Covid 19 pandemic has created a very difficult situation world-wide. In India, as it has struck at a time when new session was about to start, it has created a different set of challenges. There are parents, who want kids to engage into some learning rather than stuck to Netflix and Amazon prime, and then there are educators, who are at a loss as to what to do. Online learning is being advocated and pushed. Here are 10 tips to ensure that you get optimal outcomes when you take learning online.
1. Spread Positivity -During the current period when depressing news of death is all around us, having a positive mental attitude can cheer up the mood. Educators understand the importance of creating a vibrant and cheerful atmosphere for learning to be better. So smile more often than what you would do otherwise.
2. Fix Timetable – It is important to understand that children are taking these lessons in unfamiliar settings. It is, therefore important to set some rules. So if you are doing an online classroom, share the timetable in advance. If you are sending study material to students, pl ensure that you follow a routine.
3. Keep assignments simple – Assignments should be described very clearly so that students can succeed. It can be tempting for teachers to assign lots of independent work. However, teachers should give assignments that are bite-sized. It will, in fact, help if you give assignments in digital forms by using tools like Google forms as a lot of students might not be able to take print outs for various reasons.
4. Include video – Students prefer video-based mini-lessons in addition to written instructions. Most students will find it tough to concentrate on online classes or may find it intimidating to read a lot of stuff. Therefore, encourage teachers to include videos. There are excellent Maths videos available on TutMe library. You can also reach us to get help on videos for other subjects like Science and SST.
5. Virtual classrooms should not be compulsory -Virtual classroom sessions restricted to 1 or 2 times per week can help students feel connected to their teachers and classmates, but it is helpful to make them optional. There can be issues around internet accessibility or device availability. Also, it is helpful to record meetings and post them for those who could not attend.
6. Be creative in using content When students do not have printed textbooks at home, the digital curriculum can fill the gap. However, make sure that the digital resources you share are creatively done and happy looking.
7. Limited Screen time – Excessive screen time can have negative side effects. Although there are many wonderful online tools and e-curriculum resources, teachers can reduce screen time by assigning book reading, handwritten work, or hands-on physical activities. These handwritten works and projects can be evaluated, when schools reopen, and to make sure these are done regularly, you can create a submission rule by uploading pictures.
8. Focus on wellness activities – Especially during times of lockdown, educators should give attention to the whole person—body, spirit, mind, and social relationships. Principals should encourage all—students, families, and employees—to practice wellness, self-management, goal-setting, as well as adopt an optimistic sense of perseverance. It is a good idea to start a virtual classroom session with some meditation exercises.
9. Invite Parents -Each positive interaction that parents have with their children can be a motivator. Invite parents to become involved with their child’s learning at home. On a weekly basis, teachers could publish a week-long learning plan for the coming week. With a learning plan, parents and students have a sense of course expectations, which will greatly reduce the anxiety of all concerned.
10. A School Management System- If your school does not already have a learning management system (LMS), now is a good time to familiarise yourself with some of the options available. You should consider adopting an LMS that allows your teachers to do the following:
i) post files, videos, and links;
ii) accept file submissions;
iii) provide comments and feedback on submissions;
iv) administer and score quizzes;
v) share assignments, scores, and comments with students and parents via a mobile app.
TutMe is an excellent LMS, that does all this so well. School software can make a tremendous difference in the success of your school’s online program.
We have always taught our students that every problem is an opportunity. Now is the time to live that ourselves. So while we may look down and out at this moment against this virus, we are sure to come back. Positive messages from you in times like this to your students will go a long way in strengthening your relationship with students and parents.