For five years, Carol Wilkins has helped middle school students at Children’s Aid College Prep Charter School strengthen their reading skills.
As a middle school interventionist, she provides reading instruction for students struggling to read and help to scholars with additional reading needs on their Independent Education Plans.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced Carol to get creative with how she provides instructions. Piktochart, an app that allows students to create infographics and flyers has allowed her students to creatively summarize information and work on the same skills they would learn in the classroom.
“The real positive that I’ve taken away is the technology resources,” she said. “It’s always been something that’s been on my to-do list, but in the course of the day you don’t really get to explore nearly as much and there are so many different platforms that it can be overwhelming.”
Carol has felt the effects of the digital divide in her classes. She used to teach group lessons to allow students to discuss texts with each other. But some students have poor internet connection and others do not have access to computers. Carol has had to focus on conducting one-on-one instruction.
She regularly checks up on her students and families with phone calls and texts to make sure students remember to log in for class and to provide any additional resources they may need.
“The student-to-student interaction is definitely what’s missing,” she said. “Having that discussion on literature, it’s not as meaningful as it would be if they were discussing it with a peer and really taking in some of their peers’ ideas.”
Though the lack of student interactions are a drawback, using technology has allowed Carol to provide instantaneous feedback.
“The positive is that they have all of my attention so during a writing lesson we can be on the same google document and provide real time feedback,” she said. “I definitely want to bring [more online resources] into my teaching next year and be able to use technology in a more purposeful way.”