Technology and Its Effectiveness in Distance Learning

Hello there!  Another week has flown by which means that I am linking up with Hot Lunch Tray!

This week's prompt is:

What technologies enhanced/reduced your effectiveness this past spring?

Google Classroom

Before at-home learning, I dabbled in Google Classroom.  Right away I realized I had A LOT to learn.  I taught myself by making many mistakes, watching a lot of tutorials (head here to check out one of my favorites for locking down backgrounds in Google slides), reading blog posts and practicing.  I wanted to make activities that were directly correlated with what I needed to teach according to the State of Massachusetts.  Here is an example of what we needed to cover for fractions:

Represent a fraction 1/b on a number line diagram by defining the interval from 0 to 1 as the whole and partitioning it into b equal parts. Recognize that each part has size 1/b and that the endpoint of the part based at 0 locates the number 1/b on the number line.

Teaching fractions on a number line which can be difficult when taught in person.  I felt that I knew my students' level of understanding so I developed a week's worth of related activities.  This slide is from the first day's slide deck, and it includes a link to a Screencastify video I made.


Screencastify = Another Useful Technology Tool!

Screencastify is a free Chrome extension which allows you to record what is on your screen.  You can only use this extension if you are using your Chrome browser.  If you look in the top right corner of your screen and see an orange and white arrow, you have Screencastify.  I loved making short videos (the videos are only free for 5 minutes or less) to help explain new material.  In addition, you can post your videos to Youtube where I now have my own channel!  I made several videos about Massachusetts in the American Revolution.

Google Meets ~ A Mixed Bag

Our meetings were always on Google Meets.  I found this option to be unreliable.  Some days it worked, and other days, it was very glitchy which made it frustrating for all of us.  The best part by far, was making that daily connection with the kids.  I would try to throw in some academics, but the kids just wanted to visit and learn cursive or play Kahoot.  

Teaching cursive was not planned, but when I noticed the kids losing interest, I asked them if they would like to learn cursive.  They all perked up so cursive it was!

In closing

Overall, at-home learning was a tremendous amount of work because I needed to create all new material that was interactive and engaging.  I spent hours at my computer figuring out the new technology and incorporating it.  I kn
ow a good chunk of kids did the work and learned some of the material.  Other students' work habits and participation were fair to poor. 

Thanks for visiting.  I hope you are enjoying your summer!


  1. I agree that it was too much work to convert our teaching to an online class. I believe most of us did good!!

  2. Hi Susan, it was interesting to read about the tech that worked and didn't work for you. Thanks! I also loved Screencastify. Next year we get to use Google Classrooms, so I'm looking forward to that because our student learning / information system was for the birds!

  3. Hi Susan! I loved seeing your video! I taught fractions on a number line remotely also, and it went better than expected! I didn't use Screencastify, but I did some videos recording my screen. It was so helpful for modeling. I used Google Classroom, too. I feel like I need to do a better job next year with how I organize assignments. I liked the way you did it: with an agenda/to do list and all the links needed attached. Thanks for sharing your process. It's been super helpful.
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