As most of us know by now, the idea of distance learning or E-learning might very well become many schools’ temporary reality. With the threat of Coronavirus invading our communities, many schools consider moving classes to a distance learning online format. Remote learning, if never experienced or practiced before, could be tricky, time-consuming and stressful for many educators. I have thought about this a lot and I don’t think it has to be as difficult as you think.
Where can teachers start?
If you want to present your lessons to your students via recorded video, that’s fine. But if I am home, that means my children are home too. Finding extra time doesn’t always exist. I do not want to spend hours and hours pre-recording my lessons because making changes and editing the recording just takes up time.
Lights. Camera. Action. Well, not quite.
I believe just “going live in your videos,” is the best option. Going live allows your students to interact with you right then and there as if they would if you were in the classroom. They can ask questions in the realtime. Should students not be available while you’re live, you can always record your live session for their viewing at a later time. Those students just won’t benefit from being able to have things clarified at that time.
Students, in general, can only pay attention for so long before they tune you out and need a break. Keep in mind the age of your students when either going live or pre-recording your lesson. Light bulb moment for you, “you wouldn’t lecture for 40 minutes straight in the classroom. Don’t do it on video.” I can guarantee they won’t pay attention! If you choose to go live, break up your lecture by asking questions, or having students provide input, or complete some kind of task during that time. Keep them as engaged as you can.
If you’re new to the idea of live videos or even recording yourself, Skype will become your new distance learning best friend. Skype allows you to go live in front of many people at once, Therefore, it acts as if you were actually in front of your students in your classroom. They can hear you, you can hear them. This makes having a question and answer sessions effective. You can also lead classroom discussions in this manner. Best of all, it can be accessed from any device.
What else is out there?
If you choose to not even bother with recording your distance learning lessons, which is also a fine option, YouTube and Khan Academy provide valuable, already-made educational videos on almost any academic topic. You can assign students these videos to watch, and they can complete assignments based on those videos. Utilizing other methods of communication between students, such as online discussions and/or chat rooms, you can gauge who understands the material, who actually watched the videos, and who you need to focus on maybe one-on-one.
Overall, this will be most schools’ first go at this type of learning. No one is expecting perfection since this is new. It will take some prep work, yes, but it doesn’t have to lead to you burning out over it. Pace yourself. Don’t try to do everything you’d do in your classroom right away. This will take some learning for both students and teachers. But, in the end, it will all be okay, whatever you choose to do!