Middle School Virtual Learning: Persona Cards
Insights: From Focus Group
1. "There are a lot of different programs. It is confusing to know which one the teacher is on, even when they are sharing the screen, between OneNote, Canvas, and Google Docs."
Providing a more streamlined environment for the students to work in would decrease student frustration and confusion. There are too many apps being used on a regular basis and the students do not know where to navigate to. This wastes time as well as the attention of the student and the teacher. Create a streamlined platform that contains everything the student needs within the platform, instead of needing to navigate to outside apps and websites.
2. "It would be helpful if I could interact more with my classmates. "
If the virtual classroom felt more like a real classroom it would feel less isolating. Creating an on-line environment for the virtual learner that incorporates classroom and peer engagement would make students feel more included. Using interactive programs such as Nearpod or Peardeck as inspiration for inclusion. Allow for in class virtual chatting, screen sharing and audio and/or video of the entire class.
3. "Class is boring, they just talk on the screen and share their screen the whole time and they give us like ten minutes to
actually do the work. "
–In Person Student
Students want to be engaged. Interactive lessons that allow the students to respond and interact in real-time with the teacher and their peers would increase comprehension, attendance and retention. She followed up by saying, "I like the Nearpods because there’s like different activities inside it. You kinda learn about something and answer a question. Then there are also things you can draw and describe. It is not as pressured as like the quizzes in Canvas." The key is more interaction. Draw tool, real-time responses, interactive games and games that encourage practice and repetition.
When kids are bored they resort to playing on-line games. Creating an environment that "locks" the students in during instructional time would limit this distraction.
4. "It is kind of confusing. If we do things on One Note, we have to transfer it to Canvas to submit it. One place for everything would be better. "
Simplify the submission process and have one platform that does it all. Keep assignments in one platform. There are too many platforms and too many ways to submit assignments. There are multiple steps to getting assignments from one program to the other, Often the students complete the work and never submit it. They get halfway through the process and either get confused, distracted overwhelmed or give up. In Person Student agreed and stated, " I don’t like how we have to transfer things from OneNote. Cause you have to like export it, then name it something you can remember, it is a lot of work."
5. "It’s too much, it’s too fast, it’s too overwhelming"
–Personal Care Assistant / Teaching Assistant
The virtual environment needs to be simplified. The teacher should be able to organize her space for only what the students need to accomplish the tasks of the day. If the teacher could design her lesson with only what they need for the lesson on the screenby dragging or linking those features into her lesson. It would be very clear cut and she could move faster because it is all right there on the screen. Class is usually a 45 minute period. There is not enough time and instructions are too fast for many of the students. When they open the screen there are too many options and too many tabs open, it is sensory overload, especially for learning support kids. Often times the students are overwhelmed and fail to start or start late and then they are behind. If is common for students to give up before class is over.
6. "It is no longer hands on learning, it is a one dimensional flat screen. The kids can’t follow along because it is too small on the screen. (working split screen or on the projected screen in person)"
–Personal Care Assistant / Teaching Assistant
If there was a system where the kids where receiving the teachers notes in real time, they could focus on her speaking instead of typing feverishly and missing half the lesson. The act of typing, copying, processing, absorbing is too much in this environment (many students have low skills in typing). Again, this would also work in a more interactive environment. Teachers notes appear in real-time. Students can annotate thoughts and ideas as they come and focus on listening to the lesson. Including interactive responses would help with engagement on-line and in-person.
Insights: From Insights
I need more data to show the benefits of in person learning using the virtual platform vs just virtual or hybrid blended classrooms.
I would like to gather grades at the end of the 1st marking peroid from different classes that represent each of the different learning environments: 100% virtual, 100% in person (using the virtual platform), and hybrid/blended (half virtual, half in person simultaneously). I think this would solidify my TFI and proposal.
Insights: What Is Working and What Is Not?
I have gathered a lot of insights on what to include in a virtual platform and how to engage more students.
• Students enjoy the organization of programs like OneNote.
• Students enjoy learning games like Quizlet and interactive lessons like Nearpod and Peardeck.
• Students need a simpler platform so that they can focus on learning and retaining information and less on where they should be and how to submit an assignment.
• Students are overwhelmed and simultaneously distracted. They need less available distractions and more classroom engagement.
• Hybrid/Blended environments (half virtual, half in person simultaneously) are not working. Teachers are overwhelmed and cannot engage each group simultaneously. Students are bored or distracted. Students are overwhelmed. I need to find a way to help both teachers and students so that this environment can be more successful in the future.
MFA Graphic Design Student at Academy of Art University of San Francisco (on-line)