I'm back -- I hope
I've just started to read "Show Your Work" by Austin Kleon, and I get the funny feeling that I need to get back into blogging, so here it is.
I've been a remote-learning teacher for longer than an in-person teacher at my current school. Which means, I have been looking at my students on a monitor for nearly a year. And how do I feel about it? Okay, actually. Somethings are better and some things are a lot worse.
In some ways, remote-learning has propelled us forward with regards to technology and teaching that would have taken us 10+ years without the pandemic and the need for remote-learning. For example, I recently attended an online talent show that was amazing. Each student had to participate (which is not like a regular on-stage talent show) and they were limited to 1 minute. I REALLY enjoyed seeing all the talents of my students. Everything for shooting 3-pointers to making the best PB&J sandwich (that they fried).
I'll add more stories, both good and bad in the days ahead.
To be honest, I doubted, just a little that my students would be able to do the same quality of tech projects from home as they do with me, in person, there to hold their hand and help them with the process. In fact, I felt a little threatened at the thought of my students succeeding without me with them - physically - rather than virtually.
But I am happy to report that after seeing the quality of the tech projects coming in from my students has made me more proud than threatened. Sure some of the audio recordings have not been as clear as when they are recorded in our professional studio here in my classroom, but the content of the podcasts is more real than I have ever heard. It is a different quality, one that is more authentic.
I guess the current crisis of the world, as we wait to see what will happen next with Coronavirus or COVID-19, has made myself and my students a little more... real. Sure we try to have fun and I try to post funny little photos of myself on social media so that my students and I still stay connected, but there is an underlying uneasiness in the world today and we all can feel it. So most of use throw ourselves into our work (in this case teaching and learning) just for a little normalcy, and I seeing both in my work and in the work of my students, we're trying just a little harder. Because it seems like the right thing to do. When the going gets tough the tough get going and I am so proud of my students for their hard work and amazing tech projects that they turn in as middle schoolers. See what they do makes me want to do more as their teacher -- and together we're going to make this whole remote-learning thing work.
Note: I am a middle school tech teacher and my online tech lessons can be found at www.MyTechtttoos.com and you're welcome to use any of them.
Well, it just happened. I finished my first week as a remote-learning tech teacher for my middle school here in Abu Dhabi, UAE. To be honest, the transition was not so rough. I had flipped most of my lessons earlier this year, so I spent the week mostly answering emails from my students and tightening up the lessons so they make more sense for the work-from-home student.
You see, I didn't realize all the questions that I would just naturally answer with the students in my room and now that they weren't some of these "gaps" in my lessons were blatantly obvious and so I created over 30 new videos this week to fix the shortcoming of my technology lessons.
If you would like to use my lessons, feel free, they're for all to use as we work together to get through this curve-ball that we've been thrown as educators and humans.
Note: My school campus was closed March 8th, 2020 due to Coronavirus - COVID-19 worries. My online tech lessons for middle school can be found at MyTechttoos.com
School Closure Just Announced
My wife and I were in the county of Georgia enjoying our spring break when she got the text message saying that the government has just announced that all schools, public and private will be closing in a few days and will remain closed for 4 weeks as they evaluate the best ways to keep our students safe due to the COVID-19 virus.
We work at the American Community School of Abu Dhabi in the UAE and immediately my wife, who is the superintendent started to book a return flight, at the same time she was coordinating with her senior administration team and the school board on how to best take care of both the students and staff.
We found out at 10:30 PM and by the next night she was gone and I was on my own in Georgia. I teach middle school technology and my mind was racing with a lot of questions with regards to my students, and there was even the thought of if I would be allowed back in the UAE in a few days.
Most of my tech curriculum already lives online, but I knew there were a lot of changes that should and could be made. So there I was alone in my hotel lobby, making the to-do list as to how to best be a middle school tech teacher with my students as remote learners.
I haven't blogged for years, but I thought I should start again, at least for the next four weeks so that my experiences might help anyone else that might go through this too. Together we are always stronger and sharing is what education is all about. My online tech lessons can be found at www.mytechttoos.com
Middle school tech teacher at the American School of Abu Dhabi. All views are my own. ISTE author - Reward Learning with Badges.