Distance Learning… Again?

Are you staring down the barren hallway of another school year (or semester) spent distance teaching? If we try to look on the bright side, at least this time we’ve had a little chance to prepare – sort of.

I remember way, waaaay back in April thinking our extended spring break felt like it would never end. When we finally “returned to school” it was all remote learning. I couldn’t believe the little challenges that arose; problems you never thought about until right then in the moment. Things like Internet bandwidth for a family of four all on different Zoom video calls at the same time out in rural Wyoming… Things like making sure we all had headphones so we could hear what was going on… Things like stopping the dogs (all four at the time) from barking when they heard strange voices from the Zoom conferencing… And then trying to navigate Canvas. Each teacher for each child (that’s fourteen teachers) organized their Canvas platforms differently. And many were inconsistent on top of it. Trying to find the day’s video or whatever we had to work with was honestly the most stressful part of all of it.

Now, as the new school year approaches, I’m riddled with deja vu and the anxiety that goes along with it. Added bonus? I’ll be student teaching this fall. How? I don’t have the answer for that yet. All I know is that this year has got to go smoother than last year. We’ve all had a little chance to acclimate to this pandemic… I think. I honestly don’t know if I’ll ever be acclimated to the “new normal”. Is there a silver lining in all of this? Is there anything positive that can come from this?

Well, challenging times have historically bred innovation. Aqueducts and wells made living away from large water sources manageable. The cotton gin revolutionized the world. And what about toilet paper? (Side note: The history of toilet paper is both fascinating and absolutely disgusting. It certainly makes me appreciate our modern conveniences more.) What amazing inventions will come from this part of history?

In the spirit of innovation out of necessity, Teachers Pay Teachers (an awesome invention already) has been working diligently on ways to improve products for teachers to use during these challenging times. And thus Digital Activities was born.

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