As we know, when kids go to school, they have many socialization and academic opportunities that they lose when learning remotely. Kids miss their friends and activities when they are home for extended lengths of time. Many kids may experience stress, frustration, anxiety, and even depression that we cannot notice when we are not with them.
However, there are also special opportunities for students who are learning remotely. If lessons are recorded, students can listen to them more than once to make sense of them. They can work at the times of the day that are most productive for them as individuals. Many older kids like to get up and stay up later. Since everyone has a computer available, you can give your students various types of multimedia to understand the same information, and they can choose the modes that are most helpful to them. For example, you might be able to find videos, games, written materials, demos, and even songs and animations that cover the same material. If kids have some choice in how they learn, and can use more than one modality, they will be more likely to remember the new information and use it.
Here are 3 more tips for Effective Remote Learning Practices
- Make sure your expectations are clear…
It is always important for teachers to give clear directions, but when teaching remotely this cannot be overstated. We do not have the luxury of seeing how our students react when they get directions. We may not be able to sense any confusion, and many students may be reluctant to ask questions. Make sure your directions are clear and can be followed by students, with perhaps a simple practice example first. Give assignments in small enough bites to make sure the kids understand exactly what to do. Have checkpoints that you check so you are certain they are on the right path.
Often students (and adults) need deadlines to stay focused, but long deadlines can be deadly. For older students and longer assignments, send a sample of the type of work you expect and the rubric you will use to evaluate their final product. Then chunk assignments into manageable parts. Check student work, as they go. Have a way for your students to post or ask questions if they need clarity. If there is a problem, try to nip it in the bud. Talk to the student or parent as soon as you can to see if there is a problem that you can help solve.
- Teach students how to use the technology they need
It is a misnomer to think that kids are digital natives. Even if they were born with smart devices in their tiny hands, that does not mean they will easily be able to use technology for the types of assignments you want them to complete. Kids may be whizzes at the games they enjoy, but that does not make them experts at using technology to learn information and to produce quality work. This needs to be carefully taught. Be mindful! With all the new tools and apps out there, it is easy to get Shiny Object Syndrome. Pick the technology that best suits your needs and practice using it. Make sure your students have this tech available, and that they know how to use it. You can make a video demonstrating how to use different applications and start with an easy practice assignment first.
- Conduct Teaching in Zoom Rooms and Google Meeting Rooms
You can set up Zoom Rooms or Google Meeting Rooms so that you can put your students in groups and monitor all rooms, as they work. These rooms can be used for discussions, projects, presentations, and debates. You can post “jigsawing” assignments. You do this by having students gain expertise on a topic together in one virtual room and then switch the rooms so there is one “expert” on each topic in each of the new meeting rooms. You can also set up a Question Room – where the kids who have questions and concerns can talk to you one on one, and then return them to their group. The possibilities are endless.
Again, this is a time of unprecedented challenge, but it is also a time of great opportunity. The new skills and techniques you acquire will transform your practices in ways that will make you even more effective in the future. For example, think about how kids can use virtual meetings to work on group projects after school hours when school is back in session. As you learn new methods, and design new types of learning experiences for your students, think about the positive techniques you might carry from your remote teaching back into the classroom once everything reopens.
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