I recently received an e-mail from a student who missed a week with the flu asking how she could catch up. This student’s class is not 1:1 so we don’t use Google Classroom daily like we do in my 1:1 classes. I replied to the student listing the ways she could use the resources I had posted to Classroom to catch up. It was a long e-mail. When I was finished, I was impressed with how much easier it is to meet the needs of absent students than it was a few short years ago. The student had missed lessons in our Civil War unit. I was able to point her to the following resources:
- The homework for the unit was all on Google Classroom. This previously was print-based but I used Google Drive to digitize the print material, making it accessible to anyone with an internet connection and eliminating the problems of students losing it, absence and homework-eating dogs.
- I had a video recap on Classroom for each lesson she missed. I need to thank Chris Aviles, who made the suggestion of taping lesson recaps while speaking at EdCampNJ. For students in 1:1 classrooms, strategies like this transform learning and eliminate the “$1000 pencil” problem I heard Joshua Koen speak about, also at EdCampNJ. I have been making recaps of all my lessons since EdCamp. Even though this student’s class cannot access the recaps in the classroom, they can at home to review or catch up in the event of absence. I have been using SnagIt to make my video recaps on my Chromebook. I write more about this in another blog post.
- I also posted three Civil War Crash Course videos. I love John Green’s Crash Course videos and students do too as evidenced by the 150 million times Crash Course videos have been viewed. I provide a scaffold for the videos by putting questions about them into a Google Form and linking the forms and the videos in the same Google Classroom announcement. This gives students structure and accountability as they watch the videos.
Technology integration in education should not be bells and whistles. It should be about simple strategies that make a big difference for students. This absent student was able to catch up in ways unheard of when she started her time as a student. These are just a few ways teachers can use technology to keep absent students on track.