This COVID-19 lockdown has been quite an experience for educators. I follow teachers on social media here in Hawaii and across the nation who are scrambling to create distance learning lessons and assignments for their students. I see photos of groups meeting virtually to plan professional development or lesson plans. I watch teachers figure out ways to connect and share with their students socially and emotionally as well as academically. And l realize that I have fallen behind. Could I do what they are doing? Probably not without a lot of assistance and support.
This was made so apparent to me last night. I was invited to join a Hawaii Educators W-rite session which would be held virtually for the first time. Back in July 2019, I spoke to this group of educators who were committed to support each other through writing, and since then, their group has grown in number and expanded to two other islands. This would be a great time to reconnect with these educators and continue my learning and commitment to writing.
I was ready at 6:30, the start time for the virtual meeting. I had my iPad ready with my earphones plugged in. I had logged on to the site. Unfortunately, no one could hear me as I was asked to introduce myself. Wait, let me unmute my microphone. Hmm. . . They still couldn’t hear me. I plugged and unplugged my earphones. Still nothing. Someone suggested I use the microphone on my computer. (Where is it on my iPad?) Oh, well, by then, everyone was busy writing so I decided to get working on my blog. (Truth: I deleted what I wrote last night and started this blog instead.)
The last half hour of every W-rite session is set aside for a guest speaker. I ended up using my phone to connect to the virtual meeting so I could hear Nanea Kalani, the guest speaker for this session. She has written for several newspapers and is now with the Department’s Communications Office. Nanea was informative; I wish I’d written down her four main points because I’m sure they will be helpful IF I decide to write another book and as I continue to blog.
When I was a principal, I knew that I had support from our tech team if I ever encountered a problem. Now that I am retired and at home, I am aware that learning on my own is a reality but that there are lots of resources and people who can help me to navigate this new way of meeting. I’m thinking that I might want to try Zoom or another similar app just to see how I might be able to use it in the future.
I’ve got a lot of catching up to do!