Wow, what a whirlwind we are all in! Nearly every educational platform is offering free access to help out teachers. Virtual conferences, Edcamps, Youtube Tutorials are swarming feeds. Blog posts on how to survive remote learning are being promoted every second. The overload of information reminds me of one of my favorite songs…
I’m often one to get caught up in all the new and shiny. But during this pandemic, I have been more drawn to sit back and observe. I see panic, worry, and stress. In my last blog post, which I shared my initial thoughts on surviving the remote learning world, I gave the advice “stick with what you and the kids know.”
But I realize not all classrooms have something they know. So many teachers are jumping at the opportunity to try out every platform under the sun. If you are in this boat, I encourage you to slow down. Overcomplicating the way you engage with your students is only creating more stress. Here is some advice for those new to using technology to engage with your students.
More Bang For Your Buck
Many companies have been very generous in allowing you to use their platform for free. This is an attempt to support educators during a rough time. A time that many teachers were not prepared for. So while you may not be putting money up for a particular app, you don’t want to waste you or your students' time. Choose apps that allow for a variety of applications, at this point stay away from specific content area apps.
Slowly Introduce New
Don’t flood your parents with 20 apps and websites. Start small. Pick the app that you can get the most use out of. I suggest finding something that you can push to and pull from students. Examples: Google Classroom, Seesaw, etc. Use that platform often and well. Often times you can get really creative right inside of that platform without needing much else. Once students and parents are confident, you can add something new. If possible push new things through your main platform showing parents that this is still their number one source.
Do you have support?
If possible talk to colleagues and get advice on where to start. Whether those colleagues are in your building or in a virtual PLN you want to make sure you have someone to help you get started and answer questions as you go. You may even be safe if you see the company has great support, Seesaw is a great example. If you have to spend hours digging for answers and troubleshooting, it will be more stressful than it’s worth.
Ultimately, remember to breathe. You still have to take care of you!