In internet age, not even a global pandemic can cancel school

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In internet age, not even a global pandemic can cancel school

Thousands of students log in from home, but science lab dissections a disappointment
Seventh grader Jordan Meininger takes possession of her family’s dinner table to participate in online classes at Mountain Middle School. In-person classroom sessions have come to an end until at least April 30 to help limit the spread of the coronavirus, COVID-19.

In internet age, not even a global pandemic can cancel school

Seventh grader Jordan Meininger takes possession of her family’s dinner table to participate in online classes at Mountain Middle School. In-person classroom sessions have come to an end until at least April 30 to help limit the spread of the coronavirus, COVID-19.
Student-teacher trust counts both online and in person

Jessica Thompson, who teaches sixth grade social studies at Escalante Middle School, is particularly thankful she enrolled in five hours of professional development last week to familiarize teachers with online learning tools.
She’s using Nearpod in conjunction with Zoom to go beyond streaming her classroom to create video chatrooms for students during the social distancing of the coronavirus outbreak. It’s an effort to make the online world more interactive, like a classroom experience.
“There’s a feature where you can create quiz games, you can put in survey polls so you can start to have students thinking and responding in real time on a digital platform,” she said.
It’s hard to replicate the real-time perception of a teacher, who can tell when students are in sync or when they’re struggling. That’s where tools like Nearpod can help,Thompson said.
“It’s a cool way to kind of bring (online learning) to life. I’ve been experimenting with that a little bit. I would say it’s one thing that I have found successful so far,” she said.
A big part of teaching is being with students in the moment and understanding the feel of the classroom. Any technological tool that can maintain that immediacy is valuable, Thompson said.
“I want to provide students the ability to be successful with regular, rigorous learning. But without me being there. It changes a little bit,” Thompson said.
But whether that learning comes through Google Classroom or a real classroom, Thompson said, it’s relationship building with students, that counts.
“You know, of all the pieces that underlie the philosophy of teaching, so much comes from being there in person. It’s that relationship piece. It’s creating excitement. It’s reading a student in the moment to understand what they’re getting, what they’re not getting and how to help them grow,” she said.
Any tool that helps build teacher-student trust and relationships, she said, will be valuable not only during the forced school closures but when regular classrooms resume as well.
parmijo@durangoherald.com

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