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Love must come first in distance learning too

Teachers who have been working in online teaching and learning for decades understand the potential and power of the tool called technology, but it's not about the tech.

The following is from a May blog post by the author, now retired from teaching for 31 years in Nespelem and still an advocate for the use of tech to inspire and teach, with the right emphasis.

This article online will link to her post, which contains more than 30 links to resources for teachers, at

The thing about our closing schools and staying home is definitely a loss of social interaction face-to-face, a chance to sit beside our students to listen and provide feedback, but mostly to encourage. And classrooms which are communities of learners and learning are ones that focus on encouragement and support by teachers and students as well as continuous learning of content.

Classrooms and hallways are filled with conversation and even shenanigans, and each person from school misses that.

Yet, teachers have stepped up and provided lessons to meet the needs of students in different and new ways - often with only a week's notice. We thank our teachers and staff for their steadfast dedication to their students and their learning.

Today (May 15, 2020), a Kevin Hodgson was able to return to his school to gather up the possessions of students left from those days in March. His reflection shows the effect of silent emptiness echoing the hallways and classrooms, a loss felt deep within each teacher's heart.

Take a look at Hodgson's blog post: Pandemic Poem from the Classroom: Broken Pencils

I wrote a response:

Those pencils.

So many.

All sizes.

Broken tips.

Just sharpened.

Blunt, ready to be.

Thoughts held in

a distant memory

Lost words

not erased,

just unwritten.

This post is so heartfelt; lost school hallway conversations - where are they now?

And so, I repeat from yesterday, this, about moving forward: "Love first, design later." - Maha Bali 

If you're a teacher looking for online resources, there are many out there now that do not require paying a company or person to show you how: find those who have already been teaching online for years. 

The important thing to remember is the heart of teaching starts with relationships. The learning comes with the pedagogy of teaching and learning, not the technology.

That said, the technology, implemented from a pedagogical focus, provides teachers and students with the how of learning remotely.

A few people who know a few things about remote learning: 

Laura Gibbs: Online teacher using blogs as hub

A Summer Blogfest of HowTo

Be There With Blogging

Growth Mindset

Receiving Feedback HowTo

Giving FeedbackHowTo

Feedback WOW Strategy

Feedback TAG and "Let's Pretend" Strategies

Book Chapter: Getting Rid of Grades

Edublogs - a platform for classrooms and blogging with excellent support

The Complete Guide to Student Digital Portfolios

Resources for Teaching Online

Michelle Pacansky-Brock

Liquid Syllabus

Hybrid Pedagogy -- a group of thoughtful educators

What is Online Learning?

Pedagogy of Kindness

Jesse Stommel

Online Pedagogy Website

Designing for Care

Sean Michael Morris

Blog / Website

Fostering Care and Community at a Distance

Technology is not Pedagogy

Larry Ferlazzo -- Classroom Teacher and Author -- Blogs on Edublogs platform


His mid-year list of "Bests"

Gary Stager

Planning for the Best-Case Scenario

More and other authors at Silver Lining for Education

Scott McLeod-- former principal and teacher; leader in educational technology

Blogs at Dangerously Irrelevant

Thomas C Murray

Leading through Unprecedented Times

Jennifer Gonzalez: Former middle school and pre-service teacher 

Cult of Pedagogy Blog, Podcast

The above resources discuss pedagogy and specific practices that encourage online learning and student agency and engagement. I've found blogging and Google Classroom to be most adaptable to pedagogy that promotes improved teaching and learning.  Here are resources on using the technology-- but remember, it's the pedagogy that makes the difference to learning.

Catlin Tucker -- classroom teacher and author

Station Rotation Online

Leaders for Google Classroom:

Eric Curts: Resources by Topic  and Google Classroom

Kasey Bell:  Google Classroom

Alice Keeler

Larry Ferlazzo: Online Discussions


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