Remote teaching creates huge opportunities for effective learning and collaboration outside the classroom. It is important to keep the following in mind before you explore the various online tools available:
- The focus should be on pedagogy and learning, rather than technology.
- All the tools still require the skill, experience and expertise of a teacher.
- They may involve approaches and techniques that you would not normally use.
- The tools you choose should be in line with any school eSafety policy.
Interaction and engagement
With remote learning there are real concerns about loneliness, welfare and lack of interaction. It is important to find a way of keeping everyone in contact. You could do this by running a discussion forum or chat group. If your school has a learning platform or learning management tool you could use this. It does not matter what the platform is – the impact is in how you use it.
Look for ways to establish routines that allow everyone to get organised and be engaged. Remember to motivate learners. Written feedback can sometimes come across as harsher criticism than spoken feedback, so are there ways to use video tools instead? How can learners overcome potential issues in responding? And how can you make sure nobody feels isolated online?
Individual and collaborative work
One of the most effective ways to support remote teaching and learning is to give every learner an opportunity to deliver a topic area. For example, you could divide up the current areas of study and ask learners to teach the rest of the class. This may be as individuals or in small groups. You could ask learners to hold a seminar and include online tools to engage their audience. They might, for example, deliver a short, interactive presentation covering key information and then follow that up with an online challenge to gather feedback and assess understanding.
There are different ways of approaching this. A class could meet online one day, share their challenges and then agree to meet a few days later to explore their findings. The role of the teacher is key to establish and drive the learning expectations. However, there is a huge opportunity to open up the work further to the learners themselves.
No specific hardware or software is required beyond an internet connection. Standard office software tools are particularly effective to collate ideas online and develop collaborative responses. Here learners will develop skills for their future working life at the same time as completing their school work.
Below we list some of the online tools available for different teaching and learning purposes. Take advantage of the opportunities for creative solutions. Do not let a lack of familiarity with the tools or approaches be a barrier to trying something new – have the confidence to try them out. Also, stretch your learners and ask for their suggestions and ideas. And finally, keep classes talking, sharing and collaborating.
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