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Distance-learning how to do distance-learning

Today, I got a lovely comment from a student on Show My Homework. The student doesn’t always find learning easy and has a wobbly time in life. But they engaged, did their work beautifully and on time. And I could give them feedback in a way that works for lots of people.

I am dyslexic. I really dislike reading. I find it very, very difficult. I like writing but my handwriting is like a dog’s dinner and an utter mess. My kiddos take the mick for it and I laugh at it, because my marking and whiteboard writing is a thing to behold- and to mock and to ask for re-reading. And I’m OK with that because I’m confident enough to manage it.

I’ve used Show My Homework and the like in the past but not to anything like their full extent and capability. I’m still not there, but these last 3 days, I’ve got a lot better; Corona Virus (Covid-19) will do that do you and school closures are a fairly good catalyst to make things happen. I’m not a technophobe and I’m not a technophile. I’m a reasonably competent user and hopefully not a complete wally. This week, I’ve been learning a lot how to do distance learning- as a learner and a teacher.

And it’s dyslexia friendly. I can do all the teachery things that I want to do and enjoy doing without worrying whether the kids can actually read my feedback or my notes on their work. Distance learning and lots of other tech interventions mean I can read or write my kids’ work and they can read or write using tech to accompany that. I love it. I love marking as I get stuff rather than waiting the week for the in-person session. I love typing faster and getting it done for the kiddos.

A couple of years ago, I went to a conference and chatted to a speaker there who was involved in education and tech and computery stuff. I was not necessarily the most polite about computers as I do have a lot of arguments with mine and conversations often end in me losing the debate. However, of late, I am a fan of ed-tech. I am a fan of ICT and it is a really powerful thing. Words I didn’t think I’d utter, but they are a thing that is great for dyslexic people like me to access stuff, for my kids to do it at a distance in a wobbly, uncertain time.

So yeah… I like tech.