Silver Linings

I have always tried to find the silver lining in any situation. But this social distancing due to Covid-19 has been a tough one for me. Sleeping in a bit each day that is a good thing. Having two of my sons at home (one from college, one opted to remote work with us) another good thing. One son in NYC with his girlfriend is very worrisome for me. Not having my mom and mother-in-law join me earlier in April for the holiday not good. 

Not being able to physically be in a school to teach, coach, prepare for next year is awful. When I read that Florida schools will not return to the classroom this school year, I felt a huge weight drop on my shoulders!

Distance teaching has not been easy to transition to but here is the silver lining: I have learned to do things that have been on my to do list for a while. I have also renewed some tech skills that I had let lapse, particularly using iMovie. My next post or two will be about the programs that I have learned to use to support my distance teaching but will ultimately enhance my coaching of other educators in integrating technology effectively. 

Genially is a program for creating interactive content. I first learned of Genially last summer at ISTE in Philadelphia. I was intrigued. I am a big fan of Canva for my blog posts and other graphics but the idea of interactivity was interesting. But as often happens, many other things took my attention. Then as we started to distance teach, I was contacted by a representative from Genially that I had met at ISTE. She had seen the information on the EdTech EASE website and asked if I had tried Genially yet. This gave me a spark as I could imagine immediately how I would use this in remote learning. I started a Genially creation focused on curating the at-home resources that my parent contacts had told me were most helpful from the huge amount of resources I had sent them. I started this project with a free account to Genially. I was very impressed with the amount of resources that accompany the free plan. All resources for your creations are available in this plan. Check out the At-Home Resources guide I created.  

Full disclosure, as I finished this creation, I did receive a complimentary EDU plan from Genially. This plan allows me to share my creations publicly or privately as well as a variety of download options. Free plans do allow you to share your creations in a public link, so you should be careful of the information placed in the creation. 

I have found Genially fairly easy to learn. Watching the tutorials offered may have been helpful but I like to play first. The animations and interactive features are fun but I soon learned that to maintain them on the creation you must adjust the setting or they disappear after the entrance. Here are a few things I have created (some with animation some without):

Here is a Brag Board that I send out each Friday to my Kindergarten students along with a Week in Review video:

Currently I am trying out creating my Week in Review video in Genially. There are a number of template options, infographics and gamification, to name a few. I like to start with a template and then adjust to my needs. You can start with a blank creation too. I am looking forward to exploring this further, not just now but as we return to “normal.”

A colleague of mine has recently begun talking a lot about gratitude and how attitude plays a part in our having gratitude. So I have decide to adjust my attitude and find my silver linings of remote teaching. Truly for me it is the opportunity to try out new programs and see how they fit into my teaching and coaching world. 

Have you tried anything new to make your remote teaching more effective or just go easier? Let me know.

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