School Has Begun

The “fall” is here, and school has begun for my kids. Remote learning brings a whole host of interesting challenges that previous years have not had.

Being someone who is interested in technology, the idea of remote schooling has always appealed to me. I've worked from home for extended periods of time, and honestly I really like it. If I had the choice to work from home or from an office, I'd choose home.

This isn't because I don't like my coworkers. I'm lucky enough to work with some really great people. I just have no need to be in an office.

School Is Complicated

Kids are a little different story. A good portion of school is social interaction, and while I feel I get as much as I need from WebEx meetings and constant chats, my kids don't feel the same. They're spending their entire school day in Zoom meetings, other than recess and lunch. Unfortunately, that pretty much isolates them to talking to their teacher and having small breaks with their family.

Better social options would be good, though I have no idea how that would work in the era of COVID-19.

Another complicating factor is that we have to have multiple kids having class at the same time. We've had to buy a new laptop for one of my kids because we didn't have the resources needed to have them all online at the same time.

We also had to clear off the dining room table and make it into an impromptu study area. The surface is now littered with books, pencils, power cables for computers, and headphones so the kids can sit next to each other and not be distracted by other kids' classes.

Zoom has been an interesting challenge in and of itself. The school uses a system called StudentVue, which was supposed to provide links for Zoom meetings. That got squished by traffic the first day, and the Zoom links just flat out weren't working. They've resorted to emailing the links out. Some teachers use the same link every day, some teachers send a new link each time. Which way is up to the teacher, so figuring out what link is supposed to be used for a class can be infuriating.

Open Source Commentary

As a fan of open source, it makes me sad to see my school district use so little of it. They recommend Google Chrome. We're using Google Classroom. There's ParentVue/StudentVue. Zoom. Etc.

There is literally not a lick of open source software in the mix. I haven't done the research I'd need to do to speak knowledgeably about solutions, but I feel like there must be some open source options out there to replace all this proprietary stuff. Heck, StudentVue hasn't come back from it's thorough squishing and still doesn't work. I'm pretty sure any web software you can find can manage to not work just as well.

Day 81 of the #100DaysToOffload Series.