Archive for March, 2020

Let the Remote Adventure Begin!

March 25, 2020

Class Zoom meeting number 1.  This is our first day of remote teaching.  We are going to abbreviated class periods, we are normally A/B days with 90 minute periods.  We are staying with A/B but dropping to 50 minute periods. And the day is from 9:00 to 1:00.  The kids all showed up which is a big plus. Many were linked in from bed. 9:00 is early for a teenager.  This was my senior Stats class so they can figure things out pretty easily. After this I will not be Zooming much.  Some of the kids have terrible internet. Some can only connect with their phone. Remote teaching is better than nothing but not by much.  Long term we might get this to work halfway decent. The Bishop (we are a Catholic school) has said we are shut down until May 4th. The public schools are going to try to fire up April 10th.  We will see on both dates. I have a feeling the Bishop may change his mind if the public schools seem to be OK.

We are using Google Classroom.  Thank you Google. I am getting the bugs shaken out of using Classroom.  I had not used it much before. This is the first time with quizzes and assignments.  Being the IT guy means I have to figure it out in a hurry and be able to show teachers how to use it.  Luckily most of the staff is willing to learn it on their own. It is great to work with professionals.

I can see right now it is going to be impossible to convince the kids to pretend they are in school from 9 to 11.  One of the kids linked in from a town 45 miles away where he was on the job with his dad, a plumber. Most of the others are going to sleep until noon.  We will do what we can do.

Textbooks for my math classes are going to be a bit iffy.  I found a free Precalc book for my Math 2 Honors that will work.  The trouble with that is I was not using a textbook. We were doing a free flowing math course,  see something interesting and then do it. It was a conversational class, not a textbook class. I had a broad group of topics I wanted to cover, I would find some material on it and away we would go.  The Stats class was very textbook based. I found a newer edition of the present textbook on-line but I am not sure it is a legal version. Eek. I have no choice. I do not have enough textbooks to send home.  The kids shared. If the book police have time to chase me down, so be it. I probably should find a good free legal textbook but I really do not have the time to redo my material and learn a new textbook. Stats is a class I teach because no one else wants to teach it.  I am not a big fan of stats. Watching paint dry, grass grow, doing stats. I like algebras and geometries. Now that is fun stuff. (GEEK!)

The computer classes will be easy.  I have only the Game Programming in Unity class this semester and that is all YouTube driven.  I have figured out how to remote into a student computer through Zoom so I can help with problems.  Student procrastination will be the big issue but that will be on the student. I will do weekly progress checks and an occasional Zoom just to see faces but all should be OK.  (Famous last words.) There is also the problem of good laptops but I think after today everyone will have a decent machine.

I think the biggest thing with all this is this may be just the first time this happens.  The possibilities of what could happen scare the ever loving bejeezus out of me.  

Good luck everyone.