In no particular order, today I have some random observations about this whole distance learning thing and how different things are this school year. (I'm borrowing the meme from Barefoot Susie who got it from Thursday 13.)
1. School campus is so empty, it's eerie. But there is still a small contingent that remains, either those that have to be at school or those teachers who find they work better out of their classrooms.
2. Since no one is on campus, the teachers working from campus have started parking their cars next to their classrooms.
3. We were prepared for this, and not at all prepared for this. A lot of the work was already done via computer and Google Classroom, so that's not new. But putting it all together online is so very different.
4. I've completely given up with regards to wardrobe and makeup. Even though I'm on camera and on campus, I'm going for comfort. It's not like they're seeing me in person.
5. Classroom control is a breeze when all the kiddos are on mute. I don't have to talk over them. But I wonder if they're really paying attention.
6. It turns out that there are Extensions that one can use to make sure all participants are on screen in Google Meet (grid view) and there's also an attendance app. Now I can see all the students on screen, although since I'm co-teaching, I don't have to worry about attendance.
7. But before they got the attendance app, the teachers were trying different things to keep track of attendance. For the first couple weeks, they'd have the students type their names into the chat box. The teachers have told the students they no longer need to do this, but the students still do, so at the beginning and end of class (and sometimes in the middle) we get random messages with student names. (Which is totally redundant as the chat function tells us who's posting the name, so the name is on screen twice.)
(So, it turns out the chat box does have a useful function. Although, I have found that there is a way to turn it off.)
8. Throughout the period, we see messages that "so-and-so has left the meet" followed soon after by "so-and-so has joined the meet". Initially I worried about the leavings, but as they return so quickly, I'm fairly certain it's just their connection. (And the attendance app tracks this, so after class one can see when they were offline. For the most part, these are minor interruptions.)
9. We can't see if they leave the room (if their cameras are off), so we don't know if they leave to use the restroom. Yet, I've still had kids ask if they could go. (Of course I let them go. I'm not a monster.)
10. And I've had kiddos apologize for getting logged out or logging in late due to connectivity issues (or others in the room closing their laptops).
11. At the end of class, we teachers remain online until everyone has logged off. Sometimes a couple kiddos remain behind because they have a question. But then there are two or three who just linger. Clearly, these are the kiddos who logged in and then walked away from their computers. (We can log them out at the end, or we can just leave them to the empty meet.)
12. There is a designated time for the students to come in to "office hours" if they have other questions. It's as simple as setting up another Google Meet.
13. The schedule is modified. The kiddos are attending classes every other day. Tuesdays and Thursday are periods 1, 3, and 5. Wednesdays and Fridays are periods 2, 4, and 6. (Mondays they do a truncated all day thing.) They have an hour period followed by ten minutes of "passing". After the last class, they get a 40-ish minute lunch followed by "office hours" followed by an hour of independent work time. (They're expected to complete assignments.)
I'm glad I have the blog now. I get to tell you all how this new thing is going.