In the current teaching situation I find myself in, the tech tools that would be most helpful to my students now are collaboration tools. Although I’m fortunate enough to find my masked self in the classroom with my masked students, there are so many rules regarding social distancing that I’ve quickly found a need to change the way I teach. I like getting kids out of their seats, working at the board, and collaborating together in groups. Unfortunately, I’m finding myself grappling for new ways to use technology in order to achieve at least a few of these practices.
I’ve talked to other teachers both in and out of my department, as well as a few teachers from other school districts. One colleague is using flipgrid in order to create a flipped classroom for her students. This also allows communication between and among students outside of the classroom. She likes this because, since we have shortened class periods, it allows her to expand her discussion times with her students, getting them to interact on a deeper level. This is something I do want to look into more than I already have. I know that it could offer some of my more reserved students an opportunity to express themselves without the pressure of peers sitting in the classroom.
Likewise, a number of teachers are working with Google Meets to create groups or teams of student collaborators, allowing them to do group work outside of the classroom. Much of this is being done in anticipation of a potential “shutdown.” By allowing students to become more comfortable with some of these tools, if a quarantine of some type should occur in our school district, students will be familiar with these tech tools, and more likely to use them at home.