PLEASE ROTATE YOUR DEVICE
April 30, 2020
With so many forms of communication moving online, educators can offer students better education continuity by improving their remote lesson plans.
The recent COVID-19 outbreak and resulting pandemic have impacted nearly every aspect of modern society, from how companies conduct business to how friends and family communicate. Social distancing and shelter-in-place countermeasures have also resulted in the closure of many schools across the U.S. Here in Ohio, Governor Mike DeWine has shuttered all K-12 school buildings and asked that districts “work to provide education through alternative means.”
In wake of these school closures, many districts are turning to remote learning as a solution. The difference between traditional education and remote learning is that instructors and students do not meet physically — instead, they rely on digital communication such as email, video conferences, pre-recorded lessons, or discussion boards to facilitate learning.
The ability to provide educators with the resources they need to continue instruction is key to supporting ongoing learning during this time. We know that times are difficult, and we want to reassure our partners that we are striving to do our part to help our communities through these unprecedented times. We understand that remote learning isn’t possible for everyone right now, but we hope to remain a source of support for schools that are taking on the challenge. Here are a few tips that we hope will help educators as they facilitate remote learning.
Sometimes the most effective solutions are the simplest. Using the plethora of free resources available for educators online is a surefire way to supercharge your digital lesson plans. Sites like Khan Academy, the Smithsonian Learning Lab, Open Culture, and many others offer numerous ways to diversify and round out lessons on art, science, culture, and other subjects.
Giving students assignments that include opportunities to respond to the lesson material — and then respond to their peers’ work — is a helpful way to keep students engaged. For example, consider making a traditional assignment like a book report more fun by asking students to partner up and share book recommendations with each other.
Designing assignments so that they incorporate at-home, hands-on learning is another way educators can help enhance what their students are learning. CommonSense.org offers a number of strategies and resources to help teachers create connections between lesson plans and the real world.
Staying at home doesn’t mean your students can’t explore the vast amount of resources that are housed in museums — the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), for instance, has made a number of valuable resources available for educators and families to use. The museum’s OLogy website offers lessons on a number of different science-related subjects from astronomy to dinosaurs, along with resources specifically for educators. AMNH also offers online courses, and even allows students to visit the museum digitally via its YouTube channel and virtual visit options.
Educators put a great deal of time and energy into their lesson plans and assignments, but they do so much more than just teach — they also provide students with a great deal of emotional support. Teachers have a lot on their plates right now, and it’s important for them to know their own limits regarding their ability to take on additional responsibilities.
We all need to do what we can to take care of ourselves both physically and mentally, which is why sharing resources that help support students’ mental health is key. Providing students and their families with access to the Crisis Text Line, the Trevor Project, the National Alliance on Mental Illness’s COVID-19 information and resources guide, the National Association of School Psychologists’ resources for parents on how to talk to children about COVID-19, and other similar resources can help to assuage students’ anxieties.
The current situation is stressful for everyone, and setting aside time for play and other kinds of interactive activities can help foster a sense of community. Provide a dedicated communication channel, thread, or forum for educators and students to share things they’ve been enjoying during this time. This can also extend to hosting virtual science fairs, poetry readings, art shows, and similar activities that students can enjoy.
As educators contend with modifying lesson plans and adapting to a new teaching environment, the last thing we want you to worry about is your technology. While remote learning relies on your tech running smoothly, districts and educators have enough to adjust to without having to deal with slow connection speeds or resetting their account login information.
If you’re looking for a way to provide more accessible and intuitive IT support to your district, Vinson is here to help. For whatever level of support you’re looking for, we have an offering to match. Our QuantumSpeed IT (QSIT) and Vinson Managed Services offerings can provide professional support as you transition to a remote education model. Our experts work exclusively in the K-12 education space and are dedicated to resolving your IT issues so that you can focus on what really matters — your students.
3 EdTech “Game Changers” That Never Happened
Adopting an Interoperability Standard Doesn’t Guarantee Interoperability
Big Data Rising: The Latest IT Trend Only Reinforces the Importance of Interoperability
How School District Data Falls Through the Cracks — And Why It Matters
Why Securing Your School Data Should Be a Top Priority