If you want to deliver a teaching experience online that’s just as effective as in-person, then you’ll need to find some technology to help you. With so many options out there it can be tough to know which ones are genuinely adding value, and which ones aren’t.
Read on to find out which tools you really need to deliver the ultimate virtual classroom experience.
Online formative assessment
One of the biggest challenges with online learning is that you can’t actually see your students, so it’s difficult to tell when they are engaged and learning, and when they are confused and disengaged.It’s important to find a way to regularly check in with them and give them the opportunity to voice their questions or concerns to you. Using an online formative assessment is a great way to do this, as it means you have the ability to check in the progress of students individually, as well as providing you with a way to share documents, videos and images.
One of the most powerful things about formative assessment is that it allows you to track how your students are progressing over time, which means that you can see where your help is really needed.
Communication with students
Communicating with your students online is incredibly challenging, and it’s important that you choose the communication tool that’s right for you.The online tools that teachers are using most commonly for communication are Zoom, Skype, MS Teams and Google Meet.
Any one of these tools will provide you with what you need, but it’s worth experimenting with them yourself to see which one you prefer and which one gives you the best overall experience.
Some things to remember when working with an online communication platform are:
- Be sure to create a lesson plan and share it with the class prior to the lesson. This will mean that they know what to expect and will help to keep you organized and focused.
- Take the time to explain the online etiquette that you expect from your students. For example, a lot of teachers find it useful to have everyone muted and for students to have to use the ‘raise hand’ function if they wish to speak. You can also make good use of the chat function for students to log their questions as you are talking, which you can then come back to later in the lesson. Have a think about what works best for you, and then be clear about your expectations.
- Always allow your students ample time to make notes if you are presenting.
Communication with parents
A challenge with online teaching is that you have no control over your students’ learning environment. For this reason, it’s essential that you have a method to communicate with parents.
Some of the best apps that facilitate teacher and parent communication are:
Although it’s important to be able to communicate with parents, it’s also important that you don’t allow work to take over your entire life! Be sure to set boundaries with parents, make it clear which hours you are available and which you are not.