As the new coronavirus becomes an increasingly integral aspect of daily life, the onset of an extended remote learning platform looms near. While the remote learning format may be a temporary solution, whether the recent pandemic will necessitate ongoing learning from home is ultimately uncertain.
Remote learning might become a reality for students even after the current situation will have ended. Schools have been closed before because of powerful storms, wildfires, tsunamis, typhoons and even a polar vortex. Natural disasters can only be predicted, not controlled, and will continue to happen.
Read more: Why e-learning is key to building disaster-proof education
What’s more, remote learning allows students (especially older ones) to exert more agency over their learning process and feel more in charge when it comes to their education. This may be a double-edged sword, but sometimes it’s definitely worth exploring.
With this knowledge in mind, teachers who are seeking to create effective, accessible learning experiences for students should know that learning how to mediate the online environment is imperative.
4 Tips for making the transition to remote learning a smooth one
Having a sound strategy in place for when it’s necessary to move all teaching and learning activities online is crucial for making this transition as smoothly as possible. Read on to gain access to remote learning tips that can take your students’ academic experience from average to awesome:
Utilize multiple remote learning strategies
Just as the best teachers provide students with multiple learning tools and strategies in the classroom, effective online instructors will utilize multiple remote learning techniques in tandem. Remember that some students are tactile learners while others gain knowledge most effectively when it is presented in a visual format. Other students are auditory learners.
Research abounds and is still evolving regarding how people learn most effectively and why, but we already know one crucial point: most of us learn in highly distinctive ways and benefit from receiving information in multiple formats rather than in a singular fashion. With these realities in mind, be sure to use a combination of discussion board posts, email lessons, video lectures, and any other digital modalities that you find to be effective in teaching your material.
Read more: Video-based learning: Why it works [Part 1]
Make it personal
In the absence of live interactions and face-to-face contact, many students feel alienated from their teachers. This is a travesty that detracts from the quality and impact of education given that studies show students learn most effectively when they feel connected to and loved by their teacher.
Luckily, there are several strategies you can deploy to give remote learning the personal touch necessary to optimize a student's academic experience. One is posting photos of yourself at your desk so that they know that you are still a real person who is dedicated to working on their behalf. Also consider the value of posting live videos in which you conduct experiments or present your subject-related material to them in an engaging, aesthetically appealing fashion.
Know that the key to making it personal is literally inserting yourself into every lesson. Make personal references, discuss how the material impacts you, and share as many photos of yourself engaging the subject matter as possible!
Become more technologically savvy
While many if not most teachers are at least somewhat familiar with a wide range of technological platforms, now is the time to become a tech expert. By using products such as web filtering software and online conferencing technology, you can make the processes of communicating with co-workers, receiving quick feedback, and presenting lessons in a tenable manner, expedient and easy. For example, digital technology such as a school LMS enables students to exchange their work online.
Have a back-up plan for those who don't have Internet access
Teachers need to have an educational plan in place for students who cannot participate in live digital sessions. Your plan can involve anything from preparing hard copies of the material for students who lack internet access to recording the lecture so that it is available for individuals who are experiencing temporary technical difficulties.
Read more: 4 Examples of the best digital access initiatives
In addition to having a back-up plan, make sure that your basic remote learning plan is as specific and streamlined as possible. One teacher’s preparation process includes having a lesson which includes objectives for the day, a warm-up question that is then converted to a discussion forum, readings for that day, a video covering the main points of what was taught, and exercises or assignments that pertain directly to the lesson.
Having this type of detail-oriented approach to the planning process can prevent those new to the online teaching realm from becoming flustered, overwhelmed, or uncomfortable with the newfound realm of remote learning.
If you're serious about creating remote learning experiences that empower your students to gain knowledge in a safe, technologically savvy manner, know that you can make it happen. Utilize some or all of the strategies outlined above to get on track to cultivating innovative, individualized learning experiences that will help your scholars grow while simultaneously preserving your sanity and promoting your professional growth!