#remotelearning bona fides

So, I’m a classroom teacher — but I’ve also taught online each summer for the past six years, first in French (!) and then mathematics. Before that, I tutored students online through our government online chat/whiteboarding system. And I’ve been working in a 1:1 environment for 25 years. While not “paperless” as a goal, I try to make sure everything is digitized so I can find it, re-use it and distribute it. When people asked what I wanted teachers to learn, my response was always “to save time” — I don’t have a pedagogical drum to beat with other teachers, I only want to save them time so they can make the improvements that they want to make. So everything I mentioned will (a) save time (b) be simple & quick and (c) be free.

This will be Microsoft focused. But I’m a Gdocs user!? THAT’S OKAY. The teacher can use whatever they want to produce their content — we’re going to use Microsoft because, in a distance format, we need to provide the students with as much structure as possible, without cost, on any device. We have to make things obvious & clear with as many breadcrumbs as possible so that a student (and parent) left at home can follow along. We don’t want files, we don’t want folders — we want a book for them to work through, with outlines & links and formats. And that’s OneNote.


I designed the first OneNote ClassNotebook — I built it for teachers to maximize their work with students. It was DESIGNED with a distributed system where you didn’t always have wifi, you wanted rich & diverse multimedia options and feedback was a driving focus. It was meant to be driven by the teacher (I’m a high school math teacher so my pedagogical focus has never been discovery — I’m much more for guided instruction, good questions, and discussion) and having access to the complete archive of teacher & student work was essential. The OneNote ClassNotebook is the BINDER — the Trapper Keeper — older folks grew up with — it contained everything the student did in class, all the handouts, the class schedule, the review. And, the sections & pages acted as a time-organized map of the course from beginning to end.

Feel free to ask any question, either here or on Twitter @sig225 . As I mentioned in my last post, my motto used to be Aut inveniam viam, aut faciam but over time, I began to use I learn, I help others learn. And since my own March Break travels have been curtailed, I have time to work on things.

Cal Armstrong
Cal Armstrong
Articles: 223

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