A Day in the Life…

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!

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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!!

11 thoughts on “A Day in the Life…

  1. Melinda

    Hi Jocelyn,

    I work at a community school, just like you, and we have been experiencing the difficulties caused by the digital divide as well. It took us more than a month to get devices to our students. Many of our families have bigger problems to deal with than engaging in the supplemental learning. Sometimes a phone call to the parents means more than online teaching. As you mentioned, human connections are crucial.

    I have been listening to Dr. Jody Carrington’s podcasts as well. She is a breath of fresh air in my everyday life.
    I wish you good luck and stay healthy! 🙂
    Melinda

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  2. There certainly is a digital divide in our building. As people ponder what next year may look like I often think about how this divide would undoubtedly grow exponentially if online learning were to become the norm. I am so impressed what you and the other people in this building have done during these strange times. I can only hope we have some semblance of normal next year.

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  3. Thanks for sharing your thoughts yet technology is constantly changing and being out of the loop for even a bit can cause a gap for sure. I love the fact that you brought up the digital divide. That’s something we’ve got to address. I think technology is becoming more of a necessity than a want. I missed the kids to face-to-face but I have enjoyed the virtual connections. Thanks a lot for sharing.

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    1. I think the virtual connections have provided some really interesting opportunities that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. In a weird way I feel a little more connected with some of my students because of this.

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  4. Great insight. I often wonder the same thing. When we discuss the digital divide there are often many moving pieces. Many times the ability to give and access devices are the easiest issues to be solved. But the digital divide goes beyond devices as you mentioned. Many people don’t have internet access. We have similar situations in our division, but many students being rural do not have access to high-quality internet connections. I wonder if the digital divide also includes the ability to have the understanding and knowledge to use the devices. Many do not have this understanding are they are not digitally literate.

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    1. I imagine the internet connection would be tough in some rural communities for sure. I taught in a rural community my first 4 years of teaching. I am sure a lot of the older students are helping out on the farm right now too so that would play a factor.

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  5. Sherrie Meredith

    Jocelyn, This digital divide is huge. Our division is doing its best to address the lack of technology in homes, but there is little to be done about internet connections, and data students have. Our school is doing PD on Dr. Jodie Carrington. I am excited to get started, and am pleased that it is open online PD that can be done any time. My plate seems full now but I look forward to it because I know she has important things to say that can help us all come to terms with our new teaching/learning environment.

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  6. Digital divide….such an interesting topic you bring up! I’d love to learn more about how your school is working towards narrowing this gap as I also work at a community school and am experiencing that same lack of participation due to these boundaries.
    As for Jody Carrington, I have signed up for her PD sessions but need to start to set aside time to go through the modules. I’ve heard nothing but great things.
    Great thoughts on your first official post!

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