Jennifer Carroll, Professional Learning Lead, Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative.
COVID-19 has not only posed a challenge for student learning, it has also caused shifts in how we engage educators in professional.As a lead trainer for an education service agency, I spend most of my days providing training to and facilitating networks of teachers, principals, district administrators and others in education.I try to model the instructional strategies we hope they are using in their classrooms, schools and districts. It is important to note that the schools and districts I work with are in rural Appalachia.Five of our districts are in the top 15 poorest counties in the nation.Finding affordable tools to share with educators is imperative.
Students in the area where I live and work are mostly engaging in virtual instruction right now as most of the counties in our state are “red,” meaning their rate of infection by COVID-19 is high. Our teachers are telling us they are having trouble getting students “engaged” in their virtual learning. Our students are being overwhelmed with the various technology tools being used in their synchronous classes. While the technology has endless capabilities sometimes it is important for kids to see how work a problem by someone holding pen rather than seeing on slide or even digital whiteboard. A key component of learning that students are missing out on right now is “processing".We are moving from direct instruction to independent practice without building in deliberate opportunities for students to process what they are learning.
Our teachers are being as creative and industrious as they can. Some have used their refrigerator, their shower stalls, the side of their stove, painted a wall with whiteboard paint and other household items as their charts or whiteboards.The problem with that ingenuity is the steps that must be taken to save the work if it is even saved at all for those students who were not in class that day or who perhaps do not have access to the internet.
Wipebook is providing an awesome, affordable tool for us to use to model this type of instruction and to share the resource with our teachers.The thinking can be scanned and saved, inserted into Powerpoints or Google Slides, saved on flash drives to be sent home with kids who do not have internet, or used in PLCs with teams or departments.The possibilities are endless.We are sharing Wipebook across the 23 districts we serve as an education service agency, using it in presentations, and even using it ourselves for continuous improvement planning!
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