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Teachers use technology, creativity amid crisis

By: Cinde Ingram

HIGH POINT — Teachers have adapted their kitchens and living rooms to teach classes from home while schools remain closed until May 15 to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“It has definitely been a learning curve, both for teachers and students,” said Donna Christy, a Guilford County Schools advanced math teacher at Northern Guilford High School who lives in High Point.

After 30 years in the classroom, her video conference lesson Thursday was a first for Christy.

“It was so wonderful to either see their faces or hear their voices,” Christy said.

She had attended a Zoom meeting for the first time last week. Her prior experience using the Remind app to text assignments, announcements about upcoming tests or to answer student questions in a secure format proved helpful for getting students onto a Zoom conference, but Christy said she may have to use either Skype or Canvas conferencing for future lessons.

“I didn’t have a big participation with this first one and so I’m hoping the next one will be better,” she said. “That’s why I wanted to do it this week, because it was more of a practice form. I’m hoping that we will start actually giving grades next week.”

Christy can log on to see which students have been on Canvas, an online learning management system that has been used by the district for about five years. Starting Monday, teacher-created lessons became available through Canvas to reinforce what students have been learning in the classroom and help prevent learning loss. Teachers will not be taking attendance or taking grades, but participation is encouraged.

“We want to help our students continue learning and stay on track while they are out of school,” said Whitney Oakley, chief academic officer.

At Ledford High School in Davidson County, teachers also are engaging students through various technologies, including Canvas, Zoom, Remind, Flipgrid, Google Classroom and email.

“For the most part, students are interacting on the digital platforms, but the workday now is very different,” said Tonia Moxey, who teaches junior and senior English and Communications II. “Teenagers, as you may know, are nocturnal beings, … night owls, if you will. Many begin working around lunchtime and into the evening hours.”

Since Gov. Roy Cooper ordered schools closed March 18, Ledford students and faculty have posted photos and messages on social media @LedfordProud to share distance learning and telecommuting experiences. Ledford’s foods and nutrition teacher started an Instagram account called LHS Foods to showcase foods her students are learning about and cooking at home.

“Students and teachers alike, despite the technology we have in place, miss the social interaction of a normal face-to-face school day,” Moxey said. “We are taking things day by day and being optimistic, but our kids miss school, and we miss them being there as well.”

Guilford County Schools also encourages parents to share a photo of their child learning at home on its social media channels using the hashtag #KeepLearningGCS. GCS will continue to update families through its COVID-19 website.

Link to Original Post: https://hpenews.com/news/14954/teachers-use-technology-creativity-amid-crisis/