Teachers have a lot on their plate on a normal day, but never before have they had to go from a classroom setting to online from one day to the next. For many teachers this meant they were left without training, often without technology resources, and quite confused. How can teachers provide excellent teaching that helps address the stress and difficult times we are facing with coronavirus if they aren’t prepared?
Prior to COVID-19 GetSetUp was already providing remote live training on online tools and apps geared towards the 50+ demographic. GetSetUp reskills retired educators as Guides to train their peers in online tools and other classes to help them feel more independent and up-to-date. Since all our Guides are educators, they were immediately aware of the fact that many teachers must feel overwhelmed.
When the pandemic crisis hit, GetSetUp wanted to provide support to teachers who were struggling. Through a partnership between GetSetUp and The Learning Accelerator, we established an educator-to-educator training on the tools necessary to plan, connect, and provide instruction to support students with online learning.
The digital gap and access to education is wide with diverse access opportunities and tools. For many students according to the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCSE), “In 2017, the two most common means of internet access for children ages 3 to 18 who used the Internet at home were a mobile internet service or a data plan, including a data plan for a cellular phone, smartphone, tablet, laptop, or other devices (92 percent).” Data plans become a problem when students need to be online most of the day for school. If most students only have a phone to access classes, teachers need to know how to optimize their tools across devices.
When COVID-19 hit, teachers were not prepared to go remotely online. Most teachers may have tinkered with some tools but preparing classes for students who can access them live, which according to the NCSE statistics are predominantly white and Asian families, and families in other minorities who may lack or have limited internet access means that teachers needed to have tools that function online, off-line, live, and when students have access.
Furthermore, the digital gap didn’t just apply to students but to teachers as well who now needed to know how to optimize the tools, they could use and provide tech support across devices for their students on devices they didn’t have access to.
This struggle was different for each teacher, but older teachers typically have a harder time adapting quickly to these digital tools. Much of the rapid response given to teachers was tutorial videos and hand guides to read. To complicate things further these teachers didn’t have the time to watch a Youtube video on multiple different devices and to tinker, which often lead to frustration instead of illumination because so much preparation was looming and deadlines were fast approaching.
There are no current “scalable” ways of professional development that are effective for teachers across the country and across generation gaps. This means that many of these rushed digital technology professional development sessions weren’t tailored to teacher levels (like teachers do in their own classrooms for different learning styles). Therefore, many resources weren’t effectively learned. This meant that teachers who lagged behind in tutorials often had a lower tool adoption output or poor usage of features.
GetSetUp stepped in to provide a solution. They prepared a 3-day rapid response GetSetUp Academy to reskilled 40 of their retired educator Guides to become experts in the tools essential for our public school teachers who needed to teach remotely during the corona crisis. Then over the course of a week, they provided over 300+ hours of live onboarding and training to educators so teachers felt self-sufficient and confident in the tools and technology they needed to start teaching students remotely.
That meant former teachers like GetSetUp Guide Marge worked with another peer over 50 in a self-paced course, adjusted as needed throughout since the course was live, to ensure that the teacher could learn all the resources necessary to really utilize the tool. All GetSetUp classes ensure that students come away with a new skill. GetSetUp classes focus on a simple methodology of Tell — Show — Do. This way no one leaves class without new knowledge, plus each student has had the opportunity to practice, apply, and work out their own individual kinks the tool, program, or their devices.
The GetSetUp sessions helped to answer some of the teachers’ questions on learning more about and benefitting from tools such as:
- Google Classroom
- Use Google Meet for Easy, Secure Virtual Meetings
- Google for Education: Docs
- Share your ideas using “Screencasting”
- YouTube: Record and post video online
- Use Zoom to connect with students
While initial training was with partner schools these classes are still available to teachers who may be struggling or just want to learn some new tricks within the programs they are already familiar with. GetSetUp is looking to help with the next step, especially for teachers who need self-paced and empathetic Guides to lead the way.
GetSetUp recognizes as well that teachers may need additional support so they already have available a handy resource: Need more help? Looking for support for a tool that’s not listed? Send feedback in this form! Request a Tool.
Do you have a great tool you want to learn more about to help facilitate teaching? Why not ask GetSetup to help you gain the confidence and support you need at your own pace so that you can help pass on those same skills and a superior online educational experience to your students?
Contact GetSetUp to find out how they can help your school integrate online tools with the digital classroom. They are ready and prepared to address the technology and lack of technological resources that many students and teachers are facing with workaround solutions from educators for educators.