Equity and Remote Learning Models

I am in the ironic situation of being a distance learning teacher during the COVID Abyss. I know distance learning, I have been teaching by video conference for 13 years. I could do this………But I don’t know how to reach all of my students who have no internet access at home (most of them). So I have spent a few weeks networking with others in my same situation. Learning and listening to other amazing teachers making adaptions. One thing became clear, there is no equity in the access students have to devices, internet and even long distance time to make conference calls.

My professional networking resulted in discovering new models for designing lessons during the COVID shutdown of schools. Teachers now prepare 3 different types of packets for each unit. The terms “no tech”, “low tech”, and “high tech” are emerging around these designs.

no tech= paper packet, possibly some physical supplies sent home with careful hygiene consideration. (Phone conferencing may be an option)

low tech – files that can be used offline for learning. These can be transferred by air drop when students come in to pick up their lunches or stand outside the building to access the wifi. They can also be mailed or dropped off by usb thumb drive. (Phone conferencing may be an option)

high tech- students have a device and internet access. They can join classes by ZOOM and use LMS such as Canvas and Google Classroom. In my situation this is less than 5% of my students.

It has been so wonderful to share with other teachers who are designing around all of these constraints to make learning possible. Taking the time to reach out and network with other teachers has been an invaluable use of my time. I hit the jackpot last week when I found that the Science Teachers in Portland Oregon had posted a COVID adapted version of Unit 5 for their Physics Curriculum. Triple Bonus, their unit matched mine with alignment to the NGSS, used the same open source CK12.org textbook and utilized PHET interactive lab simulations . So here is what a unit plan can look like if you design it in three ways; no tech, low, tech, and high tech. All of the material used and the design is published through open source creative commons. I adapted the unit a bit. When I have more time I am going to add some personalized screencasts for the low tech and high tech options.

Did I mention time? Just think about it. Designing three versions of all your lessons and then personalizing it with video instruction and personal communication. A good reason to work together and share. A big thank you to all the science teachers who share and the staff at Portland, Oregon school district.


Digging for Good Models of NGSS Units

Here is my latest list of links to archive. My hunt is narrowed in on OER units. All of these have been vetted with the EQUIP rubric.

Here are some localized units of interest published by California – https://cascience.org/climate-summit/k-12-learning-sequences



Professional Learning For Science Teachers during a Pandemic

Inquiry Hub Webinars
This group are leaders in developing NGSS curriculum. Highly recommend. https://www.colorado.edu/program/inquiryhub/professional-learning/inquiryhub-webinars-support-remote-teaching

Argument Driven Inquiry Webinars https://argumentdriveninquiry.com/webinars. (Check out the archives too)

NSTA (membership is now free)

Open source information text for science learning. Lots of supplemental resources too. Now is a good time to dive into their toolbox.

ScIC Virtual Unconference for Science Teachers #scicconf


Preparing Remote Science Learning Packet (Tips)

Student Packet Ideas Share
Here are some ideas that I brainstormed with my fellow science teachers. Not all of our students have internet have internet access. I appreciate all of the materials shared by other teaches. Here is my attempt to condense a few to consider as I continue to build take home packets.


Pandemic Chaos

Welcome! Nothing like a bunch of questions about teaching science by distance can burn a fire under an amateur blogger. Sorry about the mess but I have been busy teaching. But I am very motivated to start curating and sharing ideas that I have. I am extremely frustrated to have to spend most of my time converting my digital magic to paper packets because my students have or limited internet. So please help your self but mind the mess. We are stronger together!


NGSS Biology Lesson Models

The Inquiry Hub has amazing Biology units that integrate NGSS in a meaningful and compelling curriculum. They have just announced webinars to help teachers implement these remotely. https://www.colorado.edu/program/inquiryhub/

Meeting 1: Remote Learning Support for inquiryHub and OpenSciEd
TOPIC: Fostering Productive Norms in Remote Learning
Time: Monday, March 30, 2020 at 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM Central Time Join Zoom Meeting: https://utdanacenter.zoom.us/j/5124716536
Meeting ID: 512 471 6536

Meeting 2: Remote Learning Support for OpenSciEd and iHub
TOPIC: Building a Driving Question Board in Remote Learning
Time: Apr 8, 2020 01:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting: https://utdanacenter.zoom.us/j/5124716536
Meeting ID: 512 471 6536

(note from October) I found this resource today for teaching Biology. https://www.gvsu.edu/mistem/inquiry-hub-ihub-a-three-dimensional-high-school-20.htm . It looks amazing. I plan to use Unit 2 next week. Best of all it’s through Open Source Education (OER) licensing and supports my commitment to use and share free resources.  

(post implement note) Amazing units. I learned so much and the format is pushing me to teach with more sophisticated inquiry strategies.