Technology When Life Gets Complicated

As I’ve been posting, I haven’t officially taught a class since February 18th because of the protests. The kids stopped coming to school at least a week before that though.

This time away from school has me reflecting on students with interrupted formal education.

It happens.

A lot.

My father’s schooling, for example, was interrupted because of the Nigerian civil war. He went on to get his college and graduate degrees in the States, but I can’t help but wonder how much it throws students (and teachers) off when school is suspended indefinitely.

Am I following my curriculum right now? Don’t even ask. I’m trying to figure out what my curriculum will even be at this point.

Students stop attending school for various reasons: war, civil unrest, a migratory lifestyle, pregnancy, a strike, fill in the blank here.

Regardless of the reasons, it can cause the gains that students and teachers work hard to achieve erode.

My school is encouraging us to reach out to students via the internet, but it’s been difficult. Quite frankly, I’m a fish out of water. I know how to teach in a classroom setting. I don’t know how to teach–and keep kids accountable–when all learning suddenly has to transition online.

A kid may not feel as pressed to do her work if she can’t see my pursed lips for two weeks when work isn’t handed in.

While Skyping with a colleague back in the States, I learned about Jing.

I’m a huge fan. Long story short, it’s a way to create an audio-visual screencast of your computer. You can then e-mail the screen cast to students (or whoever you want to communicate with).

My students were in the middle of writing scripts when the protests occurred. Jing has been a lifesaver. Students (some, let’s be real) have been e-mailing me their drafts, and I have been able to give them written and verbal feedback. Visual and audio feedback is crucial when working with an English Language Learner population.

Enter Jing.

I love it, and the kids I’ve heard from seem to like it too.

Jing, you have my heart.


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