If you are an educator, you are probably all too aware of the tremendous transformations that have taken place in the efforts to provide students of all ages with a high-quality education. Now more than ever, teaching has become intertwined with technology and teachers are under pressure to adapt to the “new norm” of online learning.
These drastic changes in how teachers educate students of all levels are primarily forced by pandemic-related concerns.
In fact, the pandemic pushed universities to make the shift from in-class to online learning. Colleges aren’t the only institutions switching to the internet to provide students with proper education. A recent poll published by the Associated Press indicated that almost 60% of students in all pre-college grade levels are attending school classes exclusively online with an additional 18% receiving a mix of in-person and online instruction.
How Teachers Can Get Onboard With Online Teaching
While there are many things students and parents love about virtual learning, the transition for teachers has been a tough one. This is especially true with educators who are not familiar with technological solutions and advanced teaching platforms such as Google Classroom or Zoom.
Furthermore, the switch from creating conventional curriculums for in-class teaching has now changed due to the ever-growing need for virtual curriculums which should be accessible by students online. These and many other complex issues can present major challenges for teachers in their plight to educate students. That said, here are a few ways teachers can adapt and improve in the brave new world of online learning.
Utilize Technology to Track Progress
One of the biggest complaints from online educators is the challenges of gauging student progress. It’s true that a student’s grades are an obvious indication that they are excelling or struggling in class. However, without that in-person teaching experience, many signs of student progress go undetected. That’s why teachers should utilize technology by monitoring student progress with software that helps instructors get a clear idea about any student’s learning status.
Make Lessons Accessible
Not every student’s access to computers or consistent internet service is the same. That means some students may only have intermittent internet, or they may be attending classes through their phones or tablets. With this in mind, teachers should make lessons mobile-friendly and accessible on an array of devices. Furthermore, teachers should store a downloadable version of lessons on platforms such as Google Docs that are easily accessible when students do have access to the internet.
Communicate With Parents
Taking a collaborative approach with parents and their children was essential long before the pandemic forced educators into online teaching. However, virtual learning poses a slew of problems for students, especially young ones. That is why it is crucial for instructors to open up honest communication with parents about their children’s academic progress while they are attending online classes.
Make Classes Engaging
One of the advantages of teaching online is that the digital age makes it easy to present engaging classes and lessons. For instance, teachers can implement videos, graphic design, flowcharts, gifs, music and so much more. There are endless options for digital mixed media that can be incorporated into lesson plans. Additionally, teachers can utilize fun games and quizzes throughout their online classes which tend to make learning more engaging for virtual students.
Another benefit of online learning is that cross-chatter in the classroom is not an issue. While that might make for fewer distractions during a class, it can also stifle an organic exchange of ideas within a virtual classroom. With this in mind, teachers should plan their classes with distinct pauses within which students are encouraged to contribute. When students have the opportunity to virtually raise their hand, ask questions and add their opinions about lessons, this makes for a more well-rounded and useful learning experience.
Invest in Self-Improvement
As mentioned, some educators struggle to successfully make the switch from in-person instruction to online teaching. Very often, this is due to the lack of knowledge when it comes to technology and online teaching tools. Therefore, it’s important for teachers to continue their own education by attending online training. The internet is home to a wealth of masterclasses, YouTube tips, and online tutorials that can help any educator improve their teaching strategies.
Lastly, teachers need to occasionally take time out for themselves. Educators have some of the most thankless jobs on the planet. They spend endless hours carving out curriculums, are often deeply concerned for their students, and frequently put in their personal time to help students achieve their academic goals. In light of all of this, it’s integral for teachers to take quality time for themselves. Taking a break away from teaching is a necessity for any teacher’s wellbeing and sanity.