In this video, Katherine Preston explains how educators can use video tools to improve online instruction.
How To Improve Online Teaching And Learning In The Classroom
While bringing about radical changes in many areas of our lives, teaching and learning has remained relatively stagnant. The same old methods that were used in school decades ago work just as well as they did at the turn of the century. The current shortcomings in the online classroom and learning are not necessarily down to teachers or leaders, but rather the fact that the generation of kids coming into their senior years doesn’t seem to have made the leap to the digital age. Schools have begun investing in digital resources, especially for social studies, as part of the effort to keep their kids busy as they’re going through their junior and senior years.
Once a school begins implementing online learning, expectations need to be carefully orchestrated in order to set the pace of instruction and create a learning environment in which every child is engaged. I’ll be discussing how schools can improve online teaching and learning in the classroom in a short blog post below, but first, it’s important to note what the current online classroom looks like and why so many teachers feel burnt out, sometimes as a result of their employees feeling overworked and undervalued. It boils down to a few basic elements.
The Virtual Classroom
Expectations are largely set on the students themselves—most of the tasks students accomplish in the virtual classroom come from them, whether through online games or projects like Project Lego. Most of the assignments are standards-based, meaning that the knowledge and skills students must learn along the way are based on these standards. The online classroom also has its fair share of employees of all ages, even those who are only in high school and many of them are merely there as part of a school committee.
Older students in school with potential future careers don’t necessarily want to spend so much time outside of school in the virtual classroom. They prefer to become an online citizen and try out what it’s like to communicate with people who live in other locations around the world. The expectation is that they will be able to do this with ease and without much of a learning curve, especially because they’ve already experienced using online tools to do “real world” things like interacting with political candidates and reporters during elections and petitions. Teens who are left out of this online learning atmosphere tend to feel isolated and less interested. The goal of these online classrooms is to make students interested and willing to learn more about education in other locations and, importantly, more enthusiastic about learning.
The Little Things
Online education in the virtual classroom is supposed to be kept lightweight and bite-sized. I know of teachers who have kids do no more than 2 or 3 minutes worth of work a week. It helps those students get more done at once and on a shorter schedule. This lets them respond to extra study requests from others quicker because there’s less interruptions happening at once. It also doesn’t negatively impact the engagement of the students involved in the class. They receive high praise when they do not complete an assignment online, so praise goes both ways. The majority of the students who complete tasks online are expected to complete the work themselves. That way, the teachers don’t have to spend too much time supervising them and helping them get through a project. However, kids who are on a level of learning that needs some extra help still need to be supervised. This is where virtual learning can be really useful in this kind of setting.
The future of online teaching and learning looks to be even more streamlined and efficient than the present model. Education workers and administration officials, educators in particular, will need to continue to be aware of the needs of their students so that they can remain engaged. And, as always, teachers and administrators must have their eyes open to the possibilities that the digital classroom and learning have to offer.