May 6, 2020 5:32 pm at 5:32 pm #1857830HaimyParticipant
As a resident of Lakewood, all my children are learning remotely using a teleconference. Some are managing quite well but for others, it’s a complete failure. My younger children have no interest or patience sitting on a phone an hour & a 1/2 each day. A group of askonim have decided that the risks of allowing zoom into our homes outway the benefits. How are your children managing with either Zoom or teleconference? Is Zoom a safe technology to use for teaching children?May 6, 2020 9:15 pm at 9:15 pm #1857914
I have had all my grandchildren, grand nieces and nephews here in the CTL compound since about March 12th.
Since they attend different schools in assorted cities and range from 1st graders to Law school, they are using many different platforms for distance learning.
Teleconferencing works best when it is the instructor and no more than 3 students and the call lasts less than 30 minutes. Large groups have too many technology failures and the teacher can not mute the whole group and choose who to unmute. There is no raise a hand feature, so the teacher knows a student wished to ask a question.
I like Zoom and use it reguilarly for business and government meetings. It lets the teacher see the students. It is important to see facial expressions and determine if a concept is understood. The teacher can mute or unmute all. There is a raise a hand feature, so the teacher knows which students to call upon. There is also the capability for those without computers or devices with cameras to call into a Zoom meeting on their phones and a chat feature that lets participants type questions and/or comments for the group to see.
Other teachers are using a combination of Google Classroom and Google Meet. The classroom is good because student can check assignments, submit them as wee. They can share documents with teacher or parent for editing. The teacher use this year round in several of the schools and on Friday afternoon parents get an update showing work missing from the week and assignments die the next week, dates for quizzes and tests. Google Meet works like Zoom and allows the teacher to teach live and have students on camera and microphone responding as if they were all sitting in the regular classroom.
Being OOT, all the Day schools have had computer labs for about 40 years and the kids are taught to be proficient from an early age. We are lucky in hosting so many of the family that the older ones can tutor and teach the younger ones.
This past week I was asked by one law school to proctor my grandson’s final exams. The other Law school has a program where they keep the webcam on and can see the student as he types his exam on the laptop.
But as a word of warning for schools considering Zoom, there may not be enough bandwidth in a given home or neighborhood with so many working from home plus remote learning. Because I work from home quite often, as does Mrs. CTL we have a dedicated T1 connection and most of the older grands are plugged into the network, not usinf the wireless modems from the cable company which are slower/May 6, 2020 9:15 pm at 9:15 pm #1857925
Offering video conferencing would introduce many children to the internet for the first time. For other children it would introduce them to computers for the first time. We all are very well aware of the dangers of these technologies. And once children are introduced to them they may never go back to not using them. And once they’re using them for benign activities, making the jump to more dangerous and/or inappropriate activities is not too far a jump. It may not happen immediately, but it certainly makes it more likely down the road.May 6, 2020 9:15 pm at 9:15 pm #1857937ubiquitinParticipant
Kids did teleconference before Pesach. They are so happy with the switch to zoom and without question are doing much better and gaining much more .
The askonim are rightMay 6, 2020 9:15 pm at 9:15 pm #1857951lowerourtuition11210Participant
For my son we found that Zoom is better than teleconference.May 6, 2020 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm #1857998
CTL: There are teleconferencing services (including some free ones) that do have the ability for the host to mute everyone and selectively unmute specific callers.
Regarding computer labs, the very heimish very in-town yeshiva I’m familiar with had a computer lab for the elementary school at least 40 years ago. (Probably even longer.)
Btw, the SAT and ACT are planning to offer at-home remote exams for the upcoming tests, due to social distancing restrictions possibly still being in effect.
T1 lines are ancient. Today’s FiOS and cable modems are faster than a T1.May 6, 2020 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm #1858009GadolhadorahParticipant
Ditto to CTL Lawyer’s comments. There are several remote learning “virtual meeting” classrooms available but I’m guessing 90 percent of the schools (frum and secular) are using Zoom.
However, its really important that the teachers have been trained on using zoom or else it becomes a real circus (which not surprisingly the kids quickly learn to exploit ).
Obviously, its very unlikely that some of the older rebbeim will be able to quickly adopt to the technology (especially if they’ve never used a computer) but the younger generation should be able to pick it up really quickly. The basic options allowing muting and shared screens are very intuitive.
For those families fortunate enough to have a high speed connection, adequate bandwidth should not be a problem. For others with conventional cable connections or cellular-satellite hotspots or those living in high-rise buildings wired with a centralized cable network, I’m hearing that there is brequent buffering and getting disconnected frequently.
Beware of some of the other software being offered. For example, one of the largest and wealthiest school systems in the country had planned to use the Blackbaud system starting several weeks ago. I t has been an unmitigated disaster and the teachers have gone rouge and using their own Zoom accounts for ad hoc instruction while the school system struggles to fix their problems. There are some really top notch systems from MicroSoft and Google but they are more for business use and not as intuitive as zoom.
I’m obviously NOT a fan of “teleconferencing” and really don’t understand why the parents would not recognize that their kids are not getting the benefits of interactive and visual learning they can simply never get over a phoneline.May 6, 2020 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm #1858055too geshmakParticipant
My kids schools felt the risk of internet outweighed the benefit of zoom and admitted the children may learn less. However they felt the kids could always make up the material at a later date as opposed to sending a mixed message which they felt couldn’t be as easily corrected. I was skeptical. But I’m happy to report that b”h all of my kids are doing great with the teleconference program. The system my schools are using has the teacher in front of a screen, he knows everyone’s number so he knows who is there. He has the option of muting everyone to teach. In this mode the kid can raise their hand by pressing some buttons. Raising hands are heavily incentivized. He can call on the kid and unmute them. He can also unmute everyone, such as to say a posuk with teitch, and he could see who is saying along and which isnt, bec his screen shows which lines have sound coming out. He called me the other day to tell me I had feedback coming from my line, he knows its mine from what his screen is reading. He can also put the kids into groups like they do in school to do chazarah. So essentially he transfers the kids into smaller sub conference rooms which he pops in and out of answering questions. All this is done with a lot of incentives, much more than usual, incentivizing following along, raising hands, answering questions, and general participation. May the kids learn better with all this plus zoom? I still think so, but they’re not wasting their time either. The kids are still gaining and the hashkafah from the school stays consistent.May 6, 2020 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm #1858058GadolhadorahParticipant
Before making a decision, there is an absolute chiyuv to watch this video on the YWN news site. I hope I have linked to it correctly (and assume links to YWN stories are OK).May 7, 2020 10:51 am at 10:51 am #1858235
Fiber is not available in our town
There are two cable companies available, both of which are in bankruptcy. The speeds are quite slow and now with so many home, even slower. They will not build out new infrastructure to increase speeds when they are broke.
That is why we still have a T1….many times faster than the other available optionsMay 7, 2020 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm #1858247
How long have you had a T1 at home? Not too many years ago it cost a very pretty penny every month.May 7, 2020 6:34 pm at 6:34 pm #1858462
We have had a T1 since about 2006. My ekdest brother was in the telecommunications business from the breakup of AT&T in 1977 until selling out in 2015. I was a part-owner of the corporation and benefited from discounted rates…but still not cheapMay 7, 2020 6:34 pm at 6:34 pm #1858470lowerourtuition11210Participant
Haimy: You asked “Is Zoom a safe technology to use for teaching children?”. It became much safer today as announced by the NYS AG’s office. Not sure if the moderators will allow the link. If not visit the NY AG’s website ag dot ny .gov click on the “Media” tab.May 8, 2020 7:40 am at 7:40 am #1858687MomsiParticipant
My children are also learning via live teleconference which is paired with prepared handouts to allow for shared visuals. As the systems being used are upgraded to allow for the “hand raised” and sub-conferencing, the level of participation has gone up. The parent body in our mosad is a mix of families families who allow zoom and others who don’t so the decision was to stick to the system that works for everyone.
Honestly, I hear my kids’ lessons and they are upbeat and interactive. All remote systems will be significantly less successful compared to in person teaching but I don’t believe the difference between Zoom and the more sophisticated teleconference options are going to affect outcomes.
We use Zoom outside of the school system for “play dates” which allows the kids to keep up with classmates on a social level. I believe that once school reopens, they will be ok without it and won’t be pulled into the “internet” more than if we didn’t allow it. Children can understand that different situations call for different rules.May 8, 2020 5:58 pm at 5:58 pm #1858880Doing my bestParticipant
I use the phone and Zoom with different chavrusos and Zoom is definitely easier to communicate with. Besides for the obvious reason that you can see the other guy, the audio is a lot clearer. It seems audio in general works better over the internet than a standard phone line be because Google Voice is also very clear.
So kids would definitely learn better if using video conferences, but if someone doesn’t want his kids using technology it’s probably not worth it, because once kids get used to it they will probably be more attracted to it after this is all over.May 10, 2020 10:51 am at 10:51 am #1859068sarirayParticipant
I have kids on both so I feel qualified to answer this. My teen son is on zoom, and even then is struggling to stay focused. We’ve had to switch from laptop to a zoom only device because he was using the (filtered) laptop to entertain himself during class. My teen daughter is on teleconference and hating it. She listens to the teachers she wants, and uses the phone as background noise for the rest. Some teachers/subjects are more interesting on phone but all are annoying. My younger three boys are all on teleconferencing and all hate it. I doubt they are learning a thing. Even my 12 year old cannot concentrate or focus. My 6 and 10 year olds don’t listen to a word, never want to call, and always manage to hang up early “by accident”. Those kids literally need a parent sitting by their side the entire time in a private room or it isn’t happening. And yeah right, I have 3 hours a day to sit with them privately…. In a nutshell, I think teleconferencing is a waste of time, at least for my kids. (Oh and it took my kids schools over a month to actually get the lines working properly- we had serious trouble getting connected, staying connected, and hearing what was being said due to static or background noise) Zoom I think is the only option that has a SHOT at actually teaching, but my other two schools refuse to use it so I can’t judge for those age groups.May 10, 2020 11:29 am at 11:29 am #1859072
sariray: What “Zoom only device” did you switch to (or even exists)?May 10, 2020 1:08 pm at 1:08 pm #1859101Doing my bestParticipant
Joseph, I don’t know if this is what sariray was referring to, but there’s a kosher tech company called kphone selling a Zoom only tablet.
As an aside it is possible to lock an iPad to a specific app with a password.
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