Reimagining the student experience
Educator and Technology Coach
Edmonton Catholic Schools
I have been a classroom teacher for 17 years. Being this far into my career I thought I had it all figured out, from assessment to classroom management to first day expectations. I was even ready for COVID and remote learning. I was wrong.
COVID and the move to remote learning completely changed the education landscape. I quickly realized that a digital divide and a technological barrier existed among my students. Not everyone was equipped with the right tools or the ability to be on the same schedule to fully embrace a remote synchronous learning environment. Every home had different circumstances and I quickly realized that I had to pivot and readapt to my students’ changing situations at home to give them the best learning experience. I transitioned to an asynchronous format, where students could watch my recorded lessons at a time that best suited them, and they could reach me through Microsoft Teams in real time when they had questions.
"Technology expanded the student learning experience beyond the traditional four walls of a classroom and enabled the students to feel a sense of normalcy and connection in a virtual landscape"
While the pandemic has brought numerous challenges, I am thankful for the opportunities it has revealed.The transition to remote learning has allowed me to better understand the varying situations that my students are in and the barriers they may have. Leveraging Microsoft Teams and OneNote has empowered me to discover new ways to remove these barriers so students can focus on their learning. It’s a wonderful time to be a student because educators are now more open to experimenting with technology to innovate their classrooms. Traditional teaching was usually confined to a four-walled classroom, but families, especially in these times, need more. Now, as we’ve transitioned back to the in-person classroom, I continue to integrate Microsoft Teams and OneNote because I know the positive influence it has on the student experience. Education and teaching aren’t just a job to me, it’s something I’ve been called to do, and the past year and a half has given me a sense of motivation and energy – taking me back to my first year as a teacher. I feel empowered by the students’ willingness to learn and the tools I can use to amplify their voices and experiences. I’ve learned that it is important to not paint everything with the same brush, and rather, to have an open mind to embrace new possibilities.
Learn more about Edmonton Catholic School’s Joseph Filiplic and his Microsoft journey here.