I am largely disabused of any notion that my kids’ school system was really ready for this distance learning thing.
Twins in first grade: One has the necessary apps on their school-issued iPad, the other’s is refusing to update the apps because of permission lockdowns. Thankfully, we anticipated some utter failures and had purchased iPads over the summer for school on the off chance that there weren’t enough devices to go around. Not everyone is in the situation to afford such luxuries and I feel for those students with less privilege who are experiencing the problems we encountered. Still, one would think that any necessary checks on the required apps would have occurred before handing school-owned devices to us. The cases they put on the iPads don’t have kickstands, and the kids are expected to hold them during the morning’s meetings — in first grade. Someone shouldn’t have cheaped out, so we’re throwing both of them on their family-owned iPads for virtual meetings so they have their hands free. Sigh.
Speaking of devices, my middle-school daughter turned in her old chromebook, which probably never should have been issued to her in the first place last school year due to damage, a month or so ago. The communications at the time suggested a replacement would be given out. When we arrived, we were told that in fact no replacements were ready, but we could return the following week for one. So we did, only to be told that the replacements would be issued by the school, not by the district IT (“You haven’t received notice yet?”). It took almost two weeks before we were told about pickup days to get the replacement.
Now, she’s trying to log in through the Schoology interface that the school utilizes, only to discover that the school’s VPN-locked server or Schoology server is overwhelmed with logins. Why are they not scaled? Not that they should need to scale, because they should have a pretty good idea as to the number of students attending, so why did they not at least increase their bandwidth to overcome their issues? Lord only knows.
Well, being the tech-savvy folk we are, we skipped the Schoology gateway and went directly to their Google Meet login using HER iPad (the chromebook requires the VPN gateway to go on the internet) for her virtual class to discover that her first teacher hadn’t apparently tested out her microphone ahead of time and my daughter got to watch her teacher flail about trying to get it functional over a 45 minute period.
Of course, it’s not entirely the school — the eldest thought she was on “Day 1” of a two-day hybrid/in-person/distance schedule. Except today is Tuesday, Day 2. She kept trying to log into a meeting that wasn’t live.