How do you maintain instructional continuity in this age of sometimes at school, sometimes at home, and teacher absences due to quarantines? Is there a way to create and maintain a system so instruction can be available at the substitute’s fingertips?
Kimberly Nidy, Director of Technology at North Canton City Schools has effectively solved that problem – when the substitute comes in, a special Chromebook is waiting that magically (and securely) takes the sub to the exact place needed to continue instruction without missing a beat.
According to Nidy, “What do we do when we have someone coming in the classroom on a short-term basis and we want the learning to continue? We wanted them to have a way to communicate, to have safe access to digital materials. We did not want teachers leaving passwords, leaving their laptop in the classroom with passwords and things like that. We wanted substitutes to be able to project, especially in the lower grades. That's very helpful to even get things started, and that limited disruption to learning. We did not want to create accounts. We didn't want to give them access to our network. We didn't want our teachers to leave their laptops with login instructions and share credentials because of the security risk behind that. So, we used some ESSR dollars because this was created by the pandemic. So, we purchased 14 inch Chromebooks for our substitutes. This worked for us because of Schoology. I think if you have a full blown LMS like Schoology or Canvas, you can do this. We created a generic subaccount for each building. Then we have a QR code that allows the substitute to log in. We have the Chromebook set in kiosk mode.
“So, when they come in and sign in at the office, we have a laptop case with the Chromebook, we have a mouse with that. And then we have a cable because we have to physically connect them to the screen to be able to project. So, when they open the device, they will have a page load that has a screen for a QR code. We've taken the QR code and put it on the back of the substitute’s badge. They hold the QR code up to that, and then they are taken straight into a tab, which opens and takes them into Schoology.”
Kimberly Nidy has other efficiency techniques as well, and many can easily be translated to your own school or district. In the world of substitutes, North Canton City Schools has eliminated much of the downtime and lost instruction and substituted a seamless educational experience. Your staff will love these tips, and so will your learners.