Sharada Shreve-Price deftly meshed an ancient language with modern technology in her virtual Latin 2 classroom. While Latin falls under George School’s Language Department, it is the only language taught at George School that is not a spoken one. As a result, Latin teachers like Sharada had to become even more resourceful in making the change to the virtual classroom.
Since George School teachers already use canvas to post homework assignments and resources, it was a natural progression for Sharada to utilize the Canvas Quizzes feature. Sharada highlights how this platform’s online quizzes mimic the experience of real-time feedback in a classroom: “in addition to specific written feedback that I gave on short answer style questions, for auto-graded multiple choice questions, I set up comments and questions that would appear when a student chose a specific wrong answer in order to help them figure out where they went wrong.” She added: “I was trying to recreate the process that we go through in class where a student gives an incorrect answer and I help guide them to the right answer by asking more questions.” Since Canvas quizzes can be repeated throughout the term, this automatically provided feedback can allow students to improve their understanding so the can return and try again for a better score.
Another tool that Sharada relied on is Pear Deck. Pear Deck is an interactive presentation tool for Google Slides where teachers can pose specific questions to their students. Since Sharada was already familiar with Google Slides, Pear Deck seemed like a natural extension to get closer to the classroom experience online. Sharada was particularly fond of how this tool could show her students deeper understanding beyond simply translating a text. She could ask students to underline specific parts of sentences or to illustrate those sections. This way, students could really parse the different grammatical building blocks of the sentences. Sharada has been so impressed with Pear Deck that when she and her students can return to the physical classroom she plans to continue to use it.
This combination of embracing technology and specially tailoring pedagogy to fit the times of social distancing has helped to bring the signature George School classroom experience into the virtual realm.