Tips for Teaching Online – The Tech Edvocate
The first and most essential thing to do is choose and implement a learning management system (LMS) allowing learners and parents to provide home schooling. This could be a district-provided LMS such as Canvas, Google Classrooms, Blackboard, Moodle, or a classroom website created by yourself.
You must maintain a single digital platform where you can update all information for your learners and parents. Updates may include critical information such as the week’s homework schedule, instructions for completing and submitting assignments, reminders, educator contact and availability, and more.
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Create a Routine
The distance learning system is different from an actual school system. Educators should set up an appropriate daily schedule/routine and keep learners informed about it to avoid confusion among learners. Whether the schedule is entirely academic or just an interaction, it should be clear when teacher and learners should be connected. Having an appropriate daily schedule is necessary, especially for families who have more than one child and share a device. Most schools select two check-in times, a morning meeting and an afternoon check-in, allowing families to organize the home school schedule.
Prepare your lessons
Since learners are at home, maintaining discipline is a big challenge for them. Many will struggle to cope with routine; some will be late; others will miss class check-in time all together. Therefore, it is essential to have a good lesson plan prepared well in advance. Educators should ensure that the curriculum or study material is clearly up to date before the course begins. This will help learners understand what they are going to learn, keep them informed of all the necessary material and help them take a more serious interest in their learning.
Record your lessons
Recording lessons and sharing them with learners is one of the easiest ways for any educator to teach learners from home. Educators can record a video of themselves giving a lesson and then share it with learners via URL or email attachment. A recorded lesson creates the opportunity to maintain the “presence” of the educator and engage learners as if they were in the classroom. Additionally, learners can play the video repeatedly to understand the concept or review the lessons taught.
Some options and tools for recording lesson plans include voice-over and recording functions in multimedia presentation software, screens and video recording tools such as Loom, Screencast-o-Matic, recording in web conferencing applications such as Adobe Connect or Zoom, smartphone video, or recording from a computer webcam.
Create lively discussions
Of course, an online classroom is different from a conventional classroom. Unlike conventional classrooms, the online classroom lacks physical interaction and direct communication between educator and learners. Thus, educators must initiate discussions so that learners participate in the teaching and learning process. This can greatly affect how learners feel in the classroom. Educators should encourage participation, as they would in a conventional classroom. This promotes learner involvement and makes learning more interesting.
Give students personalized feedback
Most learners need extra support or help from educators, either because they are slow learners or because they have certain learning problems. In conventional classrooms, learners can directly ask questions of educators to clear up confusion or to help them understand the concept. However, learners may find it impossible or complicated to ask questions in a distance learning system. In such cases, educators can call learners who need additional support and provide personalized and targeted instruction over the phone or via web conferencing. They can ask learners to provide information such as which method they find easy to learn, which activities help them understand better, their learning interests and preferences, and which topic they find most difficult.
Educators can also ask learners content-based questions to assess their understanding of lessons, solve problems, or reason with the learner to understand their issues and plan the next lesson more effectively.
Provide students with enrichment opportunities
Intense learning for long hours causes learners to lose interest or enthusiasm for learning. To keep them engaged, educators can provide some enriching virtual opportunities or activities like puzzles, games, STEM experiences, etc. They can also encourage learners to move around and be active. To provide such opportunities, educators can refer to platforms such as Enchanted Learning, World Book for Children, Brainpop, Everyday Mysteries, GoNoodle, and STEM Bob.
Evaluate your performance and that of your students
Educators can send assessments to learners via an email attachment for them to be completed and emailed back. To collect feedback, they can use online assessment tools such as Google Forms, Kahoot and Quizlet. Educators can also provide self-assessment opportunities for learners by asking them to reflect on their learning and academic performance, set goals, and create action plans.
The sudden transition from conventional education to online education is difficult, especially for conventional educators. I hope the tips above will help most educators master this new normal.