With schools closed until at least April 20, you are surely wondering how your students or children will possibly stay engaged and keep learning for weeks, if not months at home. Anyone who’s had to join video meetings for work knows the pitfalls of such technology...now imagine a Zoom meeting with 22 second-graders instead of your colleagues!
Luckily, New York City teachers and students will not be the first in the world who have had to figure this out. I found these 15 Tips and Tricks for Online Learning on the Shake Up Learning blog to be a helpful starting point.
Written by an American teacher and tech coach in China, it provides good general advice for all grades and subjects, like reduce the daily workload by half and keep deadlines flexible. After all, you don’t know what else each family is juggling at home. The most surprising tip to me was number four: “This is NOT the Time for New Tech Tools!” With all the upheavals in students’ lives right now, she says, consistency is key. Stick with tech tools they already know and use in the classroom, like Google Drive or Seesaw. You can teach content or tech, but not both.
I would add that there are several tools that can easily integrate with those familiar platforms, so students (and their parents) won’t have to pick up new skills to use them. For example, Pear Deck allows teachers to create interactive Google Slide decks with built-in questions for students to write in responses, click on correct answers, or sketch out their thinking. Those can be stored in a Google folder, alongside the Screencastify videos you create to show students what’s on your screen, demonstrate a home lab activity, or respond to student work.
If you’re a teacher who’s craving even more ideas, or a parent who is looking to occupy children for the rest of the time they’re not doing assigned work, there are a dizzying array of resources available on this Facebook group, this 35-page Google Doc, or this sleek Glide App, COVID-19 Educational Resources".
And share your favorite online learning tips and resources with us in the COMMENTS below!