The coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) has brought remote learning into the homes of many parents that most likely had not been as hands on with their children’s education previously. However, it’s been a growing trend for some time. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that 21% of schools offer courses entirely online and that 58% of public schools offer distance learning programs.
Students working remotely at times is quickly becoming the new normal. In the fall, there’s a possibility we’ll still find ourselves in a situation where students are doing even more distance learning, dealing with a combination of working online at home and staggering days in the classroom, or another form of blended learning.
Whether you’re moving to a remote classrooms model or a more blended learning classroom, the success will depend on two key factors:
- An educator’s ability to manage the online classroom
- Providing the necessary remote learning resources for students and teachers
In short, teachers need to find multiple ways to communicate and engage students. They’ll need to be both more flexible in their approach and more structured in the methods they use. And, they’ll need to have cost-effective distance learning tools to make it all work.
Managing Remote Classrooms
Much of the strategies educators use in the traditional classroom are necessary for distance learning programs to be successful. The way they interact with students, getting to know them personally, and keeping them engaged still holds. With remote learning, however, teachers need to adapt their style to the online tools they use.
Here are six things educators need to think about when managing distance learning programs:
1. Think Community
When students are in a traditional setting, they are constantly interacting with lessons and with each other. They learn social skills and respect. When connecting remotely, it’s easy for them to fade into the background. It’s important that the same norms and expectations are established online so that everyone feels comfortable participating.
Students can feel isolated or intimidated by the technology. Teachers need to encourage students to learn about each other, give everyone a voice, and build a community feel among classes. While teachers need to build a relationship with each student, but they also need to build a community.
2. Think Engagement in Multiple Ways
Videos and written assignments are part of building a blended learning environment. It’s easy for a student to lose interest, skip through videos, or just search the answers online. This doesn’t mean they are learning the material. Teachers need to engage students in multiple ways to make sure the lesson is connecting.
Encourage discussion groups, comments, and verbal interactions and don’t rely on just written assignments. When you can look at a student in the classroom, you can typically tell if they’re engaged. It’s a little more difficult to do so over a video chat. One helpful way to overcome this limitation is to use technology that allows you to see both their faces and their online workspace at the same time.
3. Think One-on-One Connections
Community is important but the ability to connect one-on-one with students is often the key to success in the classroom. Teachers should have regular office hours where they are available for one-on-one time with students. This allows students to ask questions or engage in ways they may feel uncomfortable doing in a group setting. It’s helpful if your remote learning resources allow you to interact with the class as a whole, but also provide individual assistance without having to single out students in front of their classmates.
Let’s face it. We’ve all felt a little out of sorts (frustrated? overwhelmed?) with social distancing and stay-at-home orders. Everyone is feeling it. This one-on-one time helps educators deal with individual issues as they arise and get a better feel for making students comfortable with remote learning. We assume students today are prepared to work online but we’ve found many students need help navigating the technology or understanding the process to be successful with distance learning.
4. Think Online Standards
Educators need to explain to students what is acceptable behavior online. This includes teaching about plagiarism, which sources are acceptable to use when researching topics, and which sources are not acceptable. When they’re working virtually, it’s much easier to cheat. Many students, especially younger ones, may not understand why it’s wrong to copy someone else’s work online.
Administrators need to take proactive steps to bring cohesion to their staff. Just as students can feel anxious or isolated, teachers can, too. Make time for team building, bonding, and sharing. You’ll find that they are all facing similar struggles in shifting mentally to a new model of teaching. Let them learn from each other.
6. Think Remote Learning Resources
Given the uncertainty around COVID-19, educators should plan on virtual teaching as a necessary option for the fall term. Without the right remote learning resources, it will be difficult to maintain high educational standards whether it’s by remote classrooms or using a hybrid learning model. There are pros and cons to these techniques. You need to be prepared to reap the benefits of the upside and minimize the downsides of the new normal education. The right remote learning resources technology can help you achieve this.
The ideal solution for educators is a hybrid one that combines classroom management with the enhanced video conferencing capabilities.
One of the solutions available today in the market is VISO TeacherView which provides a foundation for interactive learning.
The platform allows teachers to discretely assist students that need help and virtually “walk” between students and see their screens and faces in real-time. Teachers can monitor student activities and evaluate performance in real-time, share screens and video camera feeds, provide individual or group assistance, and implement collaborative learning methodologies.
VISO TeacherView can help you continue to provide the highest standard of education to your students no matter where they are in a cost-effective manner. As a cloud-based platform, VISO Teacherview, allows teachers to teach and students to learn remotely while having the same seamless experience of a traditional classroom environment.
To learn more about VISO TeacherView and how it can help you manage remote classrooms click here.