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Remote learning experiences

Posted: Thu Sep 10, 2020 4:35 pm
by ImLawBoy
I don't want to bump the "Remote Learning is a Bad Joke Thread", as I want to start a more neutral discussion. I'm seeing this as a catch all that covers both successes and failures, as well as tips (and the occasional vent if needed (I'm looking at you, YK)).

We're coming up on one week into full remote learning for the twins (6 years old, first grade). I took the week off of work to be fully hands on (plus I've got a crapload of vacation days stockpiled that I have to use before the end of the year). Chicago Public Schools are fully remote for at least the first quarter. They've got the Google Classroom suite, and each of the twins has a Chromebook (the kind that can flip over to a tablet). Our house is on the small side, and the main floor is open floor plan, so we're doing what we can with the setup. We've got a small table and chairs for the twins off to the side and we've set that up as "school". There is to be no playing in the school area! Get those toys away from the school area!

So far things are going pretty well, all things considered. We've had one disconnect during class, but I just daisy-chained boy's headphones into girl's until I got him back online. The synchronous (live) learning seems pretty good, but it's first grade content so I think that's relatively easy to adapt. They break it up every 20-30 minutes with some sort of wiggle time where the kids get up and get energy out. The asynchronous (on your own) learning is a bit lacking so far. For the most part, the activities they've been given have been super quick and easy and they're done well before their allotted time is over. The exceptions have been for Dance and Arabic, where they've had real assignments to complete that took most of the time. My hope is that the asynchronous improves as we progress and the content steps up a bit.

Obviously the big thing missing is the interaction, particularly with other kids. The twins at least have each other to be goofy with (and fight with), but just the bonding time in the playground waiting for school to open is beneficial. I think they need to figure out a way to have social time remotely, but I'm not sure how they do it. Our neighbor is a single mom with a daughter just starting Kindergarten, and she's sending her daughter to a small pod (I think 3 or 4 other kids from her class) four days a week for $250/week. I haven't talked to her to see how it's going, but we'll probably talk over the fence this weekend.

My oldest is having bigger issues with the remote learning, but he's in a much different situation and that's a tale for another day.

How's it going for everyone else?

Re: Remote learning experiences

Posted: Thu Sep 10, 2020 4:48 pm
by YellowKing
ImLawBoy wrote:(and the occasional vent if needed (I'm looking at you, YK)
:D :D :D

Well, I hate to disappoint you but things have been steadily improving here in the YK household.

My wife, as a school employee, has the option to bring my youngest in with her to work. There he is in a socially distanced classroom with monitoring. We did this the first week or so, then my wife let him stay home. The "stay home" turned out to be the cause of our problems. He was just far too distracted, and was lying about having done assignments, etc. He just couldn't operate without structure. So we tried a week of him back at school and it was a night and day difference.

This week he worked incredibly hard and got caught up on every assignment. He's continued to excel as the school itself has gotten better at keeping the kids on task. We've also put in a number of restrictions at home such as not being able to play games until we've signed off on all assignments, etc. that has gone a long way to making the kids more proactive about getting stuff done ahead of time.

My daughter is doing well with her middle school. After the initial wave of getting behind due to her being afraid to speak up, she's finally gotten to the point where she's not afraid to ask for help and has caught back up.

One neat thing her school does is suspend classes on Wednesdays to devote to school clubs. After an initial morning check-in for attendance, the kids are free to drop in and out of any club Zoom sessions they want. In this way they get a break from classwork mid-week, and unlike normal school clubs they have the opportunity to try any of them ala carte and decide whether they want to continue to participate or join something else. My daughter has found a couple of them she really enjoys and Wednesday's become a highlight of her week as she gets to socialize with other kids and not worry about assignments.

Things are still not ideal, and there are things I'd love to see changed. As it stands right now, I'm still not convinced the kids are getting a true "normal school year" education. But it's better than nothing, and we're slowly adapting.

Re: Remote learning experiences

Posted: Thu Sep 10, 2020 6:24 pm
by Jeff V
Three weeks in to full-day in-class learning and the district is reporting zero cases of Covid. I'm sure that can turn into hundreds over night though.

Re: Remote learning experiences

Posted: Thu Sep 10, 2020 6:41 pm
by Jaymann
My grandkids are home schooling and are learning at a tremendous rate. For example, this morning after 15 minutes they were ready to take a break.

Re: Remote learning experiences

Posted: Thu Sep 10, 2020 11:38 pm
by ImLawBoy
Glad to hear it's going better YK.
Jeff V wrote:
Thu Sep 10, 2020 6:24 pm
Three weeks in to full-day in-class learning and the district is reporting zero cases of Covid. I'm sure that can turn into hundreds over night though.
Fingers crossed it stays the same. We're trying to keep a close eye on the guinea pigs . . . I mean, on the school districts that have gone into the classroom. Their successes/failures will help to guide us when CPS goes back into the classroom.
Jaymann wrote:
Thu Sep 10, 2020 6:41 pm
My grandkids are home schooling and are learning at a tremendous rate. For example, this morning after 15 minutes they were ready to take a break.
Are they doing true home schooling (i.e., parents teaching them and jumping through all the hoops that entails) or are they just doing remote learning? Either way, it's impressive that they've already learned so much in just 15 minutes that they've earned a break!

Re: Remote learning experiences

Posted: Thu Sep 10, 2020 11:43 pm
by Jaymann
They both have a laptop to do the curriculum assigned by their school. Mom oversees and helps as needed, and approves breaks.

Re: Remote learning experiences

Posted: Fri Sep 11, 2020 7:52 am
by Jeff V
ImLawBoy wrote:
Thu Sep 10, 2020 11:38 pm
Glad to hear it's going better YK.
Jeff V wrote:
Thu Sep 10, 2020 6:24 pm
Three weeks in to full-day in-class learning and the district is reporting zero cases of Covid. I'm sure that can turn into hundreds over night though.
Fingers crossed it stays the same. We're trying to keep a close eye on the guinea pigs . . . I mean, on the school districts that have gone into the classroom. Their successes/failures will help to guide us when CPS goes back into the classroom.
Oakpark/Riverforest is reporting an outbreak.

Re: Remote learning experiences

Posted: Fri Sep 11, 2020 1:43 pm
by naednek
We've been at it for almost a month now, and it's been smooth as ever with one day of technology issues. Really impressed with our district and teachers.

Re: Remote learning experiences

Posted: Fri Sep 11, 2020 2:06 pm
by LawBeefaroni
Kiddo is going through the routine but hates not being with her friends. She hasn't seen most of them since March.

The operational aspects are much better than the last 3 months of school last year, which were also 100% remote. But it's hard to gauge her progress. They're doing the same stuff they were doing last year and she is getting bored already. Seems like they're teaching to the lowest common denominator.

Re: Remote learning experiences

Posted: Fri Sep 11, 2020 2:31 pm
by Archinerd
We are only a week in, but so far, so good.

My 4 year old got "wait listed" for CPS(Chicago Public Schools) preschool again this year. In a normal year, I'd be annoyed but since there is no "in class" instruction anyway it's not that big of a deal, since she has zero interest in anything having to do with Zoom.
Last year she was also "wait listed" and did a few half days through a Park District program instead, which was good for her. Small class, all kids from the neighborhood, and they actually did a fair amount of instruction. This year, that's not an option though, they are also only offering online classes, plus the minimum age is 6.

So, we are homeschooling, and due to previous life circumstances (which I'm not going into now) my wife is home and taking the lead. Neither of us are in education but both of our families have a lot of teachers in them, so we've got access to some materials and more advice than we can process. They do about 2-3 hours of instruction in the monring, and once a week they are meeting up with a friend for a bit of socialization and outdoor learning.
The boy next door is the same age as my daughter, we've talked about having them do some school type activities together too but they've got a lot going on at the moment so it's been put on the back burner for a bit.

We also signed up for ABC Mouse, which she seems to like. I'm not sure how much she's really learning from it, but she can read numbers now.

Over all, we're pretty fortunate it's only preschool and she doesn't really know what she's missing. I have a lot of sympathy for older kids.


EDIT: sorry, I guess this isn't really remote learning.

Re: Remote learning experiences

Posted: Fri Sep 11, 2020 2:39 pm
by LawBeefaroni
Archinerd wrote:
Fri Sep 11, 2020 2:31 pm



Over all, we're pretty fortunate it's only preschool and she doesn't really know what she's missing. I have a lot of sympathy for older kids.
The not knowing is important. Our 4-yo missed about 3 months of in-person preschool and he turned into a feral beast.

Re: Remote learning experiences

Posted: Fri Sep 11, 2020 9:53 pm
by Jaymann
Jaymann wrote:
Thu Sep 10, 2020 11:43 pm
They both have a laptop to do the curriculum assigned by their school. Mom oversees and helps as needed, and approves breaks.
Correction: My daughter found the classes online (K and 1st G) instead of going through the school.

Re: Remote learning experiences

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 12:49 pm
by Jaymon
School started today for our 5th grader. So far so good. Its only been like 90 minutes, but nothing has burned down, and no zoom hackers. So thats pretty good for this year.

As opposed to my high schooler, who had first week of school last week, interrupted by things burning down.

Re: Remote learning experiences

Posted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 2:39 am
by Kasey Chang
Don't know about how good is it for kids, but I did my entire coding bootcamp via remote learning. It seems to have worked.

Re: Remote learning experiences

Posted: Fri Sep 18, 2020 12:40 pm
by Eel Snave
My kids are doing it, for 5K and 2nd grade. They seem to be learning, but I can tell they miss their classmates. It's not the same.

Re: Remote learning experiences

Posted: Fri Sep 18, 2020 12:46 pm
by YellowKing
I finally got some actual data from this remote learning experience.

My son (3rd grade) got his reading assessment back yesterday and he's currently above grade level in several areas and at advanced grade level in the rest. So at least from an English perspective, he's doing really well with the remote stuff. I do know from following his assignments that his English teachers have done a really good job providing video materials and questions, and they are required to do 20 minutes of reading per day which is tracked.

Math was not so great (currently testing below grade level), but his teacher told me that pretty much all kids are in the same boat. Back in March when the pandemic hit, they had to freeze teaching any new math concepts, so essentially they lost half a year of 2nd grade math. So they're currently playing catch-up. She was confident that everyone would be back on track by the end of the year, so I'm not stressing about it.

Re: Remote learning experiences

Posted: Fri Sep 18, 2020 12:50 pm
by ImLawBoy
Minor nit: These Google Meet classes don't have "waiting rooms" for the students to click in early and then be put into the class when the teacher opens it, so they're sitting down a minute or two ahead of time, clicking to see the class isn't open, closing the window, repeat a few times, get frustrated, and then the class finally opens. I'm guessing it's supposed to be some sort of security setting, but it's really annoying.

Unexpected bonus: The twins are getting a lot of computer/tech training much earlier than they would have otherwise.

Re: Remote learning experiences

Posted: Fri Sep 18, 2020 12:54 pm
by LordMortis
ImLawBoy wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 12:50 pm
Minor nit: These Google Meet classes don't have "waiting rooms" for the students to click in early and then be put into the class when the teacher opens it, so they're sitting down a minute or two ahead of time, clicking to see the class isn't open, closing the window, repeat a few times, get frustrated, and then the class finally opens. I'm guessing it's supposed to be some sort of security setting, but it's really annoying.

Unexpected bonus: The twins are getting a lot of computer/tech training much earlier than they would have otherwise.
That's an annoying thing for me and some of these meetings as well. Zoom, mainly, I think.... "Waiting on the host... The host has not yet joined the meeting. Good bye."

Re: Remote learning experiences

Posted: Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:02 pm
by TheMix
I have yet to try Zoom. My company uses Teams. Which means that anyone with the invite can start the meeting.

Edit: I meant to add that I could see how that would be really annoying.

Re: Remote learning experiences

Posted: Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:05 pm
by Jeff V
TheMix wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:02 pm
I have yet to try Zoom. My company uses Teams. Which means that anyone with the invite can start the meeting.

Edit: I meant to add that I could see how that would be really annoying.
This was how Google Meet worked in a corporate setting, not sure why it would be different for a classroom.

Re: Remote learning experiences

Posted: Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:10 pm
by stessier
ImLawBoy wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 12:50 pm
Minor nit: These Google Meet classes don't have "waiting rooms" for the students to click in early and then be put into the class when the teacher opens it, so they're sitting down a minute or two ahead of time, clicking to see the class isn't open, closing the window, repeat a few times, get frustrated, and then the class finally opens. I'm guessing it's supposed to be some sort of security setting, but it's really annoying.

Unexpected bonus: The twins are getting a lot of computer/tech training much earlier than they would have otherwise.
I agree with the start issues and the tech training - my 11 year old is remarkably proficient at a couple things. On the other side of the coin, she is horrible at remembering if she is in her personal Google account vs. her school account when working on and saving projects. Makes finding things a bit of a nightmare, but we're working on it.

Re: Remote learning experiences

Posted: Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:32 pm
by ImLawBoy
Jeff V wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:05 pm
TheMix wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:02 pm
I have yet to try Zoom. My company uses Teams. Which means that anyone with the invite can start the meeting.

Edit: I meant to add that I could see how that would be really annoying.
This was how Google Meet worked in a corporate setting, not sure why it would be different for a classroom.
I don't know for sure, but I think it's a setting option on the school's part. I think the school could set it to have a waiting room, but they're not doing it. I've never used a meeting system (and I've used a lot of them in 23 years at a telecommunications company) that didn't have a waiting room. My hunch is they think this is somehow more secure, but I'm not sure why it would be.

Re: Remote learning experiences

Posted: Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:58 pm
by YellowKing
We've had a huge problem in my daughter's middle school classes with Zoom bombing/kids interrupting class. Typical situation is they log in as a name of another student in class, then proceed to scream and disrupt the teacher until they get kicked. In some cases this has led the teacher to accidentally kick the wrong student out. I think there have also been cases where a sibling got the link and logged in and disrupted the class.

It's sad because it's forced a host of cumbersome security precautions. For instance, my daughter can no longer pull up her Zoom links for the day - the teacher has to email the link, and then my daughter has to go to some other location and log in to get the passcode - it's a mess.

Re: Remote learning experiences

Posted: Fri Sep 18, 2020 2:02 pm
by ImLawBoy
YellowKing wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:58 pm
We've had a huge problem in my daughter's middle school classes with Zoom bombing/kids interrupting class. Typical situation is they log in as a name of another student in class, then proceed to scream and disrupt the teacher until they get kicked. In some cases this has led the teacher to accidentally kick the wrong student out. I think there have also been cases where a sibling got the link and logged in and disrupted the class.

It's sad because it's forced a host of cumbersome security precautions. For instance, my daughter can no longer pull up her Zoom links for the day - the teacher has to email the link, and then my daughter has to go to some other location and log in to get the passcode - it's a mess.
Oh, for the days when we could just disrupt class by having everyone agree to knock a pencil off their desk at 1:15!

Re: Remote learning experiences

Posted: Fri Sep 18, 2020 2:12 pm
by YellowKing
Or start the "We Will Rock You" clap-stomp. :lol:

Re: Remote learning experiences

Posted: Fri Sep 18, 2020 2:15 pm
by TheMix
ImLawBoy wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:32 pm
Jeff V wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:05 pm
TheMix wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:02 pm
I have yet to try Zoom. My company uses Teams. Which means that anyone with the invite can start the meeting.

Edit: I meant to add that I could see how that would be really annoying.
This was how Google Meet worked in a corporate setting, not sure why it would be different for a classroom.
I don't know for sure, but I think it's a setting option on the school's part. I think the school could set it to have a waiting room, but they're not doing it. I've never used a meeting system (and I've used a lot of them in 23 years at a telecommunications company) that didn't have a waiting room. My hunch is they think this is somehow more secure, but I'm not sure why it would be.
Maybe they are worried about adults/pedophiles gaining access and hanging out with the kids when there are no other adults there to monitor? Just guessing.

Re: Remote learning experiences

Posted: Fri Sep 18, 2020 2:17 pm
by gameoverman
I got a chance to observe a niece's online learning experience, 4th grade level. My immediate thoughts were that engaging the students needs to be priority number one, ahead of lesson plans/curriculum. The problem I saw was that the teacher was teaching as if they were all in a classroom together. There were kids constantly doing things to distract her and I could tell it was because they were frickin' bored. The teachers apparently can't kick them out because the school's funding in part depends on keeping them there online. How do you keep discipline when you can't enforce discipline? It's an impossible situation for the teacher.

That's why if it were up to me I'd sacrifice time that would be spent on subjects like math and reading for activities(ie learning type games) that cause students to get involved and stay involved. I was thinking along the lines of a game involving math where students could score points for using proper techniques for solving the problem and points for reaching the correct answer. The idea being instead of being taught fractions, they'd being playing a game that causes them to learn fractions as they play. It's the sneaky approach. I bet no one in charge would like this idea though. I'm not saying this is how it should be done when everyone eventually winds up back in the classroom. I'm saying this is an extraordinary situation and I think it requires tossing out all the old ways of doing things in order to create a new workable plan for how things are now.

Re: Remote learning experiences

Posted: Fri Sep 18, 2020 2:18 pm
by Smoove_B
YellowKing wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:58 pm
It's sad because it's forced a host of cumbersome security precautions. For instance, my daughter can no longer pull up her Zoom links for the day - the teacher has to email the link, and then my daughter has to go to some other location and log in to get the passcode - it's a mess.
If it makes you feel any better, there are currently issues with my current employer in higher education where students are giving out zoom links and people are doing the whole "zoombomb" things to instructors. Despite sending out guidance for how to stop it from happening, some instructors/departments are just ignoring it, so all week live lectures have been interrupted with horrific images and chats.

I don't understand why a passkey can't be generated for each user and that's how you get in. Share it and it's now unusable and whatever that person did will be tied to your account. Don't have a key? Can't get it.

Why on earth did anyone think having a generalized link that can be shared would work out?

This is also why I'm never doing live lectures online. I don't need giant penis monsters flying around as I'm talking.

Re: Remote learning experiences

Posted: Fri Sep 18, 2020 2:21 pm
by ImLawBoy
TheMix wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 2:15 pm
ImLawBoy wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:32 pm
Jeff V wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:05 pm
TheMix wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:02 pm
I have yet to try Zoom. My company uses Teams. Which means that anyone with the invite can start the meeting.

Edit: I meant to add that I could see how that would be really annoying.
This was how Google Meet worked in a corporate setting, not sure why it would be different for a classroom.
I don't know for sure, but I think it's a setting option on the school's part. I think the school could set it to have a waiting room, but they're not doing it. I've never used a meeting system (and I've used a lot of them in 23 years at a telecommunications company) that didn't have a waiting room. My hunch is they think this is somehow more secure, but I'm not sure why it would be.
Maybe they are worried about adults/pedophiles gaining access and hanging out with the kids when there are no other adults there to monitor? Just guessing.
With the waiting room, though, you can set them so that the meeting still doesn't open until the teacher starts the meeting. It just makes it easier/less frustrating if you can join the class 5 minutes ahead of time and wait until the teacher starts the class instead of having to click - is it open? No - click - is it open? No - etc.

Re: Remote learning experiences

Posted: Fri Sep 18, 2020 2:29 pm
by TheMix
Then I got nuthin'. But I'll shake my head in solidarity with you.

Re: Remote learning experiences

Posted: Fri Sep 18, 2020 2:37 pm
by LordMortis
TheMix wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:02 pm
I have yet to try Zoom. My company uses Teams. Which means that anyone with the invite can start the meeting.

Edit: I meant to add that I could see how that would be really annoying.
Teams is our primary go to but we are customer driven, Team, Skype, GoTo, Zoom, WebEx, whatever you call the Adobe one, you name it, we do it. Also I think within each of those services there are options set up by the account type/account holder. For us anyone who is part of Azure server can start the meeting. Partners or people using web logins outside of the domain cannot start the meeting and need to be "let in."

For a classroom environment, the Adobe setting is by far the best I've seen, probably because it was designed specifically to do... remote learning/teaching. I have no idea what the expense is for that sort of thing but it's the stuff that comes with $500 a day professional classes to plate people like me who get annoyed at paying $500 a day for remote class. To give you more than a web cam, a whiteboard, a few emoticons, and a chat.

Internet says!!!!

https://www.adobe.com/products/adobecon ... rning.html

The cost ought to actually be reasonable for a school district or university. This would also have the kind of controls smoove is inquiring about. Of course it depends a bit on the competence of the users on all ends.

Re: Remote learning experiences

Posted: Fri Sep 18, 2020 2:44 pm
by ImLawBoy
Chicago Public Schools have a contract with Google, and the Google Classroom suite isn't bad. They have different tiles for different subjects, and assignments for each subject can go in their dedicated tile. You submit your work, you can pull it back if you need to edit it, and the teacher can review and respond. It's a bit confusing because they're also using something called Seesaw, which has similar functionalities but seems a bit more robust. Regardless, the meetings seem to go fine once the class is opened, and the twins' teacher seems comfortable with the technology (screen sharing and all that).