Virtual schooling has never been as crucial as it is now. With the sudden change of events, teachers will likely have to transition between digital and hybrid environments. Although teaching online might sound like absolute fun for most teachers, it can be daunting to some, especially those without prior experience.
Unlike face-to-face classrooms, where educators interact with students easily, virtual schooling presents a set of new challenges. From engaging students to facilitating interactions, the experience can be draining to some teachers. If you’re unsure what step to take next, here are five ideas to help ease your remote learning experience.
Create a Positive Learning Environment
Organizing a physical classroom is pretty easy and practical because you start to envision your class’s new look. You can plan where your kids will sit, engage, collaborate, and learn. Now that you wouldn’t be operating from physical classrooms, you can begin to set up your digital learning environment.
Evaluate the platform you’re using to connect with your students to see if it provides a user-friendly interface and other supportive tools to enhance usability. Consider its features and compare it with other platforms so you can know which option offers the best experience.
Maximize Online Interaction
Virtual communication provides an entirely different experience as compared to online classrooms. In physical classrooms, you can easily interact and engage with students. Having as many students as possible in the same room can encourage participation through groups and pairs, enhancing performance.
However, the experience is quite different in the virtual space – where you would probably have one student talking at a time, which can create a teacher-based kind of environment, making the situation even worse. You can maximize interactions by writing on the board, being friendly, and creating your interaction patterns.
Go beyond Communications
In face-to-face classrooms, teachers can build a strong connection with students. That is easily achievable because they’re physically together, and the teacher can depend on the nonverbal mode of communication, like the tone of voice and facial expressions. However, this is not the case in virtual schooling. It is not your presence that matters in online classes.
Instead, you should be reclined to asynchronous communications and lessons. It would also help if you developed transparent systems and rules of virtual communication with your students. You should also consider setting up a hotline to help students reach you if there is a critical issue.
Encourage Student Feedback
Virtual teaching is a new and growing technology. You can expect students to raise several issues, concerns, and contributions. Getting their feedback and responding to it can facilitate smooth progress. A 2019 research by online learning experts indicates that the most thriving online teachers utilized students’ feedback to improve their online services and experiences. That said, the best way to improve your online teaching is to appreciate students’ efforts and let them know that their opinion matters.
In physical classrooms, you can easily address your students’ needs based on their ability, learning styles, and, of course, strengths. In a virtual environment, you should figure out activities that encourage inclusivity and allow every student to participate. You should ensure each student can access learning tools and think of the best ways to teach those who may not access the tools. There are many tools out there like Wakelet, FlipGrid, and activity menus that allow students to share their work and choose the activities they would like to participate in.
As teachers transition from physical classrooms to virtual learning, they need to adjust many things. As a teacher, you can choose what to incorporate or omit to enhance the online teaching experience. The ideas stated above can help you navigate the transition process smoothly.