Teaching online is easily one of the hardest moments of my teaching career. 

I had developed strong teaching skills and strategies that were based on best practices. I had excellent classroom management skills and techniques. I was great at developing relationships with my students. Suddenly I had to throw this all out the window and experiment with many new techniques, tools and strategies that I was not familiar with. I did not know if I would be able to engage my students. They ALL felt like a risk. I was really out of my comfort zone!

I had developed a Google Classroom and was already skilled in using this platform. But I needed to be able to expand what I was posting to the Classroom. Not all students were coming to designated meeting times. I needed a way to teach students at any time of the day or whenever was convenient for them. After speaking with my colleagues, I began trying new things such as recording our lessons on our phones and uploading them. This method worked, but was clunky. 

We tried recording a Zoom meeting as we taught and uploading the meeting to Google Classroom. This was much more effective, especially because it captured student questions and answers. But this also raised privacy concerns as we have now recorded students names,  and faces and posted them to Google Classroom. While this was effective it was not something we could continue. 

Next we tried recording our teaching without the students being present and using Screencastify.

This was a game changer for myself and my students. It allowed them to watch and rewatch as needed. It instantly gave them the flexibility to access lessons when they were available.  And it also allowed students to work at their own pace. As I made and uploaded videos, students began working weeks ahead while others needed more time to work on previous lessons.

As an educator I have used Seesaw and I have used this as a parent as well. I really found this effective as a parent of very young children, especially during online learning. This was easy for them to navigate, and it was easy for me to help them find and upload work. This is an easy to use app. However, the computer version is easier to use than the mobile version.

In 6.2 A Short History of Educational Technology – Teaching in a Digital Age, social media is referenced as a subcategory of technology. I have already referenced how valuable Zoom has been during online learning, but several other social media platforms have also been helpful.

“Social media cover a wide range of different technologies, including blogs, wikis, YouTube videos, mobile devices such as phones and tablets, Twitter, Skype and Facebook. Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein (2010) define social media as

a group of Internet-based applications that …allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content, based on interactions among people in which they create, share or exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks.” 

Teaching older students has enabled me to use several of the social media platforms such as Twitter (now X), wikis, blogs and especially YouTube. Students are able to create and find content that is valuable to them and engaging.