In recent weeks, we have seen most schools and universities close their doors and begin to offer distance learning. Tech companies such as Google for Education, Adobe Connect, Socrative, Newsela, and OneSchoolHouse are offering free services to help these institutions deal with COVID 19 disruptions and social distancing. These options provide great streaming technology.
But distance learning does not mean that teachers should go on teaching the same classes, just from a distance. Instead, there are adaptations to be made in order to account for the differences in in-person and distance learning.
We’ve included some of the best practices for distance learning to help teachers adapt their lessons over the coming weeks:
- Try flipping your classroom. Flipped classrooms involve a teacher delivering content online, usually through a recorded video. Then, the traditional “homework” problems are done as an activity in class. Flipped classrooms are great for distance learning. Rather than teaching students frontally all at the same time, teachers can send a pre-recorded 10 minute video to be watched before the day’s lesson. Then, during “class time” the teacher can post problems or worksheets to be done together as a class.
- Enhance digital literacy. Try to see distance as an opportunity to learn new skills and to incorporate new media. This might be more of a challenge for teachers than for students, but digital literacy is a key skill in today’s world. Therefore, don’t simply use the online platform as a frontal classroom. Instead, incorporate interactive challenges, shared work documents, and internet scavenger hunts that include text and videos. This way, the “what” remains the same, but the “how” adds a new skill.
- Give students a sense of ownership. In order to keep students engaged, allow them choice within their assignments rather than giving a uniform assignment to all. Because with distance learning students struggle with motivation, giving them choice and therefore ownership helps them feel more motivated to keep plugging away. This works well for motivation in in-person classes as well.
- Keep the delivery diverse. Monotony of any kind can get boring! Keep your delivery diverse, bring in videos, songs, guest speakers, student speakers, and other media to keep the course dynamic.
Of course, classroom teachers are skilled in classroom teaching — and remote teaching is a whole different ballpark. But, applying the same skills that work in a classroom to a remote classroom may not ultimately be successful. Try making a few tweaks, it just might make the distance a bit shorter!