The COVID-19 pandemic has a dramatic impact on the way I interact or approach things in my life. Family time, friends’ gatherings, education, shopping, cooking, relaxing and work are all sort of things are taking different means and shapes. We are not at the end of this wave of change yet. I think there will be more change to come as we do things more “remotely.”
The usage of technology for me has dramatically increased in the past two months. Like everyone else I have to find alternatives virtual digital tools/ solutions for things I used to do.
At work: Zoom is the main app I use to communicate with my team or department. Zoom is used to support instructors at the UofR by providing daily drop-in sessions to answer their pedagogical or technical questions. My team and I supported tens of instructors, hosted many webinars and recorded many short instructional videos. Before COVID-19, I rarely met those instructors. Email was the dominant tool for those two months ago. With the change, I get to remotely meet the instructors. This is where Zoom shines as it provides a larger window to see, listen to and interact with humans than email does. This is a positive change overall.
Moodle is another technology tool that I have to dig dipper in after all university classes moved to remote delivery. This increased the number of courses/ instructors my team and I support. We get way many more questions and ideas of how instructors would like to deliver their class materials. For example, the typical practice of some instructors in a particular field of study did not conceive teaching remotely a couple of months ago. Now they do. This added new challenges. My team and I had to think of novel ways to accommodate such fields of study. I have to admit I had to go through a steep learning curve of how to control Moodle more. I learn something new every day either from instructors’ questions or from novel information and resources that became available to us.
At home and personally, I had to get familiar with Google Meet and Microsoft Teams as these are the video conferencing tools my kids use at their schools. I use Khan Academy and Youtube to support their learning process. Facetime and Messenger are the two apps I use to communicate with my family back in Egypt. We have Zoom hooked up to our smart TV in the main living area of the house. We use this configuration to talk to my in-laws in Toronto and include them in our daily activities. Seeing people on a larger screen while moving around adds a bit of a human touch to the call. My daughter is playing online chess/cards with her grandparent in Toronto to keep them both entertained during the lockdown. I will try I get my workout either by walking outside or join the virtual exercise room by a trainer I used to attend her classes. I will try the spell your name workout that Daina mentioned in her blog. I use the public library free online services to read some books or watch documentaries on Kanopy
I mostly do my grocery shopping online nowadays if I find a time slot that isn’t 10 days away:). I am most impressed and happy by the purchase history tracking provided by the PC optimum card. Grocery shopping is now easier and quicker. The app saves my purchasing history and recommends similar products based on that. I created a Paypal account to have safer and smoother transactions while shopping online. We see a lot of delivery guys leaving things at our doorsteps. Twitter and Instagram are becoming part of my daily technology usage routine as well.
I check Pinterest daily for new recipes and cooking inspiration as there is more time to cook right now. We are planning to build our deck and finish our basement during the summer so I am sure we will be using youtube a lot for this. Do you have any recommendations for resources to start with?
I am really happy with the family time we have. We have each other 24/7 which I really appreciate. However, I miss our typical normal life. I miss driving my kids to their activities and watch them. I miss hanging out with friends at a coffee shop or restaurant. I hope we all get back to our normal life soon!