An app available through the Vancouver Island Regional Library’s website can help students during COVID times. (Stock photo)

An app available through the Vancouver Island Regional Library’s website can help students during COVID times. (Stock photo)

New library app can help families with online learning

Sample tests, virtual flashcards available through Vancouver Island Regional Library’s website

With COVID-19 conditions affecting student instruction, Vancouver Island Regional Library is offering a new tool for students to help weather the pandemic educational storm.

The 2020-21 school year started under provincial pandemic guidelines and Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district saw a surge in distributed (distance) learning enrolment. Louise Broadley, divisional manager of collections and support services, says the regional library system began offering the Solaro online resource in January, providing students between Grades 3-12 with sample tests and online learning tools.

“We started looking at this last fall, just finding an educational tool for families because a lot of kids were at home learning,” said Broadley. “We found this one is particularly nice because it [follows] the B.C. curriculum and it incorporates some of the new curriculum … We wanted to have a product available for families to be able to use given some families’ kids are still home learners.”

In addition to practice tests, Solaro also offers students the ability to place information on virtual flashcards, which they can use in their studying.

The app also offers more than just sample tests, according to Broadley.

“What are some nice things that it does is shows [students’] completion of different lessons and the progression of a course … You can take a portion of a lesson, turn it into a flashcard and ask a question for the flashcard,” said Broadley. “You can make notes; they’re highlighting text and then a pop-up comes up to say if you want to create a flashcard or a note for this lesson, so it’s a really nice studying tool.”

In January, Broadley said there were 200 families, or individuals, that signed up to use the app and they used it about 400 times.

“We’re anticipating greater usage as more families get to use the product and through word-of-mouth … the content is quite rich,” said Broadley.

The resource is “designed specifically around the B.C. curriculum” a press release said, and in additional to practice tests, Solaro also offer students lessons and the ability to place information on virtual flashcards. Subjects include English and language arts, math and science.

Solaro can be accessed at www.virl.bc.ca and is free to any student with a Vancouver Island Regional Library card.

RELATED: Interest in VIRL digital offerings soars during pandemic



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