Very, very few of us teach in a virtual-only or digital-only setting; it’s the exception, not the norm.
Or, I should say, it used to be the exception!
I have had the amazing good fortune to work with teachers and some administrative staff at the Greenfield Virtual Commonwealth School (GCVS) this school year. When it became clear that digital/virtual/distance learning is about to become our new norm, at least for some time, I reached out to this community for their thoughts about how to make this transition successful. Enjoy their wisdom and thank you to them all for sharing!
From Bob Kumin:
To make digital/virtual learning successful, you need three things:
- access and equity, including access to the teacher (via computer, phone, etc.); GCVS uses the program RingCentral, a VIOP, that allows calls made to the central phone number be routed to individual teachers; GCVS also provides one-to-one support through take-home ChromeBooks assigned to individual students
- having a functional file transfer system, a way to create and push out documents to students, either the Learning Management System or Google Classroom or another such program
- having access to an interactive platform, like Zoom
Above all else, “training, training, training”!!!
From Susan Powers and friends:
Thank you for this opportunity. Here is a list some of us gathered to help our brick and mortar friends-
Share a calendar with students for invites, timelines for assignments etc.
Set up an example schedule for students to follow and create their own
Have students create a designated work space
Start by listing your resources in terms of how you can connect with families.
Establish a routine; the structure will provide predictability for students
When on camera- consider what is in the background and lighting- it does affect student’s focus
Think about available tools and how you can use them to engage students in class. Engagement is key virtually just like it is in a live classroom setting.
Be patient with yourself and your students and families, you are in this together! Remember, these are teachable moments.
From Mary Beth Berrien:
Also, be human in your virtual setting. What I mean by that is, don’t be in a sterile environment, be real and authentic. I have my pup Trixie say hi sometimes during class. Let your students see that you are human too.