I have always thought of myself as someone that did not struggle with technology. After taking a year off during my maternity leave I came back to school and could not believe how much had changed. All of a sudden google docs, google classroom and new websites and programs were common language at our staff meetings. I felt lost. I felt like I had been gone for years! It was a huge learning curve for me this past year and now those are the main tools I use for my teaching. I still feel I have so much to learn and so many more resources I could be using. I am excited to continue adding more tools to my tool belt!
As a student support teacher, using google docs and google classroom has allowed me to keep in touch with my students and the teachers I work with. Another tool we use regularly is zoom or google duo with zoom being the more popular choice. Unfortunately, working in a community school using technology has proven to be a big challenge. Only a handful of students have internet access or access to a computer. A lot of the students that do have access to computers are not the ones we need to connect with the most. Our highest needs kids seem to be the ones that are toughest to reach. The connection we spent building with these students all year has ended in the toughest way. When talking to friends at other schools within our city I can see how obvious our digital divide is. Our low income families, our EAL families and even some of the other families rely on other places to use the internet. However, due to Covid, they do not have that opportunity. This seems to be the biggest hurdle in our current situation. We have families that want to take part in online learning and we have provided them with computers to do so but we cannot provide families with internet when they do not have any at home.
As amazing as being able to see one another and having the opportunity to chat is, the connection is just not the same. I have had the pleasure of seeing Dr. Jody Carrington live a couple of times and our staff is just diving into her online course. In her book, Kids These Days, she talks a lot about connection and how important it is. If you haven’t heard about her, she is worth checking out!
I think technology is so helpful and it has furthered our learning immensely but there are some things technology cannot replace. I so miss being in the school and seeing those kids faces everyday! Even on the most challenging days!!