Good afternoon, everyone. Hope you are well and good today?
No, I’m not teaching…I’m just passing by to say hello. The last two weeks have been pretty hectic trying to make sure schools rounded up the 2nd term scheme of work and get ready to teach the exam classes during the lockdown. Schools officially went on holiday on Thursday. And I ask you for permission to take a break for a few days to get back my strength.
I’d also like to implore you to GO SLOW. We have been taking crash programs in learning educational tools, and I can see some of us having been making the mistake of introducing a new tool every few days to our students. Please don’t do that. You wont like the complaints about the frustrations that will come out of doing so.
Any school technology purchaser will agree that there are thousands of options when it comes to learning tools out there. Every which way you look, there’s a new technology claiming “pedagogical relevance” and “impact on learning”…meanwhile it’s all WASH!! So, please be mindful of those giving you classes on 60 educational tools…you can’t master all.
Also, in normal situations, the teachers are supposed to train themselves and then their students on the apps and technology tools they may need to use in the event of closure. Most of us didn’t, and now we have families forced to learn how to access and use these tools on their own…by the time you throw three new tools at them in one week, you will be reported to your Principal as not knowing what you are doing or being very insensitive. Sometimes it can be difficult to anticipate the roadblocks that parents and students might face while navigating this new territory. Keep in mind that parents might either be at work or working from home and unable to help much. It’s important to design learning that does not require a lot of support from parents who might already be overwhelmed. Remember I always stress that many of the skills you are learning during this period will be equally beneficial in a regular classroom…and schools will still resume.
During this school shutdown, parents are also working from home, meaning several people would be competing for one or two computers or devices. Therefore, make sure all online apps work on mobile devices in case a laptop is not available. And make sure your classes are not to long. I’m surprised someone is still planning a 2-hour-lecture for SS1…why? A full day in front of a screen is a lot for kids and teachers, especially for families who may be sharing one device.
Then, if the app you are using is complicated and needs indepth explanation, please prepare FAQs and send to the parents. If you dont know how to do it, send me a message and I will put you through. There’s a lot of information to sift through and parents are working hard to make sure they’re clear on what they should be doing to best support their students.
Don’t forget to invest some time – even if it’s just a day or two – to prepare before rolling out online learning with the students. The brief delay in starting online lessons will pay off in the long run. Don’t rush to send off a PowerPoint with errors, or a voice recording with so many blunders. Use at least two days before sending your lessons out.
I’m passionate about online learning and interactions that are important. So I am trying to also GO SLOW so that you wont be overwhelmed. My Online workshops usually take place over 6 weeks. I advice that you learn a little, practice, learn a little more, practice… Each week is a new set of activities to try out. But we interact and learn from each other. This is a workshop not a course.
Choose the right tools and stick with them. With so much out there, it can be tempting to try to use everything. Instead, limit the number of tools, apps and platforms so students and their parents are not overwhelmed.
Try to keep online instructions short, simple and clear. Consider making video instructions instead of text.
Videoconferencing will take you and your students into each other’s homes so it’s important to consider privacy…don’t use it all the time.
So, work and teach smartly.
Stay Safe and Be Well.