Remote/Digital Learning · UDL in Practice · Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

Advice on Transitioning to Teaching in a Virtual/Digital Age

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!

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“Shuttered” playground equipment at McKay School, Fitchburg MA

 

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:

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. having access to an interactive platform, like Zoom

Above all else, “training, training, training”!!!

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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.

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