It is going to be a long time before we ‘Get Ready to Roll Back to School’, and for one group of people teachers – both at school and extracurricular – that means adapting to being a remote educator. Online teaching can be fun and convenient, but it can also be challenging. Not only do you need to have a level of proficiency in remote working technology, but you’ll also need to prepare a different way of teaching compared to your traditional arrangement. For those readers who are teachers we have compiled six tips to make your job easier and to ensure that you can continue working:
1. Learn the tech
First thing is familiarizing yourself with what you need to teach online, such as your computer, internet connection, and the software and platforms you will use. Your computer should be able to handle video software and several high-memory using applications at once. The internet connection must also be fast enough to let you stream videos and make video calls without any lagging as this will affect your ability to teach and host lessons. As for software, your school likely has its own recommendations. But if the choice is yours, either Google Classroom or Edmodo would be perfect, as both have everything you’ll need for an online classroom while being easy to use and understand.
2. Show yourself
One of the tips shared in The Conversation’s article on better online teaching is to show yourself to your students. That’s because lecture videos or discussions showing the instructor’s face has been found to be more effective as opposed to narrated slideshows or PowerPoint presentations. However, you can still intersperse presentations/slides with videos of yourself, as long as these videos are short and informative. Anything over 15 minutes can be slow to download, and even distracting, so make sure everything is “bite-sized” and easy to digest.
3. Leverage asynchronous learning
Harvard Business Publishing identifies asynchronous learning as one of the great benefits of online teaching. This simply means that students have the ability engage in their lessons even when your online class isn’t ongoing. With that in mind, record your lessons, provide the necessary resources, and then assign thought-provoking tasks. Give your students leeway, but do set “hard and clear deadlines.” This keeps you from micromanaging your online class, leaving you with more time to prepare your other lessons and activities.
4. Keep things simple
A drawback of distance learning is that your students will have to tackle things on their own. This will require a great deal of focus and self-direction on their part. So, to make things easier for them, Edutopia suggests keeping things as simple as possible. This means designing learning experiences with clear, specific instructions, utilizing one or two resources only, and providing easily accessible PDF files. It also means being lean and concise with how you deliver new information, as conveying instructions across a screen is very different to doing so face-to-face. In keeping things simple, you’ll avoid over-complicating your lesson plans and activities, as well as unnecessarily confusing your students.
5. Use a good screencasting software
Some teachers aren’t familiar with screencasting software, let alone screencasting itself. Don’t let that be the case, as screencasts can serve as great visual aids. The best in this regard is Screencast-O-Matic, which is #1 in HP’s feature on the best screencasting software for teachers. Affordable and easy to use, Screencast-O-Matic lets you record, edit, and share videos for free. It even has a full version (for a $20 annual fee) that lets you hide your wallpaper when recording giving you added privacy. For a free and equally easy to use alternative, you can try Loom. It is basically like Screencast-O-Matic, but sans the subscription and green screen option. With screencasting, you’ll have plenty of options when making informative and engaging presentations.
6. Stay fluid
Instead of teaching while sitting down, consider teaching while standing and setting your laptop on a higher platform. This way, you can still stay mobile. If you want to take it to the next level, check out our review of balance board FluidStance, an omnidirectional board that lets you tilt to every direction, causing just enough wobble for you to burn calories without getting distracted. The perfect way to teach from home and stay fit at the same time.
photo: Julia M. Cameron via Pexels