Week 1 of #RemoteLearning

My Post

Wow! What a crazy time we are in right now. If you would have told me nine years ago when I started as a Digital Learning Specialist that we would move an entire school online in a two week period, I would have told you you were crazy. It is hard to put into words the experience. Very fortunate that we were given a full week to prepare for remote learning. As I write this blog post, we are ending our first full week.

Throughout the week, I have realized (and re-realized) a couple of things:

  • It is amazing at how different life is right now. I miss seeing my colleagues in person – there is something about waving hi, seeing how people are doing, co-planning with them. Sure a Google Meet is happening from time to time, but it is just not the same.
  • Our tech team in the district is very hard working and takes their roles very seriously with regards to making sure that the best experience is available for the entire BSD community.
  • Our teachers are willing and able to step up to challenges that are in front of them. Switching to remote learning is not a small feat by any means. It doesn’t matter how skilled or knowledgeable you are with technology. This is a lot of work for all staff. Meaningful activities to use? Screencasts to make or other video resources to use? Pacing? Lots and lots of ideas and questions are going through the minds of staff. Staff are wanting to make activities meaningful while being mindful that you can’t just do the same thing online.

Below are two ahas that happened in the first week that I would like to highlight:

Screencasting with Google Meet

download-3We all know how valuable the Screencastify chrome extension is for helping teachers record their screen. I have used the tool a lot myself. (I particular enjoy that you are now able to create gifs from the videos that you create!) Mr. Ingram decided to use Google Meet to record his computer screen. Similar to Screencastify, the recording of the Google Meet shows up in Google Drive under a folder called “Meet Recordings”. A couple of things to mention:

Screen Shot 2020-03-26 at 10.40.25 AM
Screenshot of Mr. Ingram recording with Google Meet
  • When recording in meet, when you share your screen, your web cam will still record yourself in a small window.
  • This can be a great way for team teachers to record a conversation together (you don’t even need to share your screen) as if you were teaching to students in front of you. I have heard that this has been a challenge. A history teacher is creating their own screencast while the english teacher is creating their own. But how much better could it be if they recorded their conversation!
  • In our district, our staff are not allowed to record a Google Meet if students are participating.

Want to know how to record a Google Meet?

Peardeck – Use Self-Paced Mode

Our district is fortunate to have a license with PearDeck. This is the perfect time to use the self-paced mode feature. There is no need to have to screencast everything for your students so that they can get the information that they need. You can take an existing Google Slide presentation that you already have created and, with the help of PearDeck, make a couple of slides interactive to get student engagement, feedback, and formative assessment info.

Mrs. Gaudreau tried this out with her students in her Junior Global Studies Humanities class. Students were being introduced to the Latin America Unit. Below are screenshots of some of the interactive slides that Mrs. Gaudreau included in her presentation.

If you have not tried out Student Paced mode with PearDeck yet, this might be a good time to try it out. Great way for students to work through some notes and I love the fact that each student gets their own Google Doc with the presentation and notes that they wrote throughout the presentation. Don’t know how to activate Student Paced Mode?

Those are just two ways staff have adapted this week. There were several other great examples that were shared and hope to highlight more in the future. Really proud of the work that has been accomplished so far and can’t wait to see where staff take it from here.

If you have any questions on how you can implement to features above, you know where to find me. And that is my Spiel…

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