As teachers continue to adapt their curriculum to meet the demands for remote learning, technological solutions, whether programs or apps, are sure to play a major role. However, it’s important to make sure that the technology is not driving the lesson, and that all students understand not only how to use the technology, but why it matters.
Here’s another installment of our “Remote Learning for Learning Differences” series, written by an anonymous 8th grader with dyslexia who is in her first week of remote learning.
For math, we got an assignment on Google Classroom. The assignment really didn’t have anything to do with math and more had to do with learning about how to use the graphing calculator app Desmos. I really don’t think we’re going to learn anything new in math over the next couple of weeks. Overall, the assignment – although it was pretty easy – was pretty stressful because it had to be done in an hour without any guidance. One kid in my class asked for guidance but didn’t get it until the last 10 minutes of class. Now it’s our homework as well. Although I’m not sure. I think it is. I wish that he had told us that before and it would have been less stressful.
After a lunch break, I went back online where there were instructions saying that they would post more instructions soon. But they never did, so I had to text one of the kids in my class to figure out what was going on. She seemed to know, but I’m not sure if I misread something or missed something – it turns out an email was sent. The email was sent by my science teacher for an assignment. This assignment was similar to the homework he usually sends us. It was ok but I wasn’t really getting a lesson and the teacher was also not online, as in my English class. At this point I felt that I can’t live like this! I have no one to talk to! I’m a social creature! it’s not good for me!!!! Anyway, I figured out what I needed to do, but it would have been nice to be able to ask questions.
While apps like Desmos and Google Calendar can be very helpful, they may create more problems than they solve. Make sure students have the support they need to navigate these sophisticated tools, that may been designed with adults in mind. Model how to use the technology explicitly and make sure students have access to support as needed. Stay tuned for more insight into the trials and tribulations of remote learning.