Teaching during the global pandemic presented challenges for both the teacher (me) and students (my Grade 5 class). The concept of distant learning/online classes was met with apprehension and reluctance to move from face-to-face instruction to remote delivery. I asked myself, “how can I remotely teach a student that is my neighbor living 5 minutes away from me?”. As I explored the task of distant learning it was necessary to collaborate with teachers and plan remote delivery. This was the start of my transition from my behaviorist style of classroom instruction to the connectivist style.
I anticipated that using technology to deliver curriculum would require a new skill set and practice. I had not used much technology to deliver instruction previous to the global pandemic. Learning in my classroom was centered on the behaviorist and cognitive approaches. My students learned through interaction within the classroom environment and received information which they could store and later retrieve when needed. To make the transition to online learning required lots of organizational planning.
I advocated for equal opportunity for all students. I knew there would be challenges and barriers to deal with as we moved to distant learning. Ananga sums it up nicely when she stated, “when we consider distant learning we must also think of the learning environment of the learner” (Ananga, 2020, p.311). Collaboration with staff on which platforms/online tools to use was necessary to achieve continuity of established programming. We had Literacy, Math, Language, and Land Based programs that we set goals for school wide programming. The distant and online technology we utilized:
- Zoom class – we scheduled core subjects per grade so there was no overlap of instructional time. Some households had children in multiple grades and had to share devices.
- RazKids – our students were assessed with Levelled Literacy Intervention and we decidec to continue levelled reading.
- Seesaw – used to supplement ELA and Math. Lesson work was assigned and students posted and uploaded work.
- Mathletics – our Math teacher activated accounts and posted independent work for each students. Math teacher also taught Zoom class.
The staff met weekly, and we modified the distant learning model as these challenges and barriers surfaced:
- We created homework packages and delivered to students because online attendance was minimal
- student’s needed one-on-one instruction
- Literacy Coach started to teach a Zoom class when we realized the inclusive education students wanted to be part of the regular online class.
- Wifi devices were given to home that had not internet
- We created chatrooms to communicate with each parent
- We had monthly curbside drop off of completed homework packages
- students were tired during online class
- students needed social engagement so the Phys. Ed. teacher taught a zoom class and we had virtual spirit week
The success of my distant learning instruction was validated when students returned to 100% in class instruction. I continued with the technology tools and blended it with face-to-face, whole group instruction. Each student continued to use their Google Chromebook with RazKids, Mathletics and Seesaw.
The impact of online learning and using technological tools in the classroom has shifted my way of delivering instruction. As we gather to learn in my classroom, I make daily plans to blend traditional ways of teaching with technology.
Ekosi. Thank you for reading my blog.