Last Wednesday, 5 February, NIST’s Secondary School was involved in an experiment. With recent events (pollution, the Coronavirus) providing the possibility of a school closure, the school made plans to prepare. In the Secondary School, that plan was to use an online platform, Zoom, to host learning activities. Zoom, for those not familiar, is a video conferencing application that allows large numbers of people, upwards of thousands, to interact simultaneously. Interaction can be as removed as just viewing to more engaging activities like sharing screens, files, and voice. Think of it as a Face Time, Skype or Google Hangouts session with large numbers of participants.
To be ready for a possible school closure, NIST Secondary teachers hosted the first two classes on Wednesday online. Students and faculty had practiced in school beforehand, but this Wednesday session was the first real test to see if it worked. From most accounts, the online sessions were a tremendous success with many suggesting they were even more focused and productive from home.