We are blessed to live in a world where, in a crisis like the one we are all currently experiencing, we can move most of our day-to-day activities online. With this move to digital we are seeing meetings, social plans and dates going online, and learning is no exception.
Teaching online is hard. There's no question about it. You have to be able to adapt to an entirely different model of teaching and utilise an entirely new skillset to do so. Gone are the mid-lesson tangents, conversations and utilising person-to-person stimulus. Now, everything must be meticulously planned to be as engaging as possible so as to not lose the student's attention.
Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, Discord, FaceTime... as long as you have the ability to video and audio stream both parties, the platform you choose shouldn't be a problem. However, selecting a platform with the ability to share screens, annotate on content, live chatting and uploading external media takes a lesson to a whole new level.
Get. Creative. Prep yourself and your students well (i.e. send them links to any resource you may be referring to, make a lesson plan for yourself with all of your resources in an easily accessible format) and make sure you have extra work for them. You'd be surprised how much work can actually be done in any session when the student is locked to a screen and forced into concentration. You may find yourself running out of work sooner than expected. So, keep lots of resources on hand, mix up the medium and include as many interactive activities as you can.
Make sure you are in a quiet room with no background distractions. Ensure both your audio and video are clear for your viewer. It can also be good to encourage students to mute themselves unless they wish to add something to the conversation to eliminate background noise. Don't forget that students like to read lips, so make sure your face is centred and well-lit.
Now more than ever, feedback is paramount. Get your students to utilise the chat functions and give them reminders to give you feedback at certain intervals.
In most cases, students are used to doing pretty much all of their communication and work online. This is where they navigate themselves to in their free time, so this world is familiar for them. Ask them questions, get their feedback and be flexible to adapt to whatever methods they need in order to learn.
The more you teach online, the easier it will get! Be patient with yourself and your students as you learn this new way of education, and
remember we are all in this together.
Education online can be difficult for any learner. If you are in need of assistance, contact www.fsedu.com.au where we can provide individualised, one-on-one education via face-to-face or online sessions that can boost your student's learning in this difficult time.
Written by Ben Maher - Founder and Director of Education at Full Spectrum Education