For Twenty-year teaching veteran Ricardo Salgado, an El Centro Secondary Teachers Association member since 2000, the worldwide pandemic has created a problem that some “Tech Savvy” teachers have taken up as a challenge; through experience and collaboration, he has helped his fellow members develop their online teaching skills and maintain instructional delivery during the ongoing crisis.
Since his Southwest High School mathematics classes were shuttered by the statewide school closures, Salgado’s status as an early technology adapter has enabled him to move quickly to online learning platforms while encouraging and supporting fellow teachers to do so as well.
His personal story (below) includes the specific tools, programs, and apps he uses to interface with students online.
BACKGROUND– Ongoing use of technology in my classroom made it easier transitioning to remote/distance learning than it may otherwise have been. For the past 4 or 5 years, I’ve been teaching/delivering lessons in front of my class using an iPad. [I record my lessons as I teach, I then upload them to my YouTube channel then post them on my edmodo.com classroom for 24/7 student access- contacting them via Remind.com]. The channel now has over 1000 videos/lessons of algebra 1 & algebra 2. It’s easy to find a lesson from the previous year for the current situation we are in.
Prior training experience was also beneficial; before the pandemic, I was one of a handful of teachers at Southwest High School that had a YouTube channel and created/uploaded daily videos. I was asked by school leaders to be a co-presenter at our second-semester district-wide professional development on the use of technology for classroom teachers. We trained colleagues on how to create a YouTube channel, film videos, and upload them for student use.
The training proved timely and beneficial. As we faced the announcement of statewide closures, teachers we trained were able to transition to remote learning much easier.
It would be unjust to not mention them here, our school district also has an amazing group of icoaches, that provide training and continuous support to all teachers throughout the year. They did so much to help our teachers, especially now that all teachers are required to continue education from home.
Many things haven’t changed; the tools I use during the school year (Edmodo.com, Turbo scan pro app, Remind app, Explain Everything EDU app, YouTube, google drive, Zoom, google hangouts, google classroom) are the tools I still use today. So many other teachers do the same. Despite these difficult circumstances, I feel we are still providing our students with quality education.
REALITY CHECK- Still, things are definitely more challenging than before. While I’ve been using this technology for some time, and although I can easily create videos, that doesn’t make teaching from home easy. I have 4 boys (ages 2,7,8 & 16), they most definitely need attention and help with their own schoolwork. My wife is also a Kindergarten teacher, so teaching from home and keeping our kids on a regular productive routine is an ongoing challenge. It almost feels like my teaching day went from 8-3:16 pm to my new schedule 6:30am to 10pm. I am uploading several videos throughout the day, responding to texts from students, answering questions on Edmodo, hosting video conferences for my students, all day and all night long, weekends included. What gets me through this tough time, is how I see my students still hungry to learn. When I receive texts via Remind, when I get questions posted on Edmodo, it fuels my energy to be the best teacher that I can be; technology is making that possible. Parents are responding courageously to the situation. Many of them are grateful for my availability to my students, and the video lessons that they can access 24/7.
SAMPLES- Below are some videos I used for the training; examples of me recording my lessons & also some video lessons prepped from home, including:
Geometry asymptote description: https://youtu.be/LJiC0Apd_k8
Path of parabolas: https://youtu.be/hRH57EXtSaA
Video On Slope with drawings: https://youtu.be/Hns6_gXO36k
2.7 calculating taxes: https://youtu.be/ZUZeHr9gB7I
Taking inequalities too far: https://youtu.be/b8LCfNIwrLE
The videos below are not lessons; they are examples of what can be done with Explain Everything. I made a video with my children at home for fun, and I also did a Tech slam Presentation at a previous beginning of the year Staff development day where I explained the benefits of Explain Everything EDU app. I finished my presentation by showing this comical commercial that I created on the Explain Everything app.
Paul’s lego video: https://youtu.be/Jo58Fgqo_mY
Explain Everything commercial for tech slam: https://youtu.be/oz1j3mLXEtU
RECOMMENDATIONS- I highly recommend all teachers to purchase Explain Everything EDU app for ipad on the apple market. It makes PowerPoints, or google slides, seem stale in comparison. Teachers can use it to deliver lessons in class or create videos from home and upload to their favorite online platform, i.e. google classroom or edomodo.com. I also highly recommend creating a schedule with your family, and give a try to dressing for school. I get dressed up as if I were going to work, I even put on cologne, We also get the four kids dressed up Monday through Friday. I find it to be beneficial to my (our) mental health. We watch catholic mass on TV on EWTN or live streamed by our local priests on Sundays as a family, my wife and I have (30 min) date nights on Fridays in the front porch while our teenage son watches the younger boys inside, I still wake up at 5:30am to workout in the mornings at home. I guess I’m recommending my fellow teachers tap into their creativity, stay mentally healthy, create a schedule, and do things you would normally do, but from home. That way you can feel great mentally, and be as great a teacher from home as you are at your school or site.