Wednesday, May 6, 2020
Teaching online through Lockdown
Some months ago, when I wrote a blog on online Teaching for iTDi, I could never imagine that the teaching world would turn digital overnight!
What changed? Covid19 came into our lives. Schools closed, shops closed, we were asked to stay home.
Education though never stops.
First of all there was a need to keep things going. Students had to do something to keep learning and to feel useful. You cannot keep anybody inside without a purpose. Secondly, there's also the financial reasons.
If you read my itdi blogpost, you'll see that teaching online was not strange to me. I have had online students for at least 5 years now. And it worked. Of course these were (and still are) people who know what they want and determined to make things work.
Coming to the new reality, of course I didn't want to lose my students. Some people are supposed to take exams and I wouldn't want the rest to fall behind. If you stop studying for some time, then you lose track and have to start all over again when you decide to go back to learning.
Some people agreed immediately. After all we had been studying online from time to time. Others took their time and when they saw that it would take a long time to get back to normal life, they, too went online. Some were really negative to the whole idea with comments that online teaching can never replace face to face, or even that it is no teaching when you are in front of the camera. And they stopped.
For these people, asynchronous learning could be a solution, but unfortunately people do not appreciate the work you put into this, so this would be unpaid work (since I am a freelance).
To tell the truth, I felt really bad about this, not only because I had to lose some students - so less money, but also because some people did not appreciate my work. But that's the way it is, so I didn't bother more.
Let's go back to the online teaching.
Skype mainly - since it is a common app, almost everybody have it in their computers or mobile phones, easy to use. With a combination of Google drive or dropbox to post archives with homework and material it had worked wonders so far. My students could use their books or I could send them materials like videos, exercises, texts to work on.
Of course I tried to find more useful tools for my teaching, so I experimented with Webex and Zoom, which are both more or less the same, you can host more than one person, share your screen, highlight and use the breakout rooms for partner or group work, which is really good if you have a lot of people attending.
Since I do blended learning or should I say teaching, I also loved Quizlet, Educandy and Edmodo for games and assignements.
It goes without saying though, that I have always adjusted to my students' needs. This means that I have also taught with FB messenger, Viber, What's up, I have sent assignements though email, I have received essays to mark in photos or even had conversational class on the phone.
Teaching Online is not an easy job. You have to spend hours to prepare activities and sometimes this takes more time than in your regular face to face lessons. Sometimes you spend so much time on the screen that your eyes hurt and sometimes you sit on your desk for so many hours which is bad for your body.
Anyway, Lockdown is over, danger is not over - I am continuing online at least until the end of the month and then we'll see how it goes. School year is almost over anyway.
To be continued ...
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