[The saga continues, though, thankfully I return to work tomorrow.]
The positive part was being able to share the screen. I could quickly remind them of items on the website, walk through navigation, show them where to find help, and instruct with an online whiteboard: enter scriblink. (Though, my mouse control was not ideal and I ended up typing as much as possible.) I was able to demo set-up for the case study, work some sample problems, and use it as I would have used the whiteboard in the room. I even snuck into my class to perform and record the Methane Mamba demo for chemistry. . Then, talk through the point of it and how it applies to the next lab.
The problems I had with it were the limitations of the camera. As students work, I prefer to walk around the groups, address specific questions/issues and check up on and encourage them to focus on the task at hand. Though, the sub was kind enough to do this a bit, the lack of being able to literally see all my students was more frustrating on my end than theirs. The other problem: I had no projector. My projector lamp literally died Thursday when this all began. At times, students were having to crowd around an iMac screen to see certain items.
Overall, I’m glad something like Skype exists. I’m glad my colleagues were willing to troubleshoot and check in with me and the substitute each day. I am glad I had a substitute willing to work with it. It was great for the quick questions students had at the beginning and end of class; it worked well for a one-on-one session with two students after school. I just didn’t like not seeing my entire class and only being able to interact with a select few. Should something like this happen again, however, I will not use it the entire period.