Guest Post via @srothteachlg: Going Digital – We must model

I’ve been thinking more and more about what it means to really have a digital classroom.  As the teachers on the LGHS/Saratoga campuses are utilizing Canvas and more and more, many of us are collecting work digitally, I have begun to see a divide in expectations and it comes down to one thing.

Ask yourself this question,
If your class is given homework on Wednesday in Canvas, what is the due date?  

Is it
A. Wednesday evening?
B. Thursday evening?
C. The start of Friday’s class period?

If you were collecting it on paper, what would be the due date?

This year, I am teaching all 9th graders in my English classes, but I have 10-12 in my Yearbook class and no matter the grade level, I have come to realize one thing, STUDENTS NEED SUPPORT DIGITALLY.  While they are advanced with their phones, they are less savvy when it comes to Learning Management Systems.  In many ways, this isn’t their fault.  Every teacher has a different way they want something done digitally and turned in.  I digress but I promise I will give my thoughts on aligning there another time.

Knowing this, isn’t it up to us to help them?  When we collected work on paper, did you ever ask students to turn it in before your class period?  NO!  So, why do that now?

Last year, the light bulb went off. I realized this and altered my due dates and how I ran my classroom and the work turn in rate went from 60% to almost 100%.  When something is due in my class, we turn it in together at the start of the period.  I know that it might take a bit of time to do this but the reality is, it saves you time in the end. You can review the formatting you want and procedure and you can ensure that all documents open correctly and fix it in the moment.  It also gives me time to check in with students who did not complete the assignment and give them another way in.  I think we assume students get the technology and if you are sitting in a classroom with students who get it, help them to become the other teachers in the space.  Have them move around the room helping those who need support.  Turning something in should not be the gateway to success, it is our job to help them get there.

What happens if a student is absent?
1. I have another student call them and check in to make sure they are ok.  My daughter’s class in elementary school does this and I loved it so much, I always ask a group member to call or text.
2. I email them myself to check in and Canvas makes this so simple.


3. I also screencast myself through the process and post that to Canvas.

Let’s help set up an expectation that we are here to support students through all parts of the process.  When a teacher tells me I need support in something digitally, my reaction as your TOSA is to help you grow, so let’s do the same for our students and altering this one behavior will help give them the best opportunity and help you catch anything wrong before it becomes a problem.

My Twitter: @srothteachlg
A little about me, Stephanie Rothstein: This year, I wear many hats: TOSA, Department Chair, Yearbook Adviser, and English Teacher. While this might sound crazy, I have actually found that it has provided me with a new lens- an understanding of the real work we all are doing. When I am checking in with you, it is to genuinely to be able to help and to learn how we can make our systems better for all. Whether it is through Google/Canvas support, an article on Twitter, a listening ear, a screencast, in person mentorship or group dialogues, please know my goal is to meet you where you are and support your growth.  This is my 17th year of teaching. I love all things tech and digital publishing.
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