Educator, Blogger, and Aspiring Developer —Visit for more about my teaching and personal pursuits.

I’ll show you how to use breakout rooms, polling, and Q&A.

In my recent article, “How I am Going to Handle Two Weeks of Remote Learning,” I made three suggestions for teachers to consider in remote learning settings. Google Meets recently added new features that can help teachers successfully implement solutions to those ideas.

In the following sections, I will identify the new tool, what challenges it can address, and how I will implement it into my remote learning classroom.

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Tool #1: Question and Answer (Q&A)

The Q&A tool is a features similar to the chat, but allows students to post questions and other students to “up vote” as a means of indicating they also have that same question without reposting the question. …

With recent spikes in COVID cases, my district is moving back into remote learning for the next two weeks. If your district is doing the same, this article will share some ideas I am using for this short term hiatus from in-person instruction to ensure learning continues.

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Suggestion #1: Be specific with what you want to achieve.

If you don’t use your state learning standards to guide your instruction, now is a great time to start. Textbooks and curriculums are great resources, but now is not the time for overly robust experiences, designed for the classroom, that may not land as desired in the remote learning.

Instead, I recommend you look at the learning objective(s) for that topic in your state standards. Focus on finding that “performance verb” such as “analyze,” “categorize,” or “evaluate.” This word will help you as you modify or create an assignment that still meets the objective in a remote setting. …

Features of my classroom that my students feel are creating a productive learning environment in an atypical school year.

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Looking Toward Fall 2020 and Spring 2021

Most schools in the United States are not functioning as they normally would. This means that students are either exclusively online, meeting in a hybrid structure with alternating in person and remote learning days, or some blend of the previous two environments.

Having reflected on some takeaways from last year in my last piece entitled, Five Ways School Closures Could Cause a Productive Change in Learning, I decided to take my own advice and consider how to change my classroom procedures to facilitate learning through differentiation, asynchronous learning (when appropriate), and positive classroom culture. …

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Pure project-based learning (PBL) is an instructional model that is always of interest to me, as it focuses on empowering students to put their best effort forth by affording them the autonomy to make choices, which combined with appropriate resources and support, often leads to high student achievement. As much as this seems ideal, the implementation and cultivation of an effective classroom environment in which students have virtually full autonomy has often remained just beyond my reach.

When given the opportunity to teach a computer science course, anchored primarily in skill development with the goal of showing mastery through content creation, it felt like the right time to shine for PBL. …

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Two years ago I wrote a post called Dead or Alive: What is going on with the Virtual Reality Industry? and I never thought it would get the readership that it did. Since then I have invested more time in learning the design process, prototyping some product ideas, and seeing how, from an “outsider’s view,” the perceived value of the industry is changing.

As referenced in my previous story, I felt that the Virtual Reality industry had to do some soul searching before it would be able to carve its own niche. …

We are now at the crux of a very important “could we, should we” moment in education.

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The context of a school as the central location for learning has been somewhat broken down and teachers have been forced to adjust to a remote learning model of instruction. While not desired, the experience of this past semester provided the opportunity to review and reflect on instruction.

The objective of this post is to talk about how we can adapt some of the elements used in a remote learning model into the new, most likely different idea of what school is to students, instruction, and learning, regardless of whether learning happens in a classroom or in a remote location. …

Educating students is a challenging experience in and of itself, so are we hampering the success of our schools by lumping too much on their plates or are we holding them back by not providing enough support?

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If you are outside the educational field, it is still possible that you are familiar with the alphabet soup of initiatives and acronyms that surround and influence the daily lives of teachers and students.

While each of these concepts and initiatives has value individually, I recently reflected on the collective impact of compounded initiatives on the educational experience I am involved with and wanted to share what I unearthed when looking at different initiatives. …

The more years that I teach, I continue to see that learning is a deeply personal endeavor. Whether it is through my own pursuits of learning or student’s acquisition of new skills and content in my classroom, it is clear that rarely do two people find success in exactly the same way.

To address this there has been a myriad of pedagogical approaches aimed at trying to address the individual student. …

A lot of people say, “coding is just a fad, not everyone has to be a computer programmer,” and they are right. Many of us are guilty in referring to coding as being a necessary skill. I am not saying that I want to walk that statement back, but it is important to provide a refined explanation of how the skill of coding plays into a larger understanding of the field of computer science.

Coding is a way for learners to become engaged in the larger subject of Computer Science, which is the subject we really need them to know.

While I will agree that we don’t need every student to be a computer programmer, but from an educational perspective I wouldn’t mind every student learning how to code. …

No one can deny that the world is different than it was when our current educational system was designed. With this in mind, what are WE (myself included) suppose to do to help our students thrive in a world that is vastly different than the environment in our classrooms?

Frankly the answer is simple… Change the way we teach.

Is the answer that simple? You bet it is!

Is it really that easy? No.

Changing the way you teach is hard. Not just from the standpoint of preparation, but also from the lens of the students that have learned a specific way for many years, regardless of its effectiveness. …

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