Virtual Learning Tips for Teachers!
One thing is for sure, it seems that online learning is here to stay! I’m not going to pretend that the switch from face-to-face learning to online learning is easy; it takes a lot of preparation, maybe more so than the usual medium of teaching. After making the switch with my students, here are some tips that have helped my sessions run as smoothly as they could. Though we can’t always plan for the unexpected, at least we’ll be close. As we continue with online learning, teachers need tips too.
Here are a few quick tips for teachers that may be useful as you continue to work in the online environment:
- Allow students to keep their camera off or use an appropriate video background.
- Vary your lessons to appeal to all learning styles. Use discussions to increase engagement and comprehension, quizzes, give students the opportunity to present and show what they know or other ways to boost engagement and promote active learning.
- Utilize screen recordings to pre-record yourself and your lessons.
- Post behavior expectations and consequences. Spend time discussing with your students what you as a class want your “Online Classroom Norms” to be.
- Use positive reinforcement to reinforce positive behaviour. Recognize a star student, send a note home to parents when they’ve done a great job, or other ways to recognize achievements.
- Include “brain breaks” in between learning. A young child may need a quick break after staying on a task for a long time. We all need a few minutes away from the screen.
- Set clear due dates and frequent reminders as the lack of a school day schedule may lead to students losing track of time and falling behind.
- When using videos in sessions, keep them short. Long videos and too many videos lead to student distraction.
- When using PowerPoints, make sure all text is readable. Since students may be using a variety of devices, make sure you test slides first.
- Use existing resources. You don’t always have to reinvent the wheel. Use pre-developed resources available online and provide students with clickable links.
- Plan effectively. Practice moving through a lesson until you feel more familiar with the logistics of toggling between windows, for example, or changing the settings of your tools on the fly as circumstances require.
- Close any programs that you won’t be using and print out your lesson plan so that you don’t need to frantically search for it on your screen.
- Involve parents. After each session, I try to chat with parents or send an email with updates on progress, what is to come, and resources. Sometimes a quick message suffices.
I know that these may not be all possible as everyone has a different situation to make the best of. Do what works for you!