|Infographic courtesy of|
Connecting with students over distance has been a challenge. Tools like Google Meet and Zoom have become common vocabulary for nearly every teacher. And in the beginning, both of these tools took off as teachers and students everywhere were meeting with one another. However, it didn't take long for the first challenges to present themselves, especially "Zoombombing," which I predict to be on the list of words in the running for the Merriam-Webster Word of the Year.
While several instances of stories where teachers' sessions on Zoom and Google Meet were "hacked" and people were posting inappropriate images, saying things of an inappropriate nature, etc., and students having the ability to access sessions before or after the teacher has attended the session, the biggest issue was the lack of security features in effect. However, while these were legitimate concerns, several wins have come from these challenges. Zoom and Google both have boosted their security features that allow for teachers to have more control over meetings, such as the ability to turn on a waiting room, password protect meetings, and remove any users that are behaving inappropriately. Google has integrated Meet with Google Classroom that prevents students from accessing a session before the teacher and cannot rejoin after the teacher has left. Eric Curts of Ctrl Alt Achieve highlights this new integration in a great post, Google Meet is now integrated in Google Classroom! and Joe Marquez highlights some great Chrome extensions for Google Meet in his 5 Best Chrome Extensions for Google Meet in Education video.
And speaking of video conferencing tools, who else has had the challenge of making consistent contact with students? My school is requiring the following in regards to availability, two-way communication, and attendance for students:
- For each class period, teachers must be available online via Zoom or Google Meet for one hour
- Students' attendance will be tracked by two-way communication with teachers, which can be through video conference, phone, text, email, messaging through Google Classroom or Hangouts, or another form (I also post an "attendance" topic in Flipgrid that students can use to check-in)
- Students are required to check-in for attendance at least once a week
- Any student that is not checking in and is in danger of failing the class must be contacted by teachers (my students with IEPs have a different standard, I am required to make contact with students each day)
|Seeing this view of Mount Shasta on my |
bike rides and walks never gets old!
- Go for several daily walks and/or bike rides, especially during the workday to break up the screentime
- Drink more water! It is amazing how much better one feels when hydrated!
- Limit my food intake after dinner, something that was hard to do with the supply of junk food and leftovers of my mother's cooking in the first few weeks of quarantining with my family
- Visit the Happy Feed app and document three things that made a positive impact on me each day (Happy Feed is a journaling app, check it out in the App Store or Google Play Store)
- Interact with people via text, phone call, or video chat (how were the virtual happy hours not a thing prior to this?)
And I want to thank John VanDusen & John Wells for their thoughts on challenges and wins. While writing this, I posted a Flipgrid topic asking for thoughts and both Johns came through with their thoughts. If you would like to share your thought and see their responses, please visit https://flipgrid.com/31df78e2 and submit your own thoughts!