Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Learning and H1N1: Students Skyping into Class

I think make-up work is the bane of every teacher’s existence. No one I know likes the idea of kids missing class, and then having to relay information not just once, or twice, but multiple times to kids who are missing from class. Lately, with our good friend H1N1 making his presence known in our schools, make-up work and sick kids are on the rise. It seems that everyday for the past week or so when I have started class with my cheery “Hello everybody” the number of students replying “Hello Smith” is dwindling. And that makes me sad.

In order to combat this loss of personality in my classroom, and more importantly to keep my students abreast of what we are discussing, I showed the kids Skype the other day. We talked about how I used Skype extensively last year with my grad school classes at Pepperdine, and how they too can stay in contact with the class even though they are at home in bed sick. I had a few students take me up on the offer to Skype into class yesterday and today. The students have different computers at home with two capable of using a webcam and microphone and the other just being able to listen and text/chat back to class. What was really impressive was that the students’ willingness to be connected back into our class when they are at home feeling crummy. They want to participate, they want to stay in touch, they want to continue to learn and aren’t letting the flu get in their way. Watching my other students react to the webcam in our classroom and then being able to watch the girls and boy connect into class, many of the students thought about what an amazing use of technology they were witnessing. We were truly extending the walls of the classroom to homes in Littleton doing our own part, along with the number of hand sanitizing dispensers we have installed here at AHS, to put H1N1 out of our minds and keep on exploring the wonderful world of Macbeth.


Carolyn Foote said...

LOVE this idea! As always!

schledewitwe said...

I was searching blogs to respond to, in requirement of a TE Technology course, and was most interested to find that skyping is available to use in the case of students missing classes due to H1N1 or other health problems I assume. This technology is certainly present in most all schools in the United States and many homes, or could be easily made available. I certainly can see that the setbacks and extra tasks associated with student – class separations are disruptive. Especially, for extended time periods that can have long term negative impacts on students, teachers and classes. Thank you for making this blog available, it was certainly informative and applicable to the teaching arena.

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