Building a meaningful online learning environment can be overwhelming for even the most seasoned instructors. The biggest challenge that they face is learning how to use technology effectively to deliver content and evaluate students’ mastery of content without much guidance.
In this article, we are sharing some important work from home tips for educators to optimize their digital instruction and effectively implement online instruction –
1. Prioritize Student Engagement
Whether you create a format where students engage directly with the lesson or answer questions after the content delivery, it is important to ensure that you’re not just talking but interacting, asking questions, and checking for understanding equally. Some of the ways you can ensure robust student engagement is by –
- Addition of hyperlinks
If there’s some additional resource for your students, provide the link directly to build students’ interest. You can also capture the information in a screenshot by simply inserting it into a slide and using these links to connect students to interactive resources.
- Including a lot of questions
The best way to check for student understanding is to include a lot of questions. Whether you are using PowerPoint or any other method of online teaching, consider adding a lot of triggers that allow students to select their answers.
- Reflect together on sessions
Create opportunities for students to respond to content, either through audio/video or in writing. Irrespective of the format you choose (prompts or open-ended), these reflections offer feedback on your content and a defined structure for students to clear their doubts during the sessions.
2. Learn To Manage Expectations
To successfully manage online instructions as an educator, it is critical to set clear expectations. Make sure that your students clearly understand the purpose of your instruction to make learning easy and impactful.
When students understand the purpose of instruction, it becomes much easier for them to find meaning in spending their time and energy on the task. It is, therefore, important to develop a routine and manage expectations well.
3. Leverage Technology & The Best Teaching Tools
To be able to work from home without much hassle, educators need to choose the right technology and teaching tools that best serve their students. Right from a high-quality microphone and webcam to tools such as Zoom & Google Hangouts for video conferencing, there are multiple tools that an educator requires to make teaching easy in a virtual environment.
Apart from conducting online classes seamlessly, you can also use this technology to send student resources such as videos, podcasts, audios, texts, and more to provide background knowledge that they would require in subsequent learning activities like group or one-on-one discussions.
4. Encourage Student Collaboration
Make sure to create weekly lesson plans to allow students to ask questions and encourage peer collaboration and idea-sharing.
Another great idea is to get students excited about reading and commenting on one another’s work. To navigate this successfully, set clear expectations and norms for students’ posted responses and design your assignments using shareable documents available online so that students can easily collaborate in small groups.
5. Offer Individualized Support And Feedback
To ensure that learning happens uniformly in the class, offer additional support to the students who need it. Create and provide personalized and targeted instruction over the phone or through web conferencing.
You can do this by –
- Asking students which learning activities they enjoyed most to be able to better understand their interests and learning preferences
- Working together with students on the problems or questions to understand their thought process and find opportunities for instruction
- Checking for the specific content or material they found most challenging
- Asking a lot of content-based questions to assess their understanding and skill development
6. Get Creative & Make Learning Interactive
Students in an online learning environment need opportunities not simply to read or listen but also to actively process and engage with the information being presented.
Think about mixing in polls, games, discussions, and other similar activities to both break up the instructional time and to help your students engage with the content differently.
You can also consider the different types of hands-on projects that students can complete either in their homes, peer-groups, or within their communities that align to the course material and enhance what they are learning in different content areas to make learning more fun and interactive.
7. Keep Your Resources Available Readily
When teaching in a remote environment, save all the resources that you’re using in an easily accessible format at any time. In case you are using a resource from the internet, make an effort to trace back to the source as redirecting links can sometimes break.
Make sure to download all these resources directly to your files and file them in a separate spreadsheet or another document so that you and your students can easily access these resources again.
8. Assess Student Learning Regularly
Qualitative feedback is critical to student growth, and it can be easily forgotten in a remote teaching environment. Regardless of how daunting it might look, let your students know how they are doing and that their online work has a certain purpose.
Make sure to build a robust system of student assessment where students can submit their assessments using various online tools such as Quizlet, Google Forms, and Kahoot or can submit video recordings of themselves using apps like Flipgrid. All you need to do then is provide specific, timely, instructional, and focused feedback.
Apart from this, offering self-assessment opportunities for students is equally important in a virtual learning environment.
Allow your students to set goals, reflect on their learning and performance, and create action plans. Some of the self-assessment strategies you can include here include rubrics, graphic organizers, student reflections, and oral assessments.
The concept of remote teaching is as new for educators as it is for students. However, teachers need to remember that virtual teaching is not very different from teaching in a physical classroom if you learn to be creative enough about adapting the concepts to a digital platform.
Following the tips and strategies shared above for remote teaching can help you efficiently navigate these challenging times and ensure better learning outcomes.