Tech, Teaching and Me

Trying to turn off my brain by writing it down

Digitally Present?-Guest Blogger Mrs.Lynn Woods

on February 7, 2013

Please welcome, my friend and colleague, Mrs. Lynn Woods. I asked her to blog about her last few days where she had students “beaming in” to her classes. Enjoy!

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I have always dreamed of being able to transport myself to a different location like Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock on the Star Trek television series of my youth. Ordinary travel seems so mundane. The reality is that I will probably not ever achieve this little dream and the fact is now that I am older, much older, I am not so sure I want my molecules scattered around and reassembled in another place, perhaps in another order. That could only result in chaos, but a little bit of Star Trek technology could not be a bad thing and this week at SGGS the students brought the future to the teachers, and I welcome it.

As teachers we say “We touch the future”, but this week the future touched me. Several of my students attended class via Google Hangout on their computers and it was very exciting. The first break  in our classroom walls came when we had a student who needed outpatient surgery in the morning but he really wanted to attend the Social Justice Club meeting we have in the afternoon. He came through the surgery well and when I returned to my classroom after traffic duty, there he was with the other students waiting for the meeting to start. He was the laptop sitting on the desk surrounded by the other members of the club. While he lounged on the sofa recovering, we watched a video clip on our Smartboard, discussed the video, practiced reading our announcements for Genocide Awareness Month in April, and ate popcorn. The only activity he could not participate in was the popcorn eating! It was absolutely amazing that he could follow on his laptop and participate in all aspects of the meeting minus the popcorn. At one point, he felt uncomfortable on the sofa of his living room and moved to the bedroom without skipping a beat!

A few days later, a dedicated student was feeling poorly and his mother decided to keep him home. That did not stop him from coming to school. The night before he emailed all his teachers and asked permission to attend via Google Hangout on his laptop. The teachers were all game to try it. Sure enough, first thing in the morning there he was on a laptop in religion class completing his 3 Minute Meditation and showing his homework to the teacher. He proceeded on to all his classes for the day on the various laptops of his peers. He did not miss a beat. He completed his grammar and math maintenance taking screenshots of the diagrams and board work. Fellow students sent him written questions if there was a handout and he participated in answering questions and discussions. After a very short while, it just seemed natural that he was there. Sadly, he could not join us for lunch and recess but he needed his rest.

We now have the dilemma of deciding if he was actually absent or if he was digitally present. I vote for digitally present and not counting him absent. His parents were very pleased that he kept up with  his school work and we teachers are just thrilled that not only do we have such a dedicated student body but we also had such an amazing experience. Another question – since we are a school that wears uniforms, was he supposed to wear his uniform while beaming in?

The classroom walls are beginning to crumble!


One response to “Digitally Present?-Guest Blogger Mrs.Lynn Woods

  1. patriasmiley says:

    Congratulations, Lynn for being a guest blogger and kudos, to you, Kay, for having Lynn share such a great story! As Lynn said, it’s amazing just how far we have come to be able to share over time, distance and separation. As wonderful as that experience was, I have to say what tops it for me is that the teachers and the students share the same love of learning! Impressive!

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