It is time to start thinking about how we will set up our classroom, the endless bulletin board designs and activities for our students.

3 min read

In their element running a busy face-to-face classroom, many teachers are apprehensive as they start their journey with virtual learning, for which very few have had time to fully prepare.

Early last year, concerns over the new coronavirus pandemic only had a handful or schools and universities closing their doors to move online in the UK. Now, many of the nation’s streets stand still after the government made the decision to shift to online education.

1. Cater to Even Lower Attention Spans

When it comes to online learning, keeping students’ attention becomes even more challenging. Trisha Holyoak, an experienced Blended Learning Administrator with K12 wants to remind teachers shifting to temporary online learning that the idea that “the longer you keep a student in class, the longer they learn,” is even less accurate in an online scenario.

“They need to be engaged at very high levels for shorter amounts of time,” Holyoak stresses. “After 20 minutes, they need to get up and move or take 5-minute brain breaks.”

2. Get Them Moving With Hands-On Tasks

Online learning doesn’t mean your student’s eyes need to be glued to the computer all day. Don’t be afraid to assign curriculum-related, hands-on activities. These will drive home the lesson and show parents what their children’s experience is like in school. Encourage students to interact with family members, get up and move around, draw, build, chart, cook, and more.

3. Host ‘Live’ Classes During Required Remote Learning

You may design the most engaging activities or choose to use a well-known expert’s video for a lesson. Nonetheless, part of developing a personal connection with students involves interacting with them in real time. Although it may not be required by your school, the best way to continue building positive relationships with students during remote learning is through hosting live classes.

4. Hold Regular Virtual Office Hours

Set office hours when students or parents can reach you in real time. While a couple office hours daily is ideal, these should occur three times a week at the very least. Knowing they can reach you for urgent issues or to address more complex issues during this time provides a sense of consistency and comfort for students. During your virtual office hours, plan to be available via video chat, phone, and instant messenger. With messaging systems, be sure to log on and make your presence visible, so students can be sure you are available to talk. If you are meeting with a student via video or phone, update your status to “student meeting.”

6. Bring In Digital Guest Speakers

Who doesn’t love guest speakers? Students sure do! And guest speakers provide unique, real-world and often authoritative perspectives. Remote learning, especially remote learning that wasn’t originally on the academic calendar, is the perfect opportunity for guest speakers. Bring people in either live or in a recorded format with an agreement for them to answer student-submitted questions via video (or email) within the next week or so.

Tips and Tools for Teaching in a Remote Learning Environment