With school closures throughout the country, online education has become a significant alternative for many districts. As teachers, administrators, and students adjust to a new way of learning, there are a myriad of resources to help smooth out some of the inevitable bumps encountered along the way. We’ve compiled a list of helpful tips and tools to reference as you navigate the world of online learning.
- Start small. It’s easy for students to get overwhelmed when their daily routine is disrupted, so try to choose one thing to start with. Avoid overloading students and parents by asking them to download and test too many applications or platforms.
- Start by emphasizing the learning and concentrating less on the grades. Adjust expectations and be flexible with deadlines.
- Direct students toward free and readily-available tools for all abilities and backgrounds.
- Focus on formative assessment and checking for understanding, rather than summative assessment so you can see where your students are at in their learning journey and identify areas of strengths and struggles.
- Remember some families may have differing priorities during this time and you may not receive the same engagement from all students and families.
- Announce expectations and guidelines to families early on in the process. Communicate as much as possible throughout the learning experience with positive, encouraging, supportive, and consistent messages.
- Create virtual communities to ensure regular human interactions, enable social caring measures, and address possible psychosocial challenges that students may face when they are isolated.
- Schedule regular virtual staff meetings where everyone can see each other, or at least give a call-in option.
- Check in on your staff daily to see how they are progressing. This can be done with a text, phone call, or video chat.
- Share successes and achievements, whether big or small, on a regular basis.
While some schools and districts have specific platforms and digital tools already in place for online learning, you may be looking for helpful resources for the transition. Check out this list of options for a wide variety of needs:
- Instructional Tools
- Conferencing Tools
While this is certainly a time of adjustment for educators and families, it’s also an opportunity for creativity and ingenuity as you find solutions to keep young minds actively learning and engaged. We encourage you to share your ideas and tips for making online learning a success!