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March 30, 2021

Getting Techy with It

It always amazes me how much kids know how to do on a device or a computer. While I struggle to figure out where to put what cord, they can navigate things a lot easier.

So I’m pretty happy I figured out how to get everything to work in the classroom and still have the kids be able to hear and see each other, home and school. I want to thank my wonderful team that let me practice on them. 

Figured today I’d write it down so that next year I can remember, just in case. :)

Right now I am blessed to have 2 laptops at school for my use, a ladibug, a projector, a webcam, and a pair of external speakers. There is also a vhs/dvd player, but I’m not using that right now.

I start the TEAMs meeting on my regular laptop, then I join the meeting on my second device. I start it before I head out to get my in person kids, home starts joining the lobby so we are ready to go when in person gets inside. 

My laptop is connected to the projector through a dock. The ladibug (doc camera) is also connected to the dock so I can switch back and forth for in class kids to see my workbook via the doc cam, and my computer screen with the kids at home. The projector pretty much stays on all morning long. 

On my laptop I keep my camera on so they can see me when I’m sitting there, or when I’m at the board directly behind. I have the computer microphone muted and my volume is down to 0 as well. 

The second laptop is on a table next to the main teaching cart. I couldn’t have the computers right next to each other, it made a ringing noise. The second laptop has the webcam attached in addition to the external speakers hooked up through the headphone jack. 

The webcam is on a tripod, short on the table, so I can move it to show the room. During the online meeting the webcam microphone is the one we use. Kids at home can hear all the kids in the classroom using just that. I also use the webcam camera quite a bit. It connects automatically to the meeting, and it gives an overview of the kids in class. I rotate it around when kids are coming up to share with the kids at home. 

I don’t have to be stuck right next to a computer anymore. It’s really nice after 29 weeks of not being able to lean back in my chair. 

By having the external speakers attached to the second laptop, we can easily hear in class when I screen share a video or to hear the classmates at home. I love how the volume is adjustable, so when we need it to be silent, I can turn the volume way down. 

As for their tech, this year each student was able to get a school device. It’s one of the things they had to pick up if they were coming to school for hybrid. They bring their device, their charge cord, and their headphones with them each time they come. 

So far, each day I have had my in class group log in to our TEAM meeting to do a breakout with the others at home. It’s not for very long, but I want them to keep having those small group conversations and building relationships. My in class stays muted unless they want to talk into their headset microphones. If they don’t remember their headphones, I have little cheap ear buds that will allow them to listen, but they have to type in their breakout room chat instead of talk. 

My in class has also logged in when they need to do an assignment on TEAMs, but I’m also giving them an option to do hard copies of assignments and then they take them home to snap a picture and upload. So far it’s working and every day is getting easier. 

Anyhow, just things I want to remember for the future. Hope you had a great day! 

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