I have long said that being a classroom teacher is like being Santa. The Tooth Fairy is busy every night of the year but Santa has to be everywhere all at the same time. As teachers, we want to be able to help all of our students at once — in pre-covid times, we could check on students by walking around/circulating the classroom. This type of informal assessment could help teachers gauge student learning and make in-the-moment decisions about pacing and content. In a digital or hybrid environment, getting feedback is more challenging especially when many teachers are doing both In Person and Online.
Teaching in 2 modes simultaneously is the reason that many teachers (and their unions) have been reluctant to go back into the building. It’s not just the health risk of being with students (hopefully your state/country has made the vaccine available to educators) but rather the demand to teach to those students in front of you while also addressing the needs of the students who are at home.
Some online tools that have been helpful:
A second computer or monitor (which I may now finally invest in)
Having a stylus or pen for writing on a tablet/screen
Many of these tools allow for student input and teacher feedback digitally to foster critical thinking and build community. Hoping that these tools can help students feel like they got a visit from Santa!
I also plan to incorporate Project Based Learning which will encourage students to choose their own numbers/topic/place to create opportunity for independent and original work.
Please feel free to comment with any ideas/suggestions.
Here is a Wish List (Tools I have imagined (but am not sure if they exist):
Chat Monitor Notification (a sound when someone types into the chat)
Authentication of Student Work/Presence (Beyond Lockdown Browsers)