Author: Adriana Laze
Being a teacher is not a challenge. It is a multiple challenge.
I am Adriana Laze, a Math teacher from Albania, a Scientix & eTwinning Ambassador.
On 9 March we were notified by Albanian Ministry of Education about closing schools for two weeks. Firstly, as a lot of Albanian teachers, I didn’t know what challenges were waiting for us in future.
My concern lasted only one day. On 11 March, after consulting with European and American teachers in our Facebook group TED Alumni 2020, I had their suggestions on using Classroom Screen and Screencast-O-Matic for creating video learning material for my students. It wasn’t easy. It was my first time. Even though I had a lot of experience in creating tutorial videos for Albanian teachers, knew how to enter and use the eTwinning platform, Powtoon, this was really not easy for me. But this was not the only difficulty.
I needed to shift to, WhatsApp messages, virtual classes, virtual face-to-face communication. After again consulting with my colleagues from Europe and the United States, I decided to explore Google Classroom and Zoom. It was not easy but also not too difficult for me. Very soon I created my virtual classes, organised first metings in Zoom and made a video tutorial video for Albanian teachers. In the video tutorial, I talked about how to combine these two online platforms because the face-to-face communication between students and their teachers is very important.
Then I had another challenge. It was not very easy for my students, especially the ones being in the 6th grade. So I changed the method. I created short video tutorials for my students (and teachers too) on how to create or join Google Classroom, enter Zoom, fill in the Google Form for the online test, to read their grades, add their homework or classwork, or a picture.
The next challenge? How to engage my students in Google Classroom, because not all of them could join Zoom meeting. I started to ask my students to comment on my post, writing their name, their physical and emotional situation, then invited them to do easy playing in Kahoot! during the first minutes of the lesson. At the end of the lesson, I asked them to fill in the Google Form for a formative assessment after they watched my video tutorial prepared for them.
The next challenge? How to use GeoGebra? I did it in the first time, but, after my 6 pages containing different exercises prepared for registering were erased, I wrote them for the second time. Registering a video was another challenge.
My best challenge? How to engage my autistic student Geri. During our STEM project, we created for him some tools but forgot to give them to him being at home. He is clever with an artistic spirit but he cannot write and read, except for the cases when we write in his notebook any number or word, then he can do it. But during my online contacts with his mother I had an idea to create a puzzle for him. He loves cars, so the first puzzle was a photo with a car in 4 pieces. He made it very soon so I made another one having 16 pieces. The next puzzle was his picture with his mother in 35 pieces. This one was not very easy for him but he had a big pleasure to find out his and his mother’s faces in a puzzle. In this own way which is only understandable to his mother, he asked whether she could go to the “same place”.
After some time, I decided to change the picture. I created the word MAM in different colours and made a puzzle for him. What I expected happened – he finished the puzzle with 92 pieces. It took him so much time. But he is very persistent. After completing the puzzle he knew this word so he started to say MAM or “there is MAM”. This gave my the great pleasure. During these days his friends had also prepared different photos/puzzles such ” 1 one ” or “2 two”, using colours.
On 2 May 2020, during the activity Global Views of Covid-19, a special session of Transatlantic Educators Dialogue, I participated and told my experience on remote teaching.