Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Teaching From Home–Day 8–Online Teaching Stations

We sure are learning a lot about online classes these days. Teachers at my school are using Google Meet and Zoom in about equal numbers. This means that students are seeing a lot of both tools. At some point there will be a lot of good data about what does and doesn’t work. What is clear is that tools designed for companies and their conference calls is not automatically a good fit for schools.

There has been some chatter about privacy and data security for both but I am seeing more concern about Zoom so far. Privacy is a big deal for everyone of course but schools have some different concerns because the data we are talking about involved children. This needs to be addressed.

Students I have talked to see some of what I do when comparing Zoom and Meet and that is power verses complexity. If we could limit the complexity side to the teacher/meeting creator role that would be a good thing. We need things to be intuitive and easy for students so that they can participate fully.

I’m using both tools – Google Meet for two courses and Zoom for a third. I really like the simplicity of Google Meet but it lacks the controls I like from Zoom. Zoom also lets me see more faces than Meet. That’s a big deal for me.

Another lesson I am learning is that one screen is not enough. It’s not enough for me and it is not really ideal for students. It is hard for students to switch between what I am asking them to do and to what they are actually doing. For me I’d like to see their faces, what they are seeing from me, and my work screen all at the same time. I also like a window open for things like attendance taking and showing my notes. This would probably work with one large screen but it would have to be a lot larger than what most teachers currently have.

A lot of teachers are sharing pictures of their home teaching stations. Like me, many are showing two computers or a computer with a second monitor. I can’t see getting by with less.I have two laptops side by side but I am considering adding a second monitor to one of them. At least I have the option. Many teachers do not.

It’s probably to early to understand everything we need to do this right. Hopefully, once things calm down and some sort of normal settles in we can all compare notes and make some solid recommendations. Smart companies will take note.


Unknown said...

I have been using Zoom primarily unless the students have connectivity issues. I agree that Zoom has more features. One of those features is Zoom rooms. The ability to break the students up into groups for group disscussions.

Mike Zamansky said...

My students picked up on zoom without a hitch but they're all in college and not in their first CS classes.

I'm happy with my single 43"4k monitor but couldn't imagine doing this from just a laptop screen. Need to have the zoom window, some part of my screen to share and somewhere to stage things. I'm guessing that this is an instance of where 2 monitors would be preferable - staging monitor sharing monitor but the big single 4k works pretty well