In this blog, I will share with you some resources on ‘remote education.” I collected these because of the developments with the COVID-19 pandemic. I would say this new situation and circumstances have evolved my relationship with social media entirely. Instead of just browsing the social media for simpler random and pretty many useless things,
I started to appreciate the wisdom of the crowds on social media. Initially, I was planning to give an update on my social media journey using Snapchat last week.
The COVID -19 pandemic fear and emergency measures here in Saskatchewan started to become very serious on Friday, March 13, a day after the announcement of the first Coronavirus in Saskatoon. UofR announced all classes will be suspended for four days and will be back again in a remote mode of delivery on March 20. My department, along with many other departments at the University, started to act fast and plan for this huge transition.
I opened up my laptop and started Tweetdeck. The first column, #COVID19, second #saskhealth, third #remotelearning, fourth #remoteteaching and each one of these hashtags will lead me to another and another. The wisdom of the crowds on those hashtags led me to find a lot of useful information about the virus. I started to understand what it is. I watched many shared videos, PDFS, infographics, Google docs and many more. I jumped between social media apps that day the longest time in my life, from 7 pm to 4 am.
The first bits of information I looked for was personal. I was a bit nervous and worried about my kids. I went home and started to browse Google about how dangerous this virus is and how I can protect my family, myself and everyone around me. I kept thinking about how the situation would be over the coming few months.
I knew there is a big possibility that University will close and move to remote learning (many universities and schools in Ontario and the US have already). Will schools close as well? If yes, for how long? How I prepare my house and my kids for this? Millions of questions with no answers. I began to browse social media for resources, I quickly got some, but I kept on looking for more and more. Here are some excellent starting points for the parents/ teachers among us.
- Sal and the #KhanAcademy team created daily schedules for students ages 4-18 to keep them learning. I started to follow the #keeplearnig
- K-5 Home Learning 2020
- Literacy Resources For Educators and Parents
- RESOURCES FOR TEACHING ONLINE DUE TO SCHOOL CLOSURES
- Copy of Education Companies Offering Free Subscriptions due to School Closings: and another list https://kidsactivitiesblog.com/135609/list-of-education-companies-offering-free-subscriptions/
- A Wakelet of EdTech companies offering FREE support and/or access to schools affected by COVID19 closures.
- Tips for Enabling Distance Learning through G Suite & Chrome
- BRCPS Student/Family Online Resources
- Only yesterday, I found a post from a teacher offering free Science online zoom classes for Ages 7-12! Isn’t that amazing!
Over the weekend, I kept getting notifications from my work email to start preparing for the emergency situation and to figure out a task force and workflow for moving classes online.
Sunday night, I started to look for information and resources from other institutions on Twitter. It became my way to go if I am seeking more information. I was impressed and shocked by the massive amount of resources that are shared online. Then I remembered an email from a colleague mentioning that she found a resource on a group on Facebook.
I am not a big fan of Facebook but thought I should go and explore. I joined three instructional Designer groups that are very informative. I loved it, people share their resources, ideas, discussing methods and instructions, and more. Here are some examples
- A Collection of Online Teaching Resources
- Remote Teaching Resources for Business Continuity
- Virtual Classroom Resources
- Corporate Resources for Higher Ed Going Online During COVID-19
Again, and many more… Oh, social media is so useful that in a few minutes, one can get a few pointers to great resources that were created and filtered by the wise crowd.
I got a task at work to write instructions on how to upload content (using file, URL, media and labels) to URcourse. We have some excellent guidelines already that we use. It is a task that shouldn’t take a long and pretty straight forward. I couldn’t finish it during the regular work hours as it was so busy, and we were trying to complete other tasks.
I went home thinking I have to finish this tonight. I wrote the instructions then I thought maybe I should recheck Twitter and Facebook to check how other universities wrote their instructions. Here is a sample of what I found
- Add a folder and files in a moodle course
- Creating and Editing Folders
- Prepare your content and lecture
- Creating Courses with Moodle: 4. Adding Course Content
So even for this basic and straightforward set of instructions, I was able to find tons of resources that showed me different styles of writing and diverse methods and strategies for writing the same set of information.
Should I say I converted? Will this be the first of many to come (self-motivated) journey through social media. I can’t know for sure, all that I know now is that social media has helped me significantly over the last week. I really appreciate the amount of support, care and innovation between all of us in this hard time. I felt everyone is trying to do their best to go over this hardship all the time altogether. I am curious to see research or a comparison of social media effects during the COVID-19 epidemic, and the lack of it during Spanish flu that happened almost 100 years ago and killed 50 Million people (World War 1 is estimated to have caused around 6-10 million deaths). Not only on raising awareness among the world population but also on the long term effect on economy, governments, education and relationships.