This week showed promise of true education. While there were the now all-too-common mishaps, there were more successes! For one, I managed to get the speaker to work for all listeners. Now, remote learners can hear the in-person learners, even across the tent, and we can all hear the remote learners loud and clear. I also placed an iPAD in a hanging pot in one of the corners of the tent, which provides a whole class view for the remote learners. While it is simply a view, it gives some connection as to what is happening in the classroom, and provides something different to look at.
I have one extension cord running into our tent, which pains me because I desperately wanted to run the entire year on clean energy (only a matter of time…hopeful). When I begin my day I plug in my computer in order to play music for the kids that come early to school and get to play before we begin. When 8:25 rolls around I switch out my computer charger for the TV plug, then run the HDMI cord to my computer. With the remote I turn on the TV. Then I log into Zoom and start the meeting. From there I grab my iPad and join the meeting, and place it high up in the classroom. When remote learners join, I ask them to for a sound check. All good? OK. For my last trick, I grab my headset, wrap the speaker around my waist, check my microphone, and at that point I think we are ready to begin. This routine happens three times a day: 8:30 a.m., 10:45 a.m., 1:05 p.m. I shut everything down to save battery, as well continue to charge my computer throughout the day. What I was able to dive into today, was use my solar-powered battery to power up my iPad during lunch for afternoon use. At the end of the day I put it all away into my shed. While that sounds like many moving parts, I now have a system, and the students help me, which makes it all bearable.
What is perhaps greater than honing my tech skills, is finally realizing what matters. I have said over and over it is the kids, but with all the changes and uprooting I haven’t put my words into practice. These students are the leaders of our future. They are the ones that are going to be making decisions while we sit in our homes waiting for a better outcome. These students are brilliant, capable, and our ticket to a better life. If we fail them in education, we fail ourselves, and ultimately our planet. Are we okay saying that it is simply a bad year, that COVID has befallen us and we will recover when it is over? We risk climate change, we risk a planet filled will selfish individuals, we risk hurting the valuable minds in front of us. What does some lesson matter, especially when it doesn’t work?
Let us show education is profound, deep, and life altering. We live in a world where the choices we make have great impact. Let us teach that to our students. Let us go forth with the promise we made to educate the youth.
How this looks this week is building a city we want using recyclable materials, all the while studying volume, surface area, multiplication strategies, and the associative property. I call it ReBuild the Block!
This also looks like taking global issues, narrowing down to local issues, and then asking the questions to start solutionary work.
So, what is important? It is in making it count. These children matter, not some made-up schedule to build routine that will change the second rain comes, or flu-season, or travel plans. If we look long term, not a mad-dash for Friday night, we find that all the moments that make up our day are filled with opportunity to empower students. It may not look like a well planned lesson, but it looks like innovation, thinking on your feet, designing, and asking the questions that can have profound changes for humanity.
Glasses up: let’s make it count!