This fall, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, teachers and students around the world will need to adjust to online classrooms. For teachers with younger students, this may be particularly challenging. However, there are a number of things teachers can do to help their students get the most out of remote learning, according to a recent article published by Fast Company. Here are some expert recommendations:
Do not attempt to completely replicate your classrooms online. Kids get bored easily and have short attention spans. When they are learning remotely, those attention spans get even shorter. If possible, limit the amount of time you spend on video conferencing with younger students. While middle schoolers can handle video sessions that are about an hour-long, kids in second grade and under shouldn’t spend more than 30 minutes on conference calls. For children even younger, lessons should last no more than five minutes. To keep kids engaged, you should include lots of interactive sessions and activities.
Simplify instructions as much as you can. Using your remote learning system, post clear instructions for each lesson for every day of the week, in a location that’s easy for students to find. Keep the instructions short, clear, and to the point. One way to do this can be creating short 1-minute video instructions for students.
Regularly engage with your students. For example, you can use interactive digital tools like Nearpod or Kahoot to post questions, puzzles, and other fun stuff. Instruct your students to open these platforms in a window or browser separate from their main learning management system, so they can toggle back and forth between them. Nearpod Silver and Kahoot Basic (for up to up to 10 players) are free.
Give students a chance to socialize. Perhaps the biggest thing your students lose in an online environment is the ability to socialize with each other. But there are electronic alternatives to socializing in an online classroom. For example, Nearpod provides a feature similar to social media, dubbed “Collaborative Board,” where kids can interact, answer your questions, and interact with one another’s comments. Additionally, apps like Microsoft’s free Flipgrid give students the ability to make videos for each other in a setting you can control. You can also have video meetings where kids can just stay and talk can help, as well as plan fun social activities once a week. Some activities to consider can be virtual show and tell or a virtual scavenger hunt.
For more information on how to adapt to an online learning environment, check out these education expert-recommendations.
During this time, teachers are also struggling to transition STEM curriculums to online learning. For help, check out these free resources.