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The Fragility of Remote Instruction.

March 22, 2022

Today, our Louisiana district has a remote learning day in anticipation of severe weather.

Ever since Hurricane Ida, my internet has been sketchy. It was completely out for almost two months. It has gone down for days since then, and I realized last week while trying to have a Zoom call that it cannot handle video exchanges with any reliability.

Today during two of my Google Meet classes, I was booted out of my own GM several times. I had to shut down extra screens (as in the ability to take roll in a timely manner, or to efficiently read and respond to school emails, or even to assign my Google Classroom work in real time).

I was able to schedule my GC assignments ahead of time, but even these took several extra minutes to appear.

I understand my district’s decision to go remote, and I agree with the decision. But today in particular as I was dropped repeatedly from my own online instruction, I was acutely aware that so much in public education depends upon the personal resources of its teachers– in this case, capricious internet.

Let’s not even talk about the flaky internet some of my students have (or do not have). A “plan B” that I have students do if they cannot sign on yet are able is to phone a classmate who is able to connect and listen in via phone. Some cannot do even that.

And if a teaching colleague who is to teach remotely also has children who are supposed to attend remote classes, the family must choose who gets to use the internet because the connection cannot support all of the wireless needs of all involved.

How fragile it all is sometimes.


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