New education tools introduced by teachers for virtual education sessions In order to resemble their regular classes, websites like Nearpod, Pear Deck, Socratic will be used

During her class overview, Anatomy & Physiology teacher Mary Breslin includes a slide of websites she plans on using in first semester. More technology tools will be integrated into coursework to increase interactivity and to aid in learning as the year progresses. “When students work together and collaborate, they help one another learn more effectively; therefore, to encourage more student participation, interaction and collaboration, I am using these other programs,” Anatomy & Physiology teacher Mary Breslin said. “Nearpod allows a teacher to incorporate many different student response activities so that you can check for understanding in real-time during a lesson. With anything, practice makes perfect. So the more you interact with the information, the more familiar and comfortable you will become with it.”

Teachers in CCSD are adapting to a virtual environment and using Canvas, as well as a variety of supplementary programs to figure out what will work best in their classrooms to increase engagement and interactivity. 

“So far it’s a learning curve and there’s a little bit of frustration and anxiety with that,” English 11 and Public Speaking instructor Henry Castillo said. “But I think as I continue to incorporate these apps and software throughout my different courses that I will see a wonderful opportunity to continue what I love doing, but do it in a unique and creative way considering the circumstances.”  

Google Classroom and Schoology were used as the main learning management system, but as a change the school district is requiring teachers and students to use Canvas this year.

“Virtual education has been really hard and it’s not the easiest to get used to,” junior Isabell Min said. “Google classroom was pretty simple compared to Canvas and because we have eight classes it’s been difficult to keep track of assignments. It hasn’t been the easiest and overall I’m hoping that I get used to Canvas because it’s just adding a lot of stress and it’s only the first week of school.”

Teachers also have access to GoGuardian to observe what students are doing during assignments or tests. Algebra I teacher Kristin Landau plans on using it during formative assessments. 

“At the moment I’m designing all my assessments so that you can’t just look up the answers or use Photomath,” Landau said. “And in the future for math testing, I am going to be locking out screens by using websites such as GoGuardian so that kids cannot open a new window and start googling the answers.”

As the year progresses, teachers such as Fashion & Design teacher Levi Miles hope to diversify lessons and bring somewhat of the hands-on aspect back. 

“Routine is good, but variety is definitely the spice of education,” Miles said. “This year the key for teaching is making sure that the content is engaging and that they [students] have a way to interact with it, since this year we have lost the hands-on element and I hope that everyday students wake up and look forward to coming to my class. And, I have queued up Nearpod and FlipGrid and I am going to be experimenting with different websites like that. These websites are pretty accessible and they have pretty neat features such as Flipgrid where you can actually use Minecraft for education.” 

Do you think these programs will help students understand the curriculum better?