There is a lot of controversy as to what the best way to do an "alternate learning environment" is. I have read a lot of blogs and tweets on the subject and I have come the following conclusion - there is no "best way". Some of our students are thriving - they are attending more regularly and participating more in their virtual classroom than they did in regular school. Some students are floundering - they can't see the value in what we are doing and view it all as a waste and are really making learning and personal growth difficult for themselves. And some of our students are in utter chaos at home. They are struggling, the one place of safety and order has been abruptly ripped from their lives. Virtual face-to-face may be the only thing they can hang on to; or it may be a daily reminder that they are on their own. We cannot possibly construct a system to meet all these needs. Our system may not be perfect - but I take comfort in the knowledge that at least we have a system. We did not turn our students and parents out to completely fend for their own educational needs this quarter.
I have heard frustrations from staff, students and parents. I have also heard praise and gratitudes. Everyone's feeling are real, coming from a variety of perspectives and individual challenges. We can take heart in knowing that we are giving our best (whatever our "best" may be on that given day) for our students and for each other.
Our staff has made a tremendous effort to foster relationships (who knew it would be so hard to get kids to converse on Zoom?), both in class and by all the drivers and food preparers who get to see some of our families in person. I have seen innovative projects and assignments. I have witnessed determination and grit.
YOU ARE AN AMAZING STAFF! You won't hear this enough - but as a colleague and as a parent: THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU HAVE DONE TO LIFT SPIRITS AND A DEVELOP A SENSE OF COMMUNITY IN ALL THIS CHAOS! Well done you!
Changes for Next Year
SecurlyClassroom will manage both iPads and chromebooks, so Mosyle will be decommissioned this summer. Teachers will be able to launch their "classroom" and view student screens, create a blocked website list, and launch URL's from their computers. Several teachers have been piloting this system for most of this semester, so we have a few colleagues who have become experts to help us with this transition!
I do want you to know that I did look into several systems, including GoGuaridan (which seems to be a popular choice in the valley). SecurlyClassroom has the features we want and is the best price. You can log into www.securly.com --> login --> Device Console and log in with your school google account. If you have a Google Classroom set up already, you can go ahead and pull up your class and look around. iPads are not currently on this system - they are all still on Mosyle - so you won't be able to see any iPad screens but you can still look around at the tools available.
The video below is by TechPilot which was purchased by Securly. The commands and tools will be exactly the same on your SecurlyClassroom site. There will be training next fall as well, but I know some of you like to be prepared. :)
Bayard Public Schools