1. Discovered the polling feature in Zoom and I am excited to start trying to use it to facilitate Peer Instruction (PI) during distance learning. Perhaps use it for PI during face-to-face instruction as well?
2. Contemplating the use of Jamboard for peer collaboration in the online learning space as a supplement to Padlet. Padlet for final product presentation and Jamboard for group brainstorm?
3. I was extremely happy with this prompt in my engineering class and student products as the engineering design cycle proceeds.
4. Idea for review game in Zoom for next week: Breakout groups respond to questions in a Google form. Push questions out via live broadcast. Students must be focused since pushed message goes away eventually.
5. Keeping #4 in mind, my class surveys indicate that students don't seem to like breakout rooms. So, yeah...
Yesterday I was in search of some new "kitchen chemistry" labs (100% distance learning) for my students to perform in my Honors Chemistry class as we begin relating covalent bonding and molecular geometry to Intermolecular Forces.
Tired of the same activities used during my distance learning course last semester (pepper, soap, water, etc.) I was drawing a blank as to a safe, exciting, and simple activity students could do that would not require a trip to the store for parents.
SERENDIPITOUSLY, the exact same day, my 3rd grade daughter had this Kiwi Crate activity delivered as part of her subscription (gift from the Grandparents!). Boom! Parchment paper, food coloring, and it as on! I then created this activity on the spot, which led to this Padlet 24 hours later. Thanks Kiwico!
Moving forward I will be using Friday's to write a simple reflection on five things that worked well in the "classroom" each week (distance learning or face-to-face) This post is meant to be simple, to the point, and may contain obvious realizations about teaching and learning. I apologize ahead for any redundancy in previous posts, and feel the need to reflect on the week in a concise way is meaningful for me, and hopefully other teachers, looking for empathy, insight, or ideas.
1. Having music playing while students enter Zoom set a relaxing tone. Many students sent messages in the private Zoom chat requesting a playlist of songs I have playing. Phoebe Bridgers was the artist of choice this week!
2. Using the "File Upload" and "Quiz" feature in Google forms for students to "submit" images of work for grading created a much more efficient way to quickly assess written work. Click here for simple form example.
3. Padlet continued to be an excellent place for students to demonstrate hands-on work in my science classes. Click here and here for examples from this week's chemistry class.
4. Setting aside 15 minutes to grade each day was MUCH more effective, and rewarding, than my usual bulk grading.
5. Student excitement around videos related to Assistive Technology this week confirmed that the field is a meaningful and engaging medium for teaching engineering to young students.
This is a short post/journal entry about something that has been on my mind, and nagging at me since the beginning of distance learning.
I have noticed a shift in my teaching that occurs when I minimize student cameras while teaching in Zoom. That is, they can see me, and the screen I am sharing, but I cannot see them.
Paradoxically, I have noticed that my instruction, and ability to connect with them increases. I feel more comfortable, free, and open to share knowledge in clear and structured ways.
This realization has been strange, in that I depend heavily on my relationships with students during face-to-face instruction, however in the Zoom setting, seeing their faces while teaching particularly complex information seems to decrease my ability to connect via the content.
My working hypothesis is that, while face-to-face instructions offers a true, human connection, a Zoom window places emphasis on facial expression. Perhaps my empathetic side is overly drawn to student facial expressions, inhibiting me from pushing through complex concepts, while I am pulled into looks of frustration, confusion, etc?
When I do not see them (gallery minimized) I can push through this moment better, allowing time for students to negotiate the complexity before I jump in and "rescue" them from their perplexity, something I do naturally.
In the face-to-face setting, this perplexity exists in the context of a myriad of other variables that make the relationship more simple, meaningful, and real. With only a confused face I almost feel paralyzed at times.
Thus, I have been exposing the entire class during discussion/Q&A and minimizing their visibility during direct instruction. I'm not sure what I'm saying here, but I felt a need to put it into writing. I am very much looking forward to being with my students in the classroom once again.
Side note, this came back to bite me once when, in the middle of a lecture where I was sharing my screen and had their cameras minimized, the students surprised me with the below. I was not responding and kind student said "Um...Ramsey, can you see us?". Ha! awkwardly caught red-handed!