Offering students the opportunity to study world languages and prepare them to communicate with a diverse and global audience is a key pillar for Knox County Schools. There are more than 80 world language teachers throughout this school district in eastern Tennessee, providing students with access to authentic, relevant, and high-quality instruction.
At Farragut High School, a school within the district, Spanish teacher Senora Maldonado was working on lesson plans to prepare students for the end-of-year Spanish Advanced Placement exam when she received word that her school would not be returning after spring break. The change was made to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
Not knowing when school would open again, Senora Maldonado had to quickly transition to remote teaching. For an educator with more than 30 years of experience, the suddenness of adapting her home to a teaching zone posed new challenges she had never faced before.
THE CHALLENGES OF TEACHING FROM HOME
With a newly adopted dog and a family of five also taking shelter in place, Senora Maldonado recognized immediately that she would need to address noise and other distractions in order to be effective while teaching from home. She also knew how important it would be for her students to see her clearly and to view materials she presented on camera. It would be challenging to get the lighting right using only her laptop with its embedded webcam.
The sudden transition to virtual learning also emphasized the need to have course materials digitized and accessible to all students. Fortunately, Senora had already begun this process when Knox County implemented the Canvas Learning Management System eight years earlier. This made transitioning to remote teaching easier. However, with her school migrating to Microsoft Teams, she found herself spending more time at her computer learning to adapt her curriculum to the virtual teaching model.
ENSURING CONTINUITY OF EDUCATION WHILE TEACHING FROM HOME
To ensure all students had access to high-quality learning experiences and to address the noise challenges faced when teaching from home, Senora Maldonado incorporated a Logitech Brio high-definition webcam and a Logitech Zone Wireless headset. The Brio webcam improved the quality and brightness of her video when she was teaching from her dining room, which had very low light. In addition, the Brio webcam could also be used as a document camera when she needed to share objects, art, or Spanish books from her library.