Covid Online Response

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15 thoughts on “Covid Online Response”

  1. Ironic thing is that there is a lot of talk on Twitter where teachers are saying we shouldn’t insist that the camera is on- that we are basically violating privacy by doing so, kids are under so much pressure, etc.

    I myself have adapted the Interpersonal Communication Rubric for e-learning and those who are continually off-camera are going to be in for a surprise. Of course, I did have them and their parents sign off on it.

  2. That sounds like a good plan. When the parents and kids sign off on an agreement, they are basically not going to plead hardship. Their signing off sends a signal that they can in fact turn their video on – conscious agreement is good. I stick w my 98% guess of who is being real.

  3. But you also have to take into consideration connectivity issues. In rural areas, many students do not have adequate bandwidth to support video, especially if multiple siblings are all on Zoom/Meets concurrently. When using breakout rooms, I even have to turn my video camera off or else it glitches and crashes. As frustrating as this whole scenario is, we have to be flexible and pick our battles wisely. If students can show that they are connecting and responding in class, sometimes we have to let things like video go.

  4. I’m constantly thinking and struggling about this topic, Ben. I appreciate your provocation. It makes me think more.

    I feel like it should be easier for students to rest their eyes on me speaking to them when doing it remotely. They don’t have to fight off distractions from the classroom.

    The majority of them are so adverse to showing their face. I guess it’s a thing of being an adolescent. The insecurity. Some will only show their foreheads and gesture with me but in the air, above their heads. Some will only show down to their eyes. I plead and I beg. I make it a topic for conversation. Everyday. I feel like I haven’t been successful, but then I talk to the other teachers, like the History teachers yesterday. They say they hardly see any of their students, ever. They don’t know what most of their students look like. So, my 1/2 of the class showing at least their forehead (LOL) is extraordinary.

    Well, people say school life and work life will see major changes when the pandemic is over. Us helping our students to get their faces in the screens is, I think, major preparation to help them navigate this new world. It’s not just temporary.

    All that said, I still feel like Google / Zoom should make a feature for the teacher to be able to enable students from seeing each other and only see the teacher.

  5. Ben, I had asked before how people are reading with their students through Zoom/ Google Meets. I’m talking about how we read the text that we wrote after co-narrating a story. I believe you shared with me that you’ve published something about this previously. Could you share that again?

    In the classroom, I’ll do Snap Reading and other ways in which students can verbally respond in the moment. That’s impossible with Google Meets because only one person can talk at a time. So, I’m left with students gesturing with me as I read, and a quick quiz here and there.

    Are there any other ways people are engaging students in whole-class reading? Ways that are CI friendly?

  6. If the online crisis brought by COVID at least ferrets out this issue of them showing their faces, then that is at least one good thing the pandemic has brought to us.

    Here is a a heavy sentence: If our students are taught using the Star (or any other proven online language instruction tool), then they WILL WANT TO SHOW THEIR FACES. So it’s up to us to figure out how to build up enough interest in what we are doing.

    It is inexcusable – this thing w shutting off the video function.

  7. This that you wrote Sean is of massive importance:

    all that said, I still feel like Google / Zoom should make a feature for the teacher to be able to enable students from seeing each other and only see the teacher….

  8. In response to the question about how to follow up in reading from the Creation Phase, that is too much to explain here. It is all described in my newest books, but there is no way to answer it here since it is an entire curriculum, the last one I’ll ever write and luckily one that addresses the online lang instruction problem beautifully. I’m so proud of it. I think it has been stolen and shared with many teachers by a covert narcissist with whom I used to work, a person up there with Trump – i.e. really evil – in narcissistic nastiness and lack of empathy for anyone but herself, a real thief, but who wants to go into that? Certainly not me. That is some nasty shit that I am fortunately now free of.

  9. You know, I end up talking with the students that show their faces. We have fun. We move. We laugh. Too bad those that don’t turn on their camera want to take part.

    I mean, all they literally have to do is put their eyes on me. “Sit Up. Square Shoulders. Clear Eyes.” It is the hardest thing for them (not all. maybe 50%). I’m afraid many of them are depressed and just don’t know how to take care of themselves, so they fear showing their faces and showing their depression to others.

  10. I agree Sean. We are in deep doo-doo in our country right now. All the more reason to stand tall in whatever capacity we can for these kids. We must be their champions now. This is a time of immense trial.

  11. Alisa Shapiro-Rosenberg

    Thank you for diving into this crucial issue.
    From my 8th grade daughter: “Sometimes I feel insecure and I just don’t feel like staring at myself for an hour, so I turn the camera on at the beginning of the lesson, then I turn it off. Sometimes it’s a ‘low self esteem about how I look’ day. My moods sometimes dictate whether to keep the camera on or not.”
    She says kids post on their Instagram that they don’t like that teachers are ‘forcing’ them to turn on camera when they are listening in class. When I asked her, ‘How can the teacher be sure students are engaged or even present if their camera is off?’ she says maybe check in w/an email w/that kid, stating that you noticed camera is ‘off,’ is there anything I (T) should know?’ etc.
    She also said she observed that some kids have noisy, bustling households and are hesitant to unmute & participate orally, ‘revealing’ the noise…
    Clearly the household & family are camera factors, on top of mood, isolation and equity issues (connectivity, socio-economic, and more). We can manage our brick & mortar classroom environment (for noise, order, preferential seating – kids don’t have to be looking at each other or in a ‘mirror’!) better than onscreen. All the best community-building and high interest teaching may not counteract the deleterious effects of isolation, depression, anxiety that many are facing.

      1. Another thing is if they feel that way about their appearance due to our most-toxic societal expectations of them, then how must they feel in their regular classrooms during “normal” times?

        I never had that thought in over 40 years when doing self-reflection on my teaching, which I did 24/7 for that long. Wished I had! I wouldn’t have been so hard on myself. Damn.

  12. Alisa Shapiro-Rosenberg

    Regarding round-robin (one at a time) style reading – here’s a suggestion – dunno what the button names in Hangouts are but it works over Zoom. You screenshare the reading, then you ask for volunteers to raise their ‘little blue hand’ to read. The teacher gets a private list of whose hands are up. You can ask that reader to unmute with a private button, ‘ask to unmute’. Everyone else stays muted.
    Also I often disable the ‘allow participants to unmute themselves’ while I’m talking or asking because 1. little kids and their households can be noisy, and 2. choral responses come in staggered – not as a chorus. Responses lag due to tech – and it sounds bad. When we sing Happy Birthday it sounds awful! So Sean I don’t believe there’s a high-quality-audio way to read chorally over videoconference platforms – Music classes are having trouble with group singing and instrumentation for this very reason, no matter the platform.

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