Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Teaching from the (un)comfort of my home

The rest of this week will be spent at home with my foot elevated. I will save you from seeing the picture of a very bruised and swollen foot. I came down on a student's foot during a school volleyball marathon Sat night and the doctors think it is broken or I have some ligament or tendon damage. I'll know more later int he week.

Despite the injury, I was determined to still teach my class. I'm not the type to to just sit and do nothing. I went to school and set up my class laptop so a sub could turn it on and Skype would open and log in. I'm going to teach class using Skype.

After the first day, things went swimmingly. I had a few minor connection problems that were resolved with a re-call, but that was it. The students could hear me and I could hear them. We were able to discuss elements of the Harlem Renaissance with ease. The sub collected work and passed out other work for them to do for the night. It was pretty seamless.

The students do not have the iPads right now because I wasn't able to figure out a way to mangage the cart while I was gone. It is a minor problem that I should be able to solve later this week.

I had some of the students using the #MrPAmLit hash tag as part of a backchannel, but it wasn't actively used on the first day. I think most of the students were focusing on me and not their devices, which is a good thing. Hopefully they will get more comfortable using it as we do it more.

I like the fact that I can Skype from home and have thought about it's use if I were to travel for conferences. Skype and webcams are not standard throughout my district, but this little experiment is a good reason why they should be to some degree. I'm not a fan of spending money to make every room the same if the teacher does not need the tool, but I think it might be a good idea to reach out to teachers to see if they would be interested in having Skype in their room to connect with other educators, authors, experts, etc.

I'll keep everyone posted on how the Skype from home experiment pans out.

Have a great day everyone!