K12 International Academy Teacher in the News
Get to know Jessica from this interview.
Q1) How does online teaching differ from teaching in a standard classroom?
Being an online teacher is not that much different than being in a standard classroom. While there are some differences, the majority of what we do is the same. I spend most of my time trying to find cool new links or resources that will keep my students engaged and active. When they come to one of my teaching sessions, I want them to be interacting with me and the other students, I want them to be engaged with what we are learning, and I want them to NEVER BE BORED! This requires a lot of work on our part as teachers to find these cool tips and tricks to use.
The major difference in being a virtual teacher versus a standard teacher is that it is sometimes harder to build those connections with students like you would in a regular classroom. Since we don’t get to spend all day with our students, or even just one period a day, we have to work a bit harder to build that relationship with the student. This is where the engaging activities come in because I want my students to remember how much fun they have in my teaching sessions and to keep coming back so I can learn more about them. By doing this, I’m not just a face on a screen, but someone who truly cares about them and their progress.
Q2) What is your favorite part about being an online teacher?
My favorite part about teaching online is the easy access to…wait for it…technology. No brainer, right? When I taught in a standard classroom, I would find all these awesome resources to use, but I couldn’t necessarily get computer lab time, or the one laptop cart that we had in the entire school was being used by someone else. As an online teacher, when I find cool activities or games that I want my students to use to help them grasp a concept, they have the computer available to them already! Being able to have easy access to the 21st century technology that so many students benefit from is awesome!
Q3) How do you/your students use SymbalooEDU?
There are several different ways that I use SymbalooEDU. The first is to create a webmix that includes all of my links to outside sources. I have one spot for all my favorite tech tools that I can use when creating my teaching sessions. It saves a lot of time and a headache by having this available to me with one click!
The second way I use SymbalooEDU is to create webmixes for my students to use. I have a webmix that is solely dedicated to “Research Project Help.” I have links to citation help, source websites, and also to the project itself. Additionally, I have created a review webmix for my AP students to have access to various review videos, activities, and worksheets to help them prepare for their AP exams.
I love being able to share my webmixes with my students and have one ‘go to’ spot for them to use. It is great to not have to send out multiple files or documents and instead they are all available and embedded in one page.
Q4) What are your favorite tech tools and how do you incorporate them into your class?
There are a couple of tech tools that I absolutely love! The first is Powtoon. Powtoon is an awesome site that allows you to create videos, or “commercials” as I call them, and share them with whomever you choose. I use Powtoon to create commercials for my upcoming teaching sessions. It’s a brief introduction to what we are going to be learning, and hopefully gets them excited to attend. I can also use it at the end of my sessions to help review the material and go over the main points.
The second tech tool that I can’t get enough of is Wordle or Tagxedo. These websites allow you to create your own word cloud. I use this as an ‘icebreaker’ with various adjectives at the beginning of my session to allow students to tell me how they are feeling that day and get them talking. I also use it as a way to put together major ideas of one topic, for example, the Civil War. We then discuss why the specific ideas were chosen and how they encompass the idea.
Q5) Are you Symbaloo Certified? If so, how has the program helped you?
Yes, I am certified PD and hopefully will get my PD PRO badge soon. I think the certification opened up new possibilities for its use.
To follow Jessica’s symbaloo profile click HERE
Check out a few of Jessica’s blog posts below