomed to the online platform.

“The schools we are partnering, we are launching webinars to support those teachers to understand the importance of Google Classroom and how they can implement it as a good resource,” he explained

The Google Classroom thumbnail allows you to enter the portal. Classrooms are broken down by subjects and teachers are able to create their assignments. Parents are also given a chance to be added to the chat under the teacher section. This form of virtual learning has become the new normal. It’s just one step closer to keeping students on the right track this school year.