Caroline Abate is an educator at Uddannelsescenter Holstebro. Here she teaches physics and math and this Covid-19 year she responsible for 75 student at both physics A and Mathematics A level.
How did you handle this new situation when you first started doing online classes? What new tools and approaches did you start using?
I love learning new things, and that’s why I started to look for technology and tools for online learning. I chose to use Teams for my online lessons. I had a small Wacom-tablet (digitizer) that I could use to do live lessons with my students. In addition to that, I recorded all theory and assignments lessons.
Today I use a another Wacom-recorder (Cintiq 16) which has been essential to my live teaching. I still record my theory and assignment lessons.
What are some positive experiences you have had with online classes? Are there any activities which work just as well as in normal classes, or maybe even better?
My students have told me that my recordings have been a lifesaver for them, because they can see them over and over again. I use OneNote together with my Wacom-tablet, and my students get the notes automatically. I attach the recording to the same section in OneNote. This means that everything is in the same place because both assignments, recordings, and notes on theory are in OneNote.
Assignment review can be better virtually than physically, because drawings and sketches look better in OneNote than on the blackboard, and you can use brushes with different colours and tools such as lines and circles in OneNote.
In your experience, what does not work well in the virtual classroom?
As a teacher you easily lose track of your students, because you cannot see the students’ expression in the same way as when you are in the physical classroom. Virtual teaching is highly dependent on the student taking responsibility for his or her own learning, which can be very challenging. There are also fewer students contributing in the lessons when they are virtual. One of the most important things for the students is the social aspect: They often get together outside school and mix across ages and classes, and this is something that disapperars in the virtual classroom. Therefore, I have had to spend hours on talking to my students about other things than just school related things.
What will you take with you back to the physical classroom when it becomes possible to teach in person again?
The interesting thing is that my students now prefer a mixture between virtual and physical teaching. If our class is not in the lab, most of my students prefer to work from home. Personally, I prefer virtual lessons once in a while even though we might be able to be in our physical classroom.