COVID-19 has reshaped the world as we know it, as well as the various institutions in it.
One industry that the virus has affected harder than others is the education industry. As students head back to school, educators and students are faced with the task of needing to adjust to virtual learning.
For those unfamiliar with it, virtual learning can seem like an ineffective and unfulfilling learning system. Yet by using proper distance learning resources, you and your students will be able to make the most of it.
Keep reading to learn about all of the online learning resources you need to take advantage of.
Find a Communication Method
Clear communication is a must-have for virtual learning to be effective. This means that if your institution doesn’t provide you with communication software, you’ll need to find your own.
For some classes, you may be able to use video conferencing software. Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Hangouts are three popular programs to choose from. You’ll be able to hold classes with multiple students, share your computer screen, and have students annotate on your computer.
Whether on account of student privacy laws or some other reason, there are some instances where video conferencing doesn’t work. In that case, consider using discussion boards. Blackboard, Microsoft Teams, and Google Classroom all give your students the chance to have text-based discussions on different topics.
Make Organization a Priority
Hopefully, your institution and colleagues have decided on a platform to store and deliver assignments. If they haven’t, you’ll have to do that yourself.
Systems such as Blackboard, Google Classroom, and Canvas allow you to upload class materials, assignments, and assessments. However, if you’ve never used one of these programs before, you may find that they have a high learning curve.
If you don’t have time to learn a new system, there’s nothing wrong with finding a simpler option. Consider creating a Google Doc, then having links to various sections, such as links for homework, study materials, and lectures. The goal is to have something clear and easy for your students to understand.
Look for Ways to Deliver Content
Of course, one of the biggest hurdles with virtual learning is content delivery. How can you be an effective instructor behind a computer screen?
Luckily, there are many resources you can use. If your class requires you to give students readings, you can use Word files, Google Docs, or simple PDFs. Students can annotate these, highlighting and adding comments. Make sure you set the privacy settings of the document so that students can’t make content changes.
Video conferencing apps also come with different features you can take advantage of. Many have a “whiteboard” that lets you write and draw. It may take some getting used to, but with practice and a quality computer mouse, you’ll be remote teaching like a professional in no time.
Schools across the country are taking advantage of different methods to deliver content. To learn about how Compass High School has responded to COVID-19, check out this page.
Consider Showing Videos
One of the great parts about teaching online is that you have more opportunities to use multimedia content in class. Videos can be a great resource for your students.
If you want to show videos made by someone else, you’ll have plenty of sources to choose from. Khan Academy is one source that has loads of videos on education-related topics. You can also try sites such as YouTube, but make sure you watch them beforehand to ensure that they’re appropriate.
You’ll also be able to record and share lectures made by you. You’ll have the flexibility to format this style class however you see most effective. If you want to record your computer screen, show a PPT, or record yourself doing something offline, you can do it. Check out resources such as Screencastify to help you get started.
Look Into Providing Students With Audio Files
As an alternative to videos, consider providing students with audio files. These can be a much-needed break from the blocks of text that are so common in online learning.
Look around for different educational podcasts. You can use sites such as Listenwise to find recordings on a number of different topics. Many of these sorts of sites have podcasts meant for students.
Audio files also come with the added benefit of taking up less space than videos. If you’re interested in recording your own lectures and are tired of massive file sizes, consider sending an audio file instead.
Find Alternatives to Tests/Quizzes
Tests and quizzes get old fast in traditional learning scenarios. This can be more of a problem in an online environment. Instead, look for innovative ways to test students on their knowledge.
One creative project high school students can do is make and record a podcast on a topic. Students will need to do research, write a script, then spend time recording and editing their work. You can work with an app such as Anchor to make it.
You can also have students create web pages about topics. Try using a site such as WordPress, with each student or group having their own page. They can then share it with other students during class time.
Use These Distance Learning Resources for Quality Remote Education
Global pandemics and quarantines have hit the education industry hard, and teachers and students across the world have struggled to adjust. Yet by following this guide, you’ll have access to the distance learning resources you need to continue providing quality teaching.
Do you have any other virtual learning tips? Let us know!
If you enjoyed reading this article, don’t forget to check out some of our other posts for more guides and tips.