As you are aware, Fresno Unified School District will be starting the school year in a completely digital learning model. This can understandably bring concerns and questions. We, the project-based class teachers, would like to provide some clarifying information for you.
We believe in “Excellence Through Innovation”. We also believe in a model of students “learning by doing”. Even in a completely digital environment, we want to continue providing opportunities aligned with these core beliefs.
“Live Instruction” does not mean “Direct Instruction”. We understand that many families are concerned students will spend many hours per day listening to a teacher talk through a computer. Within our department, most of our content is organized through projects and student hands-on experiences. Although we can not meet in person yet, we have been working all summer to create unique opportunities that allow similar experiences through distance learning. We are happy to say that you can expect direct instruction only when necessary. We plan to have students actively engaged in projects for most class sessions.
We try to make learning fun. Please know that many of our class activities are designed to make learning fun. If it ever seems like a student is “just playing a game”, that is a great opportunity to talk with them about what they are doing/learning. Although it is possible they are trying to avoid classwork, it is also possible that we have designed the learning to contain the elements of a game. You might hear this approach called “Gamifying” education.
Students are expected to log in during the live class sessions. We want to make certain students are supported, and regular attendance will be documented by utilizing live class sessions online through Microsoft Teams. It is possible that students will often be permitted to log out of the live class session after attendance has been recorded, but they will be expected to work for their assigned class during the whole period. The teacher will remain live for student support, as needed. Most often, students will be working on projects that utilize special software or virtual lab environments. These digital environments often function better when students are not also trying to stream a live video conference.
Students need to check out a computer from Fresno Unified. It is not possible for us to account for every potential variation on computer that Computech families might use in their personal lives, and we utilize some software that licensing does not allow to be installed on non-school owned devices. Therefore, it is critical that your student checks out a Fresno Unified computer. Fresno Unified School District provides support for district computers, but we are not able to provide any support beyond this, or for non-district devices.
It is our hope that your family has a wonderful experience this year at Computech 7-8. We are all navigating this new experience together, and we appreciate your patience as there will be glitches along the way. Thank you for letting us serve you, and please reach out to any of your student’s teachers with any additional questions you might have.