I wanted to share a few of my thoughts and ideas on how to best transition to this new type of schooling, whether you call it ‘remote learning’, ‘online learning’, ‘learning at home’ or something else, it is a big paradigm shift from all-day face-to-face teaching and we cannot expect to be able to perfectly replicate that in the home without adjustments and changes to how we think and how we teach.
We can learn from those teachers that have gone before us in countries overseas that have been doing this for weeks already, and many are saying don’t over plan! So, for what it’s worth, here are some of my tips and thoughts for consideration:
- Don’t go reinventing the wheel if you don’t have to! Look online and curate content where you can. Some teachers and schools are sharing amazing ideas and resources. Two standouts here from Australia with Corpus Christ in WA and St Peter’s College in Adelaide (who have a series of books on the Book Store) https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewBook…
- Don’t over plan – it will take time for everyone (teachers, students and families) to get into a routine, so try not to overload hours per day to match what is happening currently in school. Think about the time taken in school for behaviour management, assemblies, breaks etc. It will be frustrating when so much of your planned work never gets attempted
- I think project-based learning and extended learning type tasks, are much more practical than trying to plan the same equivalent hours of lessons every day
- Not all families have internet or printers at home, and some will have multiple children sharing one device, so being online all day is not achievable. Thought needs to be given to how to include all learners, perhaps with printed worksheets or booklets
- Think creatively – we need to reimagine learning and not try and replicate the classroom exactly. Think about ‘flipping’ your classroom
- Use tools you are familiar with (where possible) eg If you already use Seesaw, keep using it but look at new ways of using it
- My favourite tools that will work well for remote learning on many devices and platforms are Seesaw, Showbie (now with QR code log in), Nearpod, Microsoft Teams and G Suite
- Students will love hearing your voice and seeing you, so consider creating short videos where you demonstrate a concept eg using screen recording on iPad or apps such as Loom or Explain Everything or even just a video saying good morning and checking in
- Consider setting up daily timetables eg allocating skill and drill activities, reading time, mind or physical exercises so there is a sense of routine
- Some teachers are questioning how to mark attendance. All day online attendance is completely impractical, perhaps checking at the start of the day and/or the end, with students commenting in Seesaw or submitting something in Showbie or Nearpod can provide evidence of engagement. You will need to check with your individual school policies here.
- Choice Boards are fantastic, giving students the agency of choice while providing quality learning activities. Click on this link for some great examples https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/e/2PACX-1vTtDULK5nX1u6unCyPHT9KRuWuRo2_Z5MhuYoCh2nxC1hurAf0h5lE1NSPu_xFeiAdeXDSgpEMQEUtO/pub?start=false&loop=false&delayms=3000&slide=id.g818686f07c_1614_0
- Finally, the number of authors now giving permission for you to read their books aloud on online learning platforms is a reminder to beware of Copyright. JK Rowling, Paul Hamilton and Peter H Reynolds are just a few and there is some more information here https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/penguin-random-house-temporary-open-license/
But most of all, hats off to you all and THANK YOU! Teachers are awesome, and there are so many pressures in these trying and unprecedented times. We are all learning together. And your hard work and dedication IS appreciated!!