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Teachers are adding new skills to help engage students during pandemic

Educators using new technology for virtual learning
Posted at 7:37 AM, Dec 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-17 07:40:02-05

FORTVILLE — The year 2020 has been challenging for everyone.

We are constantly having to change our daily routine, and for teachers that’s proving to be a challenge as their schedules go from normal to hybrid to full virtual and back again.

We all know a teacher who is having to deal with the ebb and flow of teaching during a pandemic. My brother, Joe Anderson is a teacher at Mt. Vernon High School.

I’ve heard his highs and the lows of teaching during the pandemic, but he said there are some things he’s learned that he’ll take with him when the world gets back to normal.

“We've kind of explained it like a carpenter going to work and none of their tools work, and they still have to do their job,” Anderson said.

The high school is running under a hybrid model with one virtual day on Thursdays, meaning no one besides the teacher is in the classroom.

The changes are forcing teachers to find new ways to reach their students.

“We've had a lot of teachers really reinvent what they've been doing finding new tools to make their learning still successful for their kids,” Anderson said.

On top of teaching, my brother also serves as the technology integration specialist for the middle and high schools.

“A lot of teachers have been using new tools utilizing google meet and zooms obviously like we've never had to do,” he said.

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My brother, Joe Anderson is a teacher at Mt. Vernon High School. I’ve heard his highs and the lows of teaching during this pandemic, but he says there are some things he’s learned that he’ll take with him when the world gets back to normal.

He is training his co-workers how to better utilize the technology they’ve had all along.

“It's a lot of usually just use it for announcements or use it to post like a quick message and now we have teachers giving quizzes and tests within it, assigning homework projects through Canvas in Google Classroom like we haven't done before, so it's a lot of lot of helping them when I'm not teaching and kind of incorporating a lot of our new skills,” Anderson said.

They are new skills my brother and other teachers will keep even when students can be in the classroom full time.

“I think a lot of teachers are excited for getting back into the classroom next year hopefully full time and kind of keeping those tools in their tool belt but also getting back to a little bit of normalcy,” he said.

He has this advice for teachers who may be struggling to find new ways to engage their students.

“Use your resources, use your friends, use your teammates and go out of the department. I've seen some people in the music department that have been using stuff that I've incorporated in my class, so just reach out. Ask for help. Don't be afraid to ask for help,” Anderson said.

His advice for students learning from home is to put away all distractions, turn off the TV and participate in class. He said to be in the moment and act like you are physically in class.