“There’s Nothing Virtual about the Connections in My Class” – Online Learning Success at Woodland Hills

This is the stretch run of the school year and things are going well in online classrooms at Woodland Hills Elementary.

“There’s this great quote by Sheryl Sandberg. If you are offered a seat on the rocket ship don’t ask what seat, just get on,” says Alissa Sheldon, online teacher at Woodland Hills. “We all got on, some of us jumped on, some of us tentatively stepped on and the rocket ship took off. It was like OK, but we are still building the buttons that fly the rocket ship and how do we do this?”

The buttons are on. The seats are filled. Online learning is happening in an incredible way.

“We have a mission statement in our class and our mission is to learn, be respectful, make friends and have fun,” says Diane Reed, online teacher at Woodland Hills. “I try to reflect back on that, did we do those things?”

Reed teaches kindergarten virtually and says everything continues to go really well. Kids are learning. Kids are wondering. Kids are getting to know their classmates.

“I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, but in the end, I see that they are growing. I see that they are learning,” says Reed. “It’s just in a very different way.”

Same thing over in Alissa Sheldon’s third grade classroom.

“I think it’s phenomenal to see the amount of innovation and development and technology in education,” says Sheldon. “Meaningful development of tools that have happened in a really short amount of time.”

Arguably the most asked question about online learning centered around connection. Kids aren’t in the same physical room, how are they going to have classroom interaction?

“I’ve never felt as connected to my students and my families as I do this year,” says Sheldon.

But the writing, reading and working doesn’t stop with the students.

“I have grown and learned so much as a teacher,” says Reed. “I’ve learned how to deliver content in a completely different way and I’ve learned that I could use some of this in-person as well.”

“I think about when we started, if there was a technological error of any kind, or something didn’t work, the wheels would fall off the bus,” says Sheldon.  “But now when the wheels fall off, we all get off the bus and figure out how to put them back on.”

When it comes to online learning, the wheels are on the bus, incredible teachers are behind the wheel, inspirational students are smiling in the seats and from the sidewalks, we are all cheering them on.

“Its been amazing to see all these people from different walks of life come together and truly come around as a community, even a virtual one,” says Sheldon. “I’m getting to a point where I don’t like that word very much because I don’t think there is anything virtual about the connections in this community of my class, every single piece of this is human and real.”