Challenges & Opportunities for Learning in K-12/SE

I'm sure the lives of everyone in our global community have been immeasurably changed in the past few weeks by the spread of Coronavirus. As places of learning at all levels scramble to deliver teaching online whilst also trying to engage and inspire students at a very unnerving time I would be interested to hear how teachers in schools are addressing this. If you are now delivering your classes online what challenges and opportunities does this offer? Have you any good practices or tips you would like to share? We'd love to hear your stories...

Please stay safe.

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  • I'd like to kick this off by sharing some very practical suggestions from Dr Lynn Gribble Lynn a Senior Lecturer from the University of New South Wales in Australia:

    Lots of good tips Gill, I have worked from home and remotely on line for years  and have also raised a child as a single parent in the process:) Here are some that work well:

    Set up activities and timers - in these times no disturbing so emails can be quick to do , do them when little ones need more interaction, marking is a concentrated activity get up early, stay up late or put on a movie for those times.

    Always stick to what you say, so if it's a 15 min conversation  you cannot say 5 more minutes, it just leads to pester power, tell people you are juggling tow schedules.

    Set up lunch/snacks for the little ones at the start of the day so you can just hand it over.

    It may help to get them to wear their uniform and if you dress for work - everyone is at work now

    Set up and pack away work zones and transition to play and relax time so there are clear 'signposts' as to what to do and when and the associated behaviour.

    Finally, focus on what you do know rather than what you don't. Sounds simple but here is what we know right now. for the foreseeable future we will be working from home and remotely. We will not be able to run and play in parks or equipment like we used to

    But we have imagination and lots of on line things to do, each day have a virtual coffee with an extroverted mate - they need the contact. Try to watch a  play or a ballet or theatre (they need the money)  set it up, you could even get dressed up and make it special. Dance to music or sing out loud, its good for the soul (and no one can see or hear you!). For more practical tips on dealing with uncertainty I recorded this podcast last week with Andrew Grill, as part of his Practical Futurist series:

    S2 Episode 6: Thriving in a time of uncertainty with Dr Lynn Gribble

    Hope these help

    Lynn

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  • Thanks for sharing this Gill.

    Over the weekend I was asked some very specific questions about working from home and so I thought it would be good to share those too:

    Many people are saying their whole day is spent in meetings and the incidental chats are missing.  I always schedule out a few hours of time that cannot be booked or interrupted each day. That way my work gets done. I have a drop in time, between 30 - 60 mins when people can just message me for a chat and we instantly can talk,  just like it might occur around the coffee machine or if you see each other in the corridors.

    I also look at the tasks and what takes brain space over the little short answer, knowledge or expertise requirements and clear those as I go leaving the larger things for when I have a scheduled time to work.

    Hope these are helpful in working from home. Remember to focus on what we do know for now, get up and show up each day, separate work from home, - use your phone to tell you it's 'quitting time'

    Stay safe and happy

    Lynn

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  • It is great to be here!!! I have taught online since 1999. Currently, I am with an amazing K-12 Charter School, and the model is incredible. We work with at promise (formerly known as at risk) students. The students we meet with in person at libraries and online. Once the pandemic hit we went completely online. Some of the students are homeless and this was difficult with the pandemic causing more issues. However, It was a smooth transition to go virtual as the school provides the students with computers and hotspots. Here are some of my thoughts:

    The tips in the other posts are terrific especially with the insight on sticking to the plan! I find students will try and reschedule meetings many times, and I set boundaries so that we have a regular recurring meeting. 

    Students are contacting me more often, and I give them a couple of tasks to do a day instead of a list for the week. It is important not to overwhelm them as nothing will get done.

    Every day I go on camera as much as possible! I have COVID hair (2-inch roots) like everyone, but it helps students to see a familiar face. At the end of our sessions, they get to choose stickers that I show off on camera, and I mail them. My students are between 13 and 25 y/o and most get excited about the random stickers.

    In our meetings, I provide resources for students and let them vent a bit. I tell them I am here for them, and to let me know if they need anything. A good relationship is essential, and we are all going through the quarantine.

    Thanks everyone and stay safe!  Best!

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  • I like the stickers idea Christing, what LMS are you using?

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    •   Lynn I have a typo with my name. It should be Christine!  :) In the past I have used Blackboard, Brightspace, Canvas, Salesforce and EMA (Evaluation Management System). The Charter school uses School Pathways for the LMS. I have to say my favorite is EMA as it integrates with Tii and all the courses. What LMS are you using?

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      • Lynn
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      • Lynn
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      Christine Gee Hi Christine ( sorry about the name previously, but I didn't want to presume it was a typo:) I'm using moodle but have used BB and some proprietary systems previously. Ive used the idea of handing out sweets when working in China, but need to be careful because our students are tough 'judges' on what they deem appropriate. I use virtual gold star awards in class and they love it.

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