Going Live: Switching to Online Learning During COVID-19

As a science teacher, I was familiar with ways to incorporate technology into my daily classes at Price Middle School.

But when the COVID-19 situation rapidly escalated, causing in-person classrooms to close indefinitely, I had to pull out all my tech skills to help make a smooth transition for my students and fellow teachers.

Here are some of the ways my technology transition to a virtual classroom has been successful:

  • Through Google Classroom, I prioritize maintaining a normal routine and connecting with students. Every day, we start class with a time for social-emotional learning before getting into science content. To carry this practice into the virtual classroom, I post our Mood Meter, a chart of different emotions students may be feeling, and ask them to share in the comment section what their “feeling word” is of the day. Surprisingly, students are very interactive and respond well to sharing their emotions with classmates online. I also make sure to conclude every virtual class asking students to share where they are on the Mood Meter.

I was completely surprised by the reaction of one particular student to the online Mood Meter check. This student, who is one of my more challenging students when we are in the building, resonated with the online connection to his classmates. After the virtual class, he stuck around to get some tips on how to do different things in Google classroom.

During that extra time with him, I got to “virtually” meet his siblings, who were also interested in learning. Without the online connection he and I made that day, I never would have gotten to know him in this way. I’m sure it will impact our time together when we’re back in the classroom.

  • Through Facebook Live, I chat with parents and answer specific questions about Google Classroom. This helps reassure parents that teachers are still working tirelessly behind the scenes to provide lessons and instructions as a way to minimize any instructional gaps while physically away from the school building.
  • Through Google Hangouts, I hosted an online session for fellow staff members who needed additional assistance with Google Classroom and Hangouts. With my previous experience using the platforms, I was happy to share tips to make the process more seamless for colleagues.
As we brace ourselves for an extended period of virtual learning, let’s remember that sometimes our greatest challenges can become our greatest triumphs. If we continue to use every resource available to us to ensure continued learning and connection for our students, this season will surely be a triumph.