Dear Westgate Families:
Hello from all of us at Westgate! We hope that this message finds you well as you adjust to the new reality we are all facing together now that classes have been cancelled. We have made this short video message to say hello. We miss seeing our students and families face to face and we are looking forward to the time when it’s safe for us to all get together again. Until then, we’d like to share some information with you that may help you support your child and understand some of the details of moving to teaching and learning online.
In response to classes being cancelled and the need to move teaching and learning to an online learning model, the Calgary Board of Education has decided to make Brightspace by D2L and Google Applications (Google Classroom and Google Meet) available to teachers and students. Teachers will connect with students using one of these platforms later this week or early next week. They will provide you with login information so students can access the required application.
At Westgate, Grade 3 and 6 teachers will continue to use Brightspace by D2L as this is a well-established practice for these teachers and students already. They will use Google Meet to speak with students in real time in French.
All other teachers will be using Google Classroom to connect with students and Google Meet as their tool for real time interaction.
Both Google Meet and Google Classroom are part of the G Suite for Education suite of tools that all CBE students currently have access to.
Google Meet is a video conferencing application that enables teachers to host and students to join organized ‘meetings’ in real-time. Teachers can also record meetings and make the recording available to students to view later on. Teachers are able to share their screen and guide students through tasks and/or documents and websites they wish to share.
Google Classroom is an online platform that enables teachers to communicate with their students and assign and work in a safe, manageable, and appropriate way. Students are added in the ‘classroom’ using their CBE G Suite ID (email@example.com).
Privacy, Consent and Online Safety
As with all CBE supported applications, the data and information that is shared is stored within the Brightspace by D2L and the CBE G Suite environments and is not accessible in the public domain. Teachers and students will use only first name and last initial to identify each other. When students use these tools, they must access them using their CBE G Suite ID (firstname.lastname@example.org). Teachers will work with their students to help them understand the ethics of and potential risks of using online tools such as video chat.
It is important for parents and students to understand that these online environments are an extension of the classroom and that behaviour expectations are the same online as they are at school. Students are still expected to follow the CBE Student Code of Conduct, just as they would be if they were attending classes at Westgate.
Teachers will receive support and have opportunities to learn more about Brightspace by D2L, Google Classroom and Google Meet as a way to connect with their students as we all adjust to teaching and learning from a distance.
Students and their families received the School District Use of Personal Information document in Fall 2019 outlining how and why student data is shared at the CBE. Teachers will follow these policies and documents as they plan ongoing teaching and learning activities. If you have a concern with your child using these tools to support their learning, please contact your classroom teacher, Mme Morden or M. Fehr.
We are glad to have connected with students again. We are looking forward to staying in touch with our students and continuing to teach them in this new environment. Thank you for all the ways in which you continue to support your child’s learning, we value working with you.
All our best,
Scott Fehr and Meghan Morden