By Matt Neder, Cumberland County Technical Education Center
It has been a challenging time for educators since the move to distance learning began, there is no doubt about that. I have been amazed at the resilience and collaboration that my fellow teachers, administrators and staff have shown, in an effort to keep students active and engaged during this period.
As the amount of time away from the structures and frameworks found within a school environment grow, students are at greater risk of becoming more disinterested and detached from their learning. To combat this, I have seen my fellow teachers employ a number of digital strategies to try and keep that motivation and excitement up. Screencastify, Google Hangouts, and other tools have all helped our students remain connected to us during these unprecedented times.
As a CTE teacher who specializes in video production, journalism and digital content, I have also found tremendous resources through organizations such as Adobe, who has made access to their Creative Cloud apps free to any student with a school ID. WeVideo, an online editing platform for Chromebook has also made their normally paid services free of charge. This collaboration among so many individual businesses and organizations has really been incredible to see.
Personally, my goal during this time has been to devote my time to creating virtual lessons for my students. My thought process with this is that, if students can see my face every day and hear the information and specifics of lessons in a visual context, they are more likely to remain engaged and motivated to learn.
The responses I have received thus far have been tremendous, which makes the effort I’m putting into making these videos all the more worthwhile. I have shared some of the links to my virtual lessons below in order to attempt to illustrate these examples, but my overall message is one of gratitude and thanks to everyone in the education profession. You have gone above and beyond to reach students in unique and innovative ways, and I implore you to continue these efforts. It is not easy, it is not convenient, but the dedication I have seen to put the students first has blown me away. I just wanted to share this, as it is easy to forget during these challenging times.
Matt Neder is a Communications/Video Production teacher at Cumberland County Technical Education Center in Vineland, NJ.