Online classes and online education have become household terms. This switch to online learning required restructuring of teaching methods. Teachers who are not quite used to digital teaching methods find it difficult to cope with the changing requirements, despite having all the teaching skills. To make things easier for a digital teacher, we have put together a ready reckoner of sorts.
The current scenario requires educators to strengthen the virtual-learning system. This needs teachers to learn how to use virtual tools and devise new methods of online teaching. Here are a few steps that digital teachers need to follow to excel at online teaching:
Using digital classroom
A digital classroom is one of the best digital platforms that help teachers and students to communicate and share content. Teachers can create engaging content and upload it to the classroom directly. The platform lets guardians access their kids' accounts to check the lesson plans and track progress.
This virtual teaching model prevents the misplacement/loss of study materials provided to students, as every learning material is present online.
Providing personalized instruction to students
It is difficult to meet the learning requirements of all students in an online classroom. So it is important to conduct tests to check the understanding level of students and then conduct special classes to deal with the topics that they find difficult. Differentiation and personalized learning activities can be incorporated across different subjects for better outcomes.
Keeping students engaged
The use of the latest digital modes of learning doesn't assure better engagement of students. Visual aids play a significant role in keeping the students focused. Also, they should not be provided too much information at a time, as they might feel overwhelmed. Short and crisp content with relevant images is best suited according to the shorter attention span of students. So the digital teacher can try to gamify the classroom by using content-rich multimedia and provide digital badges for better performance in the test. This will keep up the interest of the students, unlike in the case of the traditional lectures in physical classrooms.
Using flipped classroom
This is a way of taking students beyond textbooks. The flipped classroom model helps in enhancing in-class activities. This involves delivering short lectures, assignment introductions, and other direct instructions through videos so that students can complete those at home. The online classroom time is reserved for activities that involve critical thinking and working collaboratively in group projects along with one-to-one support. Teachers need to use a good video tool for curating their video tutorials, which students can refer to at home.
Using interesting ways of testing
Conducting regular tests in conventional classrooms and asking students to write essays or design presentations are traditional learning modes. In a virtual classroom, students might not find these activities interesting enough. This necessitates the introduction of new methods, like videos, photo journals, websites, blogs, podcasts, digital comics, and so on. This will encourage students to learn using new tools, be more interested in learning a topic, and express their knowledge creatively.
Creating community for students
For building relationships with students in an online class, it is important to foster a sense of community in them. For this, teachers can begin with an introduction, a first day that involves greeting each other, and a session for the virtual orientation of students.
Accessing the background of students and getting feedback
Just as all teachers are not familiar with the latest virtual teaching modes, students can be unsure about the new learning techniques as well. So it is important to first access their background to see if they are familiar with basic computing skills. These skills include navigation through the web, sending emails, word-processing skills, making PowerPoint presentations, and using keynotes and online collaboration for projects.
After every class, take feedback from students. This will help a teacher understand the gaps and make changes in the teaching techniques for better outcomes.
Involvement of students' families
The academic performance of students is positively influenced when their families are more connected with schools. Thankfully, technology helps in better engagement with tools for conducting digital classroom and showing presentations where parents can get details related to classroom lessons, assignments, etc. This helps in maintaining transparency in a student’s academic life as parents can monitor everything that happens in the virtual class and better understand the progress of their children.
Taking abstract experiences to the next level
Digital teachers can make use of technological advancements to help students understand complex theories. This can be done by taking advantage of virtual reality and augmented reality, both of which can efficiently fill up gaps and provide an immersive experience to students. One such example is Google Expeditions, which can take students virtually to any geographic location and help them learn social studies with less effort. The same applies to other subjects too.
Assigning such tasks that can be completed through interaction with the community. This helps keep the students motivated because they get to share their thoughts and opinions in the community. Also, they can interact with others and explore new ideas while staying connected with them virtually.
The teachers need to assign such tasks to the students and come up with creative solutions. This will make the students research the topic and discuss it with their peers, thereby bringing out their best performance. Group activity, as well as an individual activity, is important to enhance their confidence and presentation skills.
Technological advancements have enabled digital teachers to maintain the continuity of education even during the pandemic. Despite the physical distance barrier, students can easily learn from their teachers while sitting in any corner of the world. Though this may seem difficult initially, with practice, it will become easy and convenient. Apart from the basic teaching skills, some amount of research can help digital teachers come up with interesting modes of imparting knowledge.