Covid Positives

Thomas and Robin are joined by podcast stalwart and all-round hero of physics teaching, Patrick Kaplo from Wyndham, New Hampshire to follow up on a question he asked way back at the beginning of the Covid crisis, almost 1 year ago now, namely “How will this change our practice?”

We discuss some ways in which we’ll never “go back” to pre-pandemic teaching before hearing from some students about what they thought was successful in terms of lockdown teaching methods

Some of the highlights of the discussions included:

  • online tools. Nearpod, Plickers, Quizlet and Kahoot all get a mention. More inventive ways to do our Assessment for Learning both in and out of class.
  • Microsoft Forms (and google forms) deserve a bullet-point all of their own, given Forms’ inclusion in Teams and mature interface that makes feedback and marking a breeze.
  • Platforms. Microsoft Teams, with its breakout rooms, ability to record lessons and ubiquity has been popular with teachers and students and has enabled novice and experts to collaborate and find new ways of teaching.
  • Asynchronous teaching. A grand term maybe, but the ability to record lessons or lesson segments, review them and take learning at the individual’s pace is powerful, and a gamechanger for students and teachers. Students pointed out that this didn’t need to be a high-tech solution, just having access to the lesson PowerPoint made a difference, allowing students to go at their own pace.
  • The added structure of the online lessons helped students in developing motivation and building confidence. Those students who were ‘teaching assistants’ (for listeners outside the USA, these are students who help teach younger ages) particularly found access to lesson materials useful.

We tried to stick to positives but there were some notes of caution. The pandemic and the intense screen time has been tiring for students and they valued time away from the online learning, so variety is still important. New methods also bring the odd disadvantage as well, so make sure new techniques work for you and your students, not the other way around!

Join in!

Please share ideas or successes – or indeed questions – on our Facebook Page: .  You can also message us via our website contact form at, Twitter @physicstp, email using  the address given in the podcast (if we remember), you could even email us an autio file if you are feeling really keen.


The music is used under the Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License