As a result of school closures throughout the country, thousands of educators have been thrown into the world of online learning with little to no warning. While this situation is unprecedented, we at Weld North Education are lucky to have a community of educators who have been working with digital classroom tools for some time. We asked the members of the Teacher’s Collective Forum for their top tips for educators new to online learning.
- Keep it simple.
- Everyone is adjusting to this new environment, so some suggest educators start small with projects or assignments to help them figure out how online learning will work without adding too much stress. You can always increase expectations as everyone gets more comfortable and confident.
- Focus on communication and grading.
- Given the limited time and resources, training will likely be minimal, so focus on the key pieces necessary to online education: the learning management system (LMS), communication, and grading. Once you are in contact with students and parents, using the LMS to deliver content, and comfortable grading the assignments, educators can learn the more intricate details of the system.
- Attend trainings.
- As mentioned above, the timeline of school closures doesn’t allow much time for training, but many online platforms offer key tutorials and quick implementation guides to get educators up and running quickly.
- If your school or curriculum provider is offering any formal training, make sure to attend it, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. You will have many, and others in the room will likely have the same questions.
- Record instructions.
- Video chats using free tools like Zoom can be extremely helpful, but educators recommend recording instructions in addition to broadcasting them live. Parents (and students) may need to hear instructions more than once, or they may miss the original live chat. Record your live sessions and post them for students to verify they have all the info they need to be successful.
- Collaborate with others (virtually, of course).
- Share ideas, support other educators and ask for help. It will make the process easier to manage if you have a support system and a network of others to ask if you have questions.
- Be vulnerable.
- For many, this is a time filled with fear and anxiety. Be honest with your students that amidst a rapidly changing environmental situation, the world of online learning is new to you. Some of your students may have more experience with online learning, or may just pick it up quicker than you. Learn from them and model the growth mindset, but also be kind to yourself and your students.
As more learning moves online, more people will be left wondering how to teach and learn effectively. Fortunately, many educators have been doing this well for years, and robust networks for sharing tips and resources have formed online. For other ideas and tips for online learning during a school closure, be sure to check Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and even do some googling. And for further reading, check out a few of our other pieces to help maintain a high quality of learning from your house: