We’ve all heard the expression, “Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.” That’s never been truer than now. While distance learning was challenging for all of us, there were aspects of going virtual this spring that we may want to consider keeping.
Here are some of my favorites. These are based on my own experiences working with schools and educators remotely and what I’m hearing from parents and kids.
- Instructional Videos
So many students, especially middle schoolers, have told me they loved the instructional videos that their teachers posted, especially in math and science. They said that the shorter videos, one to three minutes each, that they could pause and re-play as required, helped enormously with homework assignments. They didn’t like the longer ones as much because they were more difficult to search for the parts they wanted. Consensus: short videos, one core concept per video. Parents appreciated these videos too as it allowed them to help their children more effectively. For more information on how to make your instructional videos fun and engaging, visit “Tips for Making Instructional Videos”.
- Parent-Teacher Meetings Via Zoom
While there’s no substitute for meeting with a parent in-person, getting together via Zoom is still better than phone, email or text. Now that we’ve all gotten more familiar with Zoom, you may want to consider offering this option to parents, especially if it’s a pressing matter and scheduling something in-person will delay addressing the issue.
- Digital Connectivity
Programs like Global Scholars, that allow students around the world to collaborate on meaningful issues, bring a new level of excitement, engagement and relevance to learning. The more we embrace technology’s bounty and research what’s available to us as educators, the more our classrooms have the potential to experience and change the world. Think of technology and our growing comfort level with it as a means to deepen students’ understanding of themselves and others through innovative connectivity.
- Specialized Instruction
Let’s say you have a student who’ll be out for several weeks or even a month due to an injury or medical condition. Instead of just sending home a study and homework packet with instructions, now you could meet with this student remotely, cheer them on, monitor their progress, be supportive and present in a way that none of us may have considered before we all embarked on the technology learning curve together.
- Counseling Sessions via Zoom
One of the frustrations I’d hear from school counselors pre-Covid, was that if they had a troubled student who was truant or serving an at-home suspension, they’d often worry about that student’s overall well-being. With digital platforms, you can support that student, see their face, be there for them in a way that phone calls and emails didn’t offer.
Here’s my challenge to you: think about one aspect of distance learning that you personally loved and will to continue to use as a valuable tool moving forward. Share that with colleagues and ask them what their favorite distance learning discovery has been. The more we excite each other about the possibilities, the richer and more extraordinary back to school will be for everyone!
Next blog post, back to school readiness tips!