The above image represents the learning model that our school had in place for the 2020-2021 school year. Students were home at their computers utilizing Google Meet to connect into the classrooms. In the classroom, all teachers had webcams installed so that the virtual student could experience synchronous learning the same as those in the classroom. With this setup, our school was able to continue without missing a beat…the students at home were learning the same thing that the students in the classroom were learning.
Now I would be lying if I told you that everything worked out perfectly and there were no problems encountered in the classroom with out teachers and students or with the students learning at home. Teachers had to think differently in terms of assessments, which meant more project based assessments in order to preserve testing integrity. Students at home were required to show up for class or be counted absent and they had to be in a uniform shirt while sitting at a table or desk. This deterred the virtual students from showing up to class in pajamas and in bed.
The question that we always ask as teachers and I especially ask as the standardized testing coordinator is if our students really learned anything during this time of virtual learning during the worst part of the pandemic. Some families were struggling with job loss and some families were struggling with deaths and sicknesses as a result of the pandemic. So, it will be interesting to see how the longitudinal data looks on our standardized testing this year, as well as our AP score data.
If I had to come up with a lesson learned for the 2021-2022 school year, it would be that our teachers really showed up! They were terrified when we told them how they would teach, but I am thankful that all the previous two years, teachers were required to have professional development in the area of technology integration to improve learning outcomes. Some immediately used the skills they learned and some checked the box for attendance.
However, the perseverance that teachers showed as they navigated new technology and protocols was simply incredible! Even though the year was extremely challenging for them, I am so thankful to work along side these amazing educators that do what it takes to educate our students.
In addition to Google Meet as our video conferencing tool, we used Google Classroom as our LMS along with an array of other software tools to pull off the learning model. Other tools used included: Google Forms, Flipgrid, Edpuzzle, Padlet, IXL Math, BrainPop, Remind, PollEveryWhere, CommonLit, Kami, Kahoot, Quizizz, and Quizlet.