The COVID-19 pandemic has caused widespread closures of schools and educational facilities. However, this doesn’t mean learning should stop.
Today’s kids should consider themselves lucky since they’re living in an era where technology makes things easier – including learning. With a fast internet connection and wise use of online communication platforms, teachers and tutors can effectively communicate with their students and implement an engaging distance learning experience during the lockdown.
If you’re an educator here are 9 tips to make the digital classroom setup work.
1. Create a digital home base
There are several platforms you can use to facilitate learning but it’s best to keep it simple. What you need is a single digital platform that your students can always access for the most recent and up-to-date information.
One of the best platforms to consider is Google Classrooms, a streamlined, easy-to-use tool that helps educators manage coursework. With this platform, you can create and organize classes, distribute assignments, send feedback and foster better communication – all in one place.
2. Record your lectures
Video conference calls are a great way to simulate face-to-face classroom learning. But if there are students struggling with internet access or are ill, they’ll surely miss a live-streamed lecture. With this, it’s a must to record video lectures they can watch in their own time at their own pace.
3. Show your face
Research suggests that lecture videos are more effective when they show the instructor’s faces as opposed to simple, narrated slideshows. You may intersperse your slides with shots of yourself.
4. Keep your videos brief
Make sure to keep videos substantial but short. Videos longer than 15 minutes can cause issues of slow downloading and distraction. If you have a lot to say, record two or three short videos, instead of a long one.
5. Provide external resources
The web never runs out of quality resources you can use to foster learning. It’s best to provide links to high-quality external sources, like PDF readings and educational videos, that students can easily access.
Double-check if these materials are fully open access. No student should be forced to sign up or pay just to read an article.
6. Test out slides on your phone
Not everyone has a laptop or a tablet – some students are reading and answering quizzes on their phones. Make sure you test your slides on your smartphone and make sure the text is optimized and readable on small screens. Pay attention to font sizes, template designs, colors, and screen ratios too.
7. Provide fun interactive activities
A Sydney tutoring centre once said: “With a balance between work and play, students are able to live with greater purpose and energy.”
During these trying times, find ways to insert fun into your lecture and activities. Incorporate funny photos and memes. Create interactive learning activities. Initiate and encourage discussions. You want your students to be involved on a daily or weekly basis, as opposed to just passing assignments.
8. Set reasonable expectations
Reduce the workload, for you and for your students.
During these difficult, abnormal times where students won’t be able to work as productively, it’s okay to expect less. For example, you may ask your students to answer a quiz whose questions can all be answered by referring to the given learning resources. You may also make your activities “mandatory but low-stakes”.
9. Get up close and personal
If there’s one thing students miss the most in school, that might be the human connection cultivated in your classroom – from the little interactions in the hallways to small talks during breaks. Don’t just focus on the content – find ways to incorporate personalized touchpoints with your students.
Create personalized touchpoints through emails, video calls, and messages, and comments on shared documents. Make the online classroom setting fun and light.
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is a daytime writer for Inflow Education Tutoring Sydney, a tutoring organization in Sydney, specializing in Math and English Tutoring. She enjoys writing practical tips on education, parenting, family, and relationships.