3 Essential Online Learning Best Practices
The year 2020 came in like a lion and seems to be going out the same way, with Covid-19 rearing its ugly head all the way through. Two things that 2020 brought us were an urgent need for online learning and teachers who were forced into positions of online educators with little to no preparation. Therefore, many teachers are trying to learn these three essential online learning best practices quickly so they can better manage their classrooms and better teach their students.
Practice One: Everything Doesn’t Have to Be Done Online
Many teachers are under the false impression that online learning means that their students must complete everything on the computer. This is not true!
If your students are learning about the color red, have them race to see who can bring three red things to the camera the quickest. If they are learning to count, have them practice by counting out loud while doing jumping jacks. If they are learning about the moon phases, have them document the moon each night on a calendar. There are so many other ideas for learning offline while online!
Practice Two: Don’t Start Over, but Do Ask for Input and Adapt
You have so much material available to you from when you were teaching in the classroom. It’s still available to you. Use it! It’s simple to take the keynotes and PowerPoint that you have and make them into videos with voiceovers or Screencasting.
However, do be sure to adapt your material to the online classroom. About three weeks in, ask your students for feedback. Ask them how they think the class is going and what they would like to see done differently. Let them offer insight. It’s their classroom too.
Practice Three: Change Up the Group Instruction
Use a variety of small group, large group, and individualized work experiences in your online learning. You can use breakout rooms in Zoom for smaller groups to converse. You can meet with smaller groups of students throughout the day for individualized instruction. You can schedule short, 15-minute spurts of one-on-one instruction to various students throughout the day here and there.
To fit in their individualized learning, some teachers do what they call “grouping.” They meet with a small handful of students from 8 AM to 8:30 for Reading. Then they meet with another three or four students from 8:30 to 9 for Math. At 9 AM, they meet with yet another few for another subject, and so the day continues.
When teachers prepare their days in this way, their students have a few times a day that they must log on for intentional content. The rest of the day, they focus on the remaining steps of Bloom’s Taxonomy: applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating.
These three essential online learning practices will make your job teaching so much simpler. If there were going to be a number four, I’d say to have a day of orientation for every parent, student, and teacher on their first day of online learning. This would be to acquaint them with these ten essential online learning practices so that education in the classroom could go that much smoother.