I have been teaching students using technology for many years now, and one thing that I have always dreaded over the past decade of using edtech is: being absent. Now, I’m pretty sure every teacher gets some level of anxiety when he/she can’t be in the classroom and must trust our precious students and lessons in the hands of a stranger. But when you add technology — and all of the challenges that come along with it — to the mix, that feeling is compounded. What if the substitute teacher is not tech-savvy or even computer literate? What if something goes wrong in the class?
Well, in the past, I would type up very detailed instruction guides — basically, tutorial packets — with step-by-step screenshots, annotations, and other illustrations along the way. As you might imagine, that is a very time-consuming task! It would take me 2-3 hours of work just to get 6 hours off! (Obviously, I avoided being absent as much as humanly possible.)
However, now that my students are in a 1:1 classroom, I can take a different approach: I can simply make a short recording, giving them all of the instructions myself! Obviously, I don’t want to throw any major curveballs by introducing entirely new concepts and procedures to the mix, but this can be a great way to ensure students have a resource they can refer to if they get stuck or need a reminder of how to do something, and you don’t need to depend on the sub to be able to explain it all. Best of all, it only takes about 30 minutes to do… much faster than the detailed sub plans I was creating!