SOLC Day 23: Making Connections

We’re still at it–the “it” being remote learning while our schools remain closed. On our 6th day I’ve learned some things that I didn’t know when we started this last week.

  1. Remote learning is not the same thing as teaching. I’m able to push out learning activities and provide feedback, but I’ve yet to get the teaching part in order.
  2. Technical glitches are a given. There is a constant barrage of technical questions from my students and their parents. Where is the attachment? It says file not found! My attachment won’t load. Where do I do my writing? My stream is gone!
  3. Related to number 2, we are lucky to have responsive tech support in my small district! Today my email cries of help were met with a productive Google Meet session with one of our tech team members. I got help troubleshooting, established a reasonable work around, and even squeezed in an extra question about Google Meet!
  4. I love Flipgrid! Posting a prompt each day–both written and as a video that I make as an invitation–allows my students to show each other a glimpse of their interests at home. They seem to enjoy it…and so do I. I just wish there were a way to comment that wasn’t limited to making a video back. (If any of you know a workaround for this, please share!)
  5. My students love to chat! I knew that they loved to chat–as in verbalize–in the classroom. But I learned quickly last Monday just how much they love to chat (like texting) on the Google Classroom pages. Which also means that I’ve been thinking about ways for them to connect that are less annoying that hundreds of emails in my inbox.
  6. So today, I decided to schedule an impromptu classroom meetup through Google Meet. I posted a note on our classroom page, letting kids know a couple of hours in advance that I would post a link to Meet…and gave brief directions about how to get on. I decided not to email parents this first time, just see who would come and figure out from there how it would work. Right on time, about half my students along with my co-teacher and our science teacher starting to pop onto my screen. At first with no volume…but eventually at full volume. I was able to get them to all mute themselves and then I called on them one by one to unmute and tell us all how they were and what they were doing. They absolutely loved being together…and then toward the end of our time one student discovered the chat feature–so I explained where it was to all of them and let them go wild chatting. Emojis began to fly along with the Hi and I’m here kind of posts they seem to love best. I gave them a one minute warning on the chatting and then wished them all well and signed off. I’ve already had an email from a parent thanking me for making her child’s day!
  7. I still haven’t figured out how to get everything done–including my report cards–in a reasonable time . But I know more about how to manage this new learning context than I did last week. I’m thinking about how to use our Meet tool in two different ways–one for a sort of “recess” like today, and another to support student learning in more specific ways. I’m still worried about the kids who are not as present, staying on the fringes of this remote learning thing. Are they having tech problems, are their parents too busy trying to work from home to help them, are they home alone without help? I hope to answer some of those questions in the days to come.

What’s happening in your learning context? How’s your homeschooling or remote learning going? What is working for you? What isn’t? What connections are you making?

11 thoughts on “SOLC Day 23: Making Connections

  1. Suzanne

    Yes and wow, ditto ditto ditto. The main difference for me is that our Admins (and tech dept) are limiting what we use and do right now. Which I get. They are concerned about equity(can everyone access what we are sending out) and privacy. I am itching to use Flipgrid since reading about it on your site. But I understand the need to keep everyone safe as we literally fly into this new way of everything!

    Reply
  2. chuizar

    Thanks for sharing your experience. Sounds like I need to learn about flipgrid too! We are still assessing tech realities and learning different platforms and tools to figure out what might work. I hope we can one day soon have a google meet for our morning meeting.

    Reply
  3. JudyK /J Koval

    Thanks for sharing your tips! I haven’t gotten into the e-learning yet, since so far just the classroom teachers are starting to get into it, and I’m part of support staff. I can’t wait until they get everything situated with the classroom teachers and can include support staff — but until then, at least, I’m trying to learn as much as I can. And your tips definitely help! So thanks! 🙂 ~JudyK

    Reply
  4. dogtrax

    We’re in a strange spot since our district does not want us to doing any new assignments (because of concerns of special education services and the lack of technology experience). So, I am in Google Classroom and in Flipgrid with kids, but there is only about 1/3 of the entire grade taking part. We’re sending email updates to families, and pointing them to our post about how to keep engaged in learning. I also sent out 20 postcards to my homeroom students, figuring at least they will get a few lines in the mail from me. But it all feels strangely disconnected, and the lack of a real strategy from the top has made our job murky (I don’t blame them — who expected this?)
    Kevin

    Reply
    1. kd0602 Post author

      It’s a new educational landscape…and I think we’re all figuring it out as we go. I hope this is short lived…but that could just be my wishful thinking. Makes me grateful that I’d already spent time on these platforms with my students. It doesn’t feel quite so unfamiliar to all of us. (Parents—it mostly feels new to them. Their kids know more about the tools than they do.). I’m thankful for so many clmooc moves.

      Reply
  5. Charlene Doland

    “I just wish there were a way to comment that wasn’t limited to making a video back. (If any of you know a workaround for this, please share!)”

    Do you not have a “comments” section when you go to review each video? That’s where I put text feedback to the students. I’m using the free version.

    Reply
    1. kd0602 Post author

      Thanks Charlene. Thanks to this comment I went poking around and found it! I’m testing it out today with my students. Could be a game changer for me (or they may hate it). Another example of the importance of our distance communities.

      Reply

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