IT Tips for K-12 Distance Learning
The recent transition to distance learning has not been easy for many schools. Like traditional classrooms, distance learning relies on several factors to succeed. A successful distance learning setup should incorporate these elements:
Adjusting to a distance learning setup may take time for students, parents and teachers. Teachers must keep this in mind when setting deadlines for homework and projects. It is highly likely that students – and parents – may need time to learn how to access information correctly.
Times are tough. Teachers must consider every student’s needs. If a student is noticeably struggling more than others, it may be time to schedule a one-on-one meeting to discuss how the issue can be resolved.
When working in a distance learning setup, educators should create a frequently asked questions resource for users to access should problems arise. Teachers must make learning materials available on demand. Doing so will allow students to catch up and refer back to items at their own pace.
Teachers may also want to keep a closer eye on their emails. They will likely receive questions and time-sensitive notes. If possible, teachers should increase “office hours” to ease the transition.
Teachers must aim to provide the standard classroom atmosphere to their online course. This can be done by creating fun images and videos to send out to students and increasing collaboration efforts. An excellent example of this would be to create individual birthday posts or videos for students and keep a fun demeanor.
The more active the teacher appears the more students will be drawn into the online classroom structure and experience.
Collaboration is easily the most critical factor when working within a distance learning platform. When students are actively participating in their online courses, they can more easily understand and retain the information received. Younger students benefit significantly from collaborative learning because it fosters connections that they would receive in a physical classroom.
Teachers should consider breaking students up into groups and increasing group work as a tool to boost collaboration within the class. Group work will force students to interact with one another in ways that they may not have otherwise.
Keep technology simple. Tracking student progress may be difficult when distance learning. Teachers must form a routine and stick with it. Teachers should provide straightforward, simple instructions on how to use all distance learning tools and how to access online materials used throughout the course. Syllabi should also contain more detailed information on rules and regulations used while distance learning.
Teachers may also consider having a lecture purely devoted to a walkthrough of all tools to be used throughout the semester.
Students, parents and teachers are vulnerable when it comes to cyber-attacks. It is essential to educate all users on cyber-security. This can be anything from how to avoid scams and suspicious websites to phishing attempts.
The sudden transition to virtual learning is unprecedented territory. To assist administrators during this time, BridgeTek has created a checklist that will help institutions prepare their teachers and students for distance learning.