Prompt: Part 2: If you moved to partly or fully remote teaching this past school year, how did you bring/could you have brought these tools into your current context? How did the shift to online, blended, or remote learning affect your experience, and (how) were you able to use tools to support your teaching? OR If you did not move to a remote context this year, how would you feel about teaching with these tools in an online or distance education class, and how would your current context be impacted if you were to shift to an online/distance format vs. face to face? Be sure to make connections to tonight’s student presentation as well as the readings provided by the group.
I utilized all of the tools mentioned in my previous post during remote learning. The nice thing about it for me and for students is that the routine was something they were used to. Go to my website and see what’s up for the day. That part didn’t change. What did change is my method of delivery (Live via Microsoft Teams or screen recorded using a mixture of Teams, QuickTime, and Camtasia). It went as well as it could have given the level of attendance of engagement that I was receiving from students. In tonight’s activity revolving around distance learning, many noted the frustration with lack of attendance and overall student productivity. Many teachers were working harder than ever before trying ton engage students, and many student simply weren’t pulling their weight.
One of the articles provided this week, written by Patricia Ananga, confirms this sentiment:
“In an interesting twist, e-learning is seen as an educational means that involves technology, communication, efficiency, and self-motivation (Bloomsburg University, 2006). This perspective goes further to indicate that due to the limited social interaction that exist between student-student and student-instructor, it is very necessary for the students to motivate themselves and have frequent communication to ensure that assigned tasks could be accomplished.” (312)
That intrinsic motivation that Ananga references, at least in the experience of many of the secondary teachers in this EC&I course, simply wasn’t present. Between emails, phone calls, messages via Remind and Microsoft Teams, there was only so much I could do to motivate students to participate in remote learning. I also got the sense from parents that they were unsure how to motivate their children, as well.
The Caruth article from this week, which outlines some of the historical context of remote learning, outlines seven aspects for assessing effective online learning:
In reflecting back on some of the work that I did during remote learning, I feel that I hit a lot of these areas with the assessments that I was doing. For achievability, I often focused on tasks that students would be able to achieve within the span of the class time for that day. Whereas in a f2f situation I might have something take multiple days of build up before any type of assessment, I found that having smaller assessments worked better for students. I tried to keep assessments as practical as possible, thus hitting the believability aspect. Assessments were measurable with examples, rubrics, and with explanations. Through smaller tasks and assessments I feel as though that kept student focus and motivation more than the alternative. I probably could have given students 2-3 weeks to work on their final portfolios during remote learning, but giving that much “free time” to students who had already had a less-than-productive hybrid learning experience was not going to be a good experience for anyone.
I think that the biggest impact that remote learning had on me was on my mental health. Though I had my wife at home with my during remote learning, I found the experience very isolating. Occasionally I had live sessions with a tenth of the students that were on my attendance list. I felt useless teaching to such a small number of students, and I received very few assignments in “on-time.” I missed socializing with my students, my friends, and my colleagues from work. While I tried to keep as productive as possible planning for future remote and hybrid learning, as well as taking graduate courses, It was difficult for me to stay positive. I realize that I was in a very privileged position to be able to work from home and receive my full salary, I just felt horrible in that despite some long work hours and additional communication required during remote learning, I did not feel as though I was really earning my wage– at least, certainly not to the extent that I feel I earn my wage during a more traditional teaching year. (Complete with all of the additional volunteer work that I do not get compensated for).
Caruth, G. D., & Caruth, D. L. (2013). Distance education in the United States: From correspondence courses to the Internet. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education, 14(2), 141-149.