How to set up to teach online in a hurry


Japan (finally) declaring a state of emergency over Covid-19 means teachers and schools are all scrambling to come with ways to teach online. After a (online!) meeting yesterday I came away with what I think is a pretty good fast-starter arrangement for online teaching, so this post is to give you what I know so far, so you’ve got something to build on.

This method (hack?) uses google classroom as the primary method of communicating with your students to tell them about video classes, set assignments etc, and pretty much any audio/video chat application for doing the actual lessons.

(Zoom is popular, and has a great “breakout rooms” feature, tho it does have well-documented security issues – see my short discussion below)

UPDATE 2020-04-10: I realized it’s possible to simplify this even further:
You need:
1. A method of sharing links and short messages with your students: Google Classroom might be good (especially if you want to set assignments, share documents etc) but to get online teaching started all you really need is a group for each of your classes in ANY messaging app: once you have them all in one place, you’ll be able to arrange meeting etc to further organize.
2. A method of talking live with your students: any group talk-to-each-other app, some teachers may even feel that no video just audio will work, which will broaden the possibilities

How to:

1. open up google classroom from your google (personal) account

2. top right hit “+” > create a class

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I’m considering deleting my social media accounts…

A month or so ago I posted a few paragraphs on Facebook about how I am seriously reconsidering my use of social media. Since then I have done virtually no scrolling through my feeds, and have limited myself to very occasional posts. And I think my life is much better for it – social media was eating up more of my time than I realized, time I now use out in the real world.

So much so that I am considering deleting my accounts – particularly of timeline-based “scrolling” sns (facebook, instagram, twitter). Socially/ethically I believe this is a good thing to do (do I really want to support these companies?), though this isn’t significant in my decision – rather, my motivation is selfish: much like giving up other unhealthy addictions like smoking (admittedly I never really smoked beyond a short phase of smoking-while-drinking) and drinking (which i surely did to excess), quitting social media has made my life better.

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