I am not what you call a whiz in technology. Everything is a challenge for me. I can usually puzzle it out, in time, but I ask a lot of questions.
Today was William's first day of school and for multiple reasons, it was decided that he would do his learning in a virtual classroom. Since his mother cannot afford internet at their house, he uses my wi-fi and my computer.
The first thing that made me nervous is that they didn't actually put the site up until this morning, the very first day of school. That did not give un-techy me a chance to familiarize myself with any of it. They offered a video, but that is not how I learn. I learn by doing it. My questions come when I run into a snag. Watching someone navigate and talk doesn't do a thing for me. I have no questions, because they know what they're doing. They make it look easy and I assume that it IS easy.
It NEVER is.
This morning, we got up and the modules were there. We ate breakfast in front of the computer. William was excited to open his science module. There was an introduction to virtual learning. There was a "About Me Quiz" so that the teacher and student would get to know each other. We went on to the next class: Math. They had the exact same introduction to virtual learning. There was another "About Me Quiz". With the same questions as before. Language arts: The exact same introduction to virtual learning, the exact same "About Me Quiz". After struggling with the technology, (it makes a difference when you are at the side of the computer while your 'student' is in front of the screen), when we got to the questions, I showed William a new computer skill. Copying and pasting. We typed "These questions were answered for the science module." (Remember, in 4th grade, he has one instructor, not a different teacher for each subject). We did the same for the rest of the modules. William received an e-mail back from his teacher which said, "I know that you answered them for science, but you need to answer these questions for each module."
E-mail shoots back from William's grandmother to the effect of 'Why? If you were in a classroom at the beginning of the year, you would introduce yourself, give the classroom rules, what is expected of the kids, etc. You would hand out a piece of paper with the quiz on it and say, "Let's get to know each other." The kids would fill out the papers and hand them in and you would say, "Wonderful. Let's take out our math books." When they went on to science, you would not hand that same paper out to them and said, "Let's get to know each other," and have them fill it out again. And again for Social Studies. One more time for Health. And again with the same questions for Language Arts.' To require something of the virtual students that wouldn't make sense in a classroom is not logical.
No response from the teacher.
It's just silly.
I had to speak to administration about the fact that I am unable to open the files for his PE class. I also could not download something called 'Audacity' but it turns out that he didn't need that. I wasted all that time to figure it out. I finished off the conversation with, "I don't want to sound like one of those difficult people, but there is something that I really am annoyed by." And I told her about the 7 separate (but identical) "About Me Quiz". She said immediately, "He doesn't need to do all of those. Just have him do one. That's all. He only has one teacher." I was a little gobsmacked.
I hope to sweet Jesus this is not how the whole school year is going to be.