While lockdown is slowly being lifted in Israel, the vast majority of teenagers have not physically gone back to school to have lessons in classrooms and meet teachers and classmates. Schools closed on September 17th. We have gone back to teaching and learning fully online. Times are uncertain, so using Zoom and Moodle, I try to bring some certainty when it comes to dealing with that which, for example, really unsettles many of my pupils: Assessment (“Exams”, “Tests”, “Grades” – that is what bothers them much).
School time has become a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous meetings on a screen. To the “What do we have to study?” and “How do we have to study it?”, my teenage pupils ask me “How exactly are we going to be tested?”. School time is never easy, and a fully online school does not make things easier in the least.
Considering that in “normal times”, my teenage pupils feel insecurities as they face pressure from a multitude of sources (themselves, peers, family, school – yes, from me, too-, society, and their hormonal changes, in these Coronavirus times they feel even more insecure – Learn more). I make it a point to at least cut down a bit of insecurity concerning learning, practice, and assessment. Using Moodle, as could not be otherwise, helps me here, but unless pupils are helped to understand how to do things with and on Moodle, uncertainty can only increase.
I try to reduce uncertainty. Ah, yes: This is easier said than done, but since I teach English as a Foreign Language, most of my Zoom meetings are devoted to communicating (in English) with my pupils. I try to make them speak English as we engage with whatever learning content we engage with. I make it a point to have them use English to discuss real-life situations in these absolutely unreal times. Oh, yes: how to “do exams” for them is also a real-life situation.
Indeed, via Whatsaap, Zoom meetings, and the Moodle Platform, I say what content I will present mainly on Moodle, I present it on Moodle, and then I say what I have presented (also on Moodle, via videos), and get them to interact with the content. The technique is older than I am, and I am not that young, mind you.
Uploading videos I create on Moodle makes me believe I have some sort of a presence for pupils on the Platform. I guess pupils need to know what their teacher expects them to learn and do in these “New Normal” times as much as in the other “Normal” ones. At least, I try my best to do so.
I tend to share with colleagues what I do because I want to encourage colleagues to use Moodle.
The videos I attached may give you an idea of how I believe Moodle helps me reduce uncertainty when it comes to my pupils’ learning and being tested. Does this mean that all is clear? No, of course not, but Moodle helps me add some personalization which, if it were not there, would probably add more uncertainty.
I plan how to use Moodle in times of uncertainty. We know, however, that life is what happens to all of us while we are busy making other plans.