Remote Learning; Tools to effectively teach children while away from school. The Saint Thomas More way!!!
By Francisco Raigoza, Parent
Being the inquisitive parent that I am, I’ve been asking my kids how they spend their time on the computer. What do you do on your Chromebook, was my question? What I have found to my pleasant surprise is that they spend a lot of time learning, exploring, and expanding their problem and thinking skills by using various computer-based courseware.
I believe that the goal of any well-rounded curriculum should contain a combination of the following core competencies.
Coding & Computer Science: No, a thoughtful computer science introduction does not include handing our children our iPhone so that they can watch the latest episode of “Ryan’s Toy Review” on YouTube. I recently had a conversation with Mrs. Barbara Aguayo, our third-grade teacher on what coding and a computer science introduction could teach out kids: It teaches kids how to be better thinkers by being able to be better problem solvers.
Creativity Tools: How does one think outside the box? By constantly training our mind to think beyond the ordinary. The brain, like any other muscle in our body, needs to be exercised. The best way to do so is by using tools that will enable our creative side to flourish and get expanded.
Digital Literacy: Steve Jobs once said that the computer was the bicycle of the 21st century. Just like the bicycle, it allowed us to use OUR energy to not only travel greater distances, it allowed us to travel FASTER; The computer has allowed us to use our creativity to not only process more information but also acquire larger quantities of information- faster. The vast amount of information that one can collect by just visiting Google would have been unimaginable just 30 years ago. It truly is amazing. It is important that our kids be exposed and immersed in technology to better use it not only for today but for the future.
Language, Arts, And Culture: It is a well-known fact that Steve Jobs refused to allow his kids to use computer gadgets. They were not allowed to use tablets or even computers. In short, he believed children should be introduced to the arts at a young age by not using technology. He felt it was extremely important to be well versed in culture and language. Technology would interfere with that introduction. Computers have come a long way. They are no longer these dumb devices that react to input that Steve Jobs spoke about but rather are a lot more immersive with the vast number of tools available today as we will see with the vast number of tools that Saint Thomas More has been using to make remote learning as effective as possible. So much so, that I think it would have changed Steve Jobs’s view on how computers can be used as teaching tools at an early age.
How has Saint Thomas More facilitated the remote learning experience?
The school has chosen the Google platform GSuite to facilitate teacher\student interaction.
This platform was used by Arcadia Unified School District to “Across all subjects, teachers report higher levels of student engagement and increased levels of student achievement and mastery
Google doc is used to compose papers and reports and share with fellow students and teachers to allow collaboration.
Google Classroom is a tool within G Suite for Education for educators to create, review, and organize assignments.
Google Meet is the Google Classroom chat component. It has allowed students to remain securely connected with other students and allow better social and project collaboration.
MobyMax is an award-winning learning platform that is used to teach a variety of subjects.
It is truly an amazing application. I am putting the link below in case anyone wants to read in more detail what the application does. This application has made my kids WANT to learn as it makes learning really fun and entertaining.
Khan Academy has the goal of creating a set of online tools that help educate students in a variety of subjects. The organization produces short lessons in the form of videos. Students have been learning a variety of subjects through this amazing site. Parents, check it out by following the link below, I believe there is something for everyone at the Khan Academy.
Students have spent countless hours on Zoom and have enjoyed every single one - even the little ones (like my kindergartners) have enjoyed the Zoom meetings.
CommonLit allows critical thinking by allowing kids to ready though passages while improving their critical thinking.
“Students explore a variety of powerful and intuitive tools (like draw+record, collage, video, and more!) to show what they know in the way that works best for them.”
It’s a learning platform that allows kids to expand their creating thinking by working through mini-projects.
Have you checked your typing proficiency? Well, this site not only shows you that, but it also shows you how to become a better typist and improve your word per minute typing (WPM) speed. My speed it 89 WPM, what is yours?
This one is a bonus! It was suggested by Mrs. Ortiz to my wife and other parents as a great parent resource. It has been a fantastic resource for us. I’ve included a snapshot of the website below and the link below it. Check it out.