When bad remote lectures happen to good learners

“Mrs. Wright, I am going to turn off my camera and hit my mute button because I have to shower now but I didn’t want to miss your lecture”

Welp, that failed. A CS teacher should be better at Digital Remote Lectures than I was today. For heavens sake, I feel like I have trained 1/4th of the faculty on how to lead a digital class!

But today, I tried a different thing, a digital lecture. Doesn’t sound like it should be different, I have hosted at least 4 digital classes so far and they were GREAT! A 10 minute check in to introduce a new assignment, answer some questions, make sure everyone is ok – no problem. I was the “Best Remote Instruction Teacher” in the dining room. But today, I got the bright idea to introduce data abstraction as part of a 30 minute digital lecture. Did you hear it fail out there?

Bless them they were trying – notebooks in hand, fake nodding along – they hung in there for 22 minutes of pure confusion. After my teenager overwhelmed the home internet with a PS4 update that crashed my “host” connection within 3 minutes, we should have just hung up.

Even after some digital scurrying, there they were – bright shiny faces on my screen – and I had been a wizard and joined the meeting with my old dinosaur laptop with the document camera connected – we were going to get after it.

Except they couldn’t see my face

So I called in with the now re-booted laptop and they could see my face, but they couldn’t see what I was writing. And still – we plugged on.

So they watched my piece of paper, while I gestured and pointed to my screen and taught with enthusiasm that they couldn’t appreciate because they were in little boxes on my screen.

Turns out I can’t teach sitting down.

So, I bombed. Hard. It was bad.

Can I tell you how much I hate being bad at something? Hate it, a lot.

But – they were out there and they were ok! And I refilmed it, and gave them 100s for being the most supportive little AP CSPers around. My district mandates that if we have a digital class, we must make a recording of it for those students not in attendance – or those who want to revist it. ( a policy I fully support)

So – I just uploaded a video titled 4.15LectureOnDataAbstractionThatShouldHaveEndedSooner to the internet for their digital enjoyment

PS – don’t tell my district supervisor but I edited out the part where Student A informed us he was going to turn off his camera and hit the mute button – see he was listening in his bathroom and needed to take a shower but didn’t want to miss my lecture.

Anyone else bomb a lecture that was heard by a teenager in the shower today? No? Just Me?

Published by MaryClair Wright

High School Computer Science Teacher in Alabama.

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