My thoughts on synchronous vs. asynchronous and just an overall classroom pulse check in the time of COVID.
We’re all learning together. Unfortunately that means the flops we usually work out before we get in front of the class are all there. It’s trial and error and some schools, some teachers, some students are further along than others.
I am new to all this and learning just like everyone else. But what I see is synchronous is school, like school always is, only with digital assignment submission. It’s kids doing the school day like they always would, but they’re on the computer or their phones taking part in the classroom. (I don’t know synchronous only classrooms so this could all be wrong!)
Asynchronous is online school and is different. The objectives might be the same, but how you get there is different. Simply recording a lesson and doing the same work as synchronous doesn’t work for a lot of kids because without that face to face chance to ask questions or help each other out, without the body language cues teachers pick up on to realize the class isn’t getting it, a lot of lessons aren’t understood. Or kids just get distracted and quit listening.
New concepts taught in an asynchronous environment take longer for kids to grasp. So if we do the very same work, asynchronous kids are often completely overwhelmed with the amount of work they have to do.
Asynchronous is great if you can stay focused and learn because once you’ve mastered the objectives, you are ready to go and can do your lessons whenever, wherever. It’s highly recommended you do them daily because getting behind creates a disaster.
This is what I’m seeing for my classes right now. I haven’t studied any actual data or talked to anyone else. I think online course design is desperately needed for asynchronous and few of us know anything about that. Online management tools are desperately needed for synchronous and we’re all learning as we go.
I don’t see how the littles could possibly stay focused for either without a helper there at their sides.
The older kids often struggle too.
We’re not magically making this the best ever. Teachers are trying but most of us don’t have the training or the background in developing these courses to make them amazing, not to mention we’re often doing both at the same time AND trying to keep up with grading and quality feedback, attendance, and building these classes from scratch.
Both leave you tired and cranky and prone to throwing your hands up and saying I can’t for a day or two which easily becomes a week or two which turns into more.
I don’t know synchronous, but in asynchronous the zeroes are plentiful and the constant contact for all the kids who just don’t do is a huge job also. Sometimes you call and you hear a desperate adult at home too.
ALL of this is educating in the midst of trauma. Teachers, students and adults at home are going through trauma constantly right now.
When covid ends I believe both forms of learning will be part of our schools forever. But I hope it will be easier without the constant fear and headache and absences caused by covid and all the related pitfalls.
I have a student going into her fourth quarantine. If she were younger and childcare was an issue, a parent would have to quit a job.
I have students whose parents had solid middle class jobs who are now working three lower paying jobs to try to make ends meet. Relationships are rocky, depression is amplified because you’re alone more so your brain can lie to you more. This virus is hard and not just if you get the virus.
When covid is over developing online courses will be fun and exciting. Doing it now is neither. But we’re doing it because we have to. And we do have to. Schools that don’t are ignoring science, and that’s a strange stance for a place of learning to take.
Online won’t go away when covid does. So many students are thriving and parents like the option. I have a student on vacation in Mexico with a 100 right now. He hasn’t missed a day. That is so cool. But online will not be the constant. It’s just not the same.
One thing for certain, I have no idea how to do this. But I have some successes. I have a lot of failures too. Strangely the toughest class to figure out is yearbook. I just can’t figure out how to do it and have fun. Some kids are seeing amazing success. Some are struggling. Everything takes way longer to do. Like everything else with all this, it’s trial and error. I’m going to learn from this. And some of those lessons will be golden. Right now I’m the struggling kid. And I REALLY hate that. That right there is a lesson.
And God save me from another reporter making nasty comments about teachers not doing their jobs because their kid won’t do the work at home. Yes, NYC reporter raking in the big bucks, teachers should risk their lives and the lives of the community because Johnny wanted to play Among Us all day instead of doing school. Ugh. It’s a pandemic. Deal with it.
Okay, I know that’s a bad attitude, but teachers—those in remote only areas and those like me who are hybrid (yay)—are working three to four full time jobs right now trying to make this work. We don’t need reporters throwing us under the bus.
Thank the Lord there’s a light. The vaccines are coming. Prayers to making it there unscathed.