The inspiration for my research were my students and my own desire to improve their agency and engagement. In March of 2020, when school buildings were closed due to the COVID 19 Pandemic, teachers scrambled to take everything in their pedagogical bag and recreate it for a completely online experience. Many teachers felt confident and sure of their abilities in a in-person setting. In the time it takes to snap your fingers, it changed, Everything teachers knew how to do had to be re-created for use in a completely digital world, leaving us feeling deflated while simultaneously questioning ourselves and our abilities. Rather quickly, I noticed that it was not just the teachers struggling, our students were as well.
Students who spent the past 6-8 years learning to navigate the in-person classroom, felt out of place and ill equipped to navigate a digital classroom environment. Most of them were able to get online and navigate their favorite online game and learn all of the intricacies necessary for success in that digital realm, but were unable to transfer those skills to their digital education. They struggled to be engaged with their teacher and class, but also with their ability to use technical tools to complete digital assignments, or even have the agency within themselves to even attempt gaining the skills necessary to do so.