How can teachers make sure that learners are engaged in a digital classroom?
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent social distancing norms, teachers around the world are blending offline teaching practices with technology tools to create the best online learning experience for learners. Many components of online teaching will continue to stay even when teachers and students go back to regular classrooms. So, it is practical to hone teachers' online teaching skills. While most teachers have learnt how to use video conferencing-based classroom technology, many still find it difficult to manage the online experience for the learners. Here's a sneak peek into how teachers can take online teaching experience to the next level:
Start with the objective: Just like offline classes, one must first define learning objectives and structure them according to easily achievable and difficult to achieve, using the tools available. The objectives can further be divided into the must do-s, the should do-s and the could do-s along with the technology tools needed to execute them.
Define learner experience: Right from the explanation to asking learners to watch an online video to conducting a quiz or even dividing them into discussion groups, every experience should be pre-imagined and pre-defined. Visualise how you want it to go and then decide what resources would you need for it.
Set classroom rules: Learners must be told and trained on how to participate and let others participate. Rules should be communicated in different ways and be regularly reinforced.
Plan for learner safety: Online learning has made learners more vulnerable to direct and indirect hack attacks, which might lead to physical, mental or emotional distress and impact learners' ability to learn and participate. Imagine the helplessness of a learner being bullied or emotionally blackmailed by someone they don't know, or someone familiar but hidden. Share online safety tips with students and parents regularly, and check if they have received and understood them.
Plan assessments: There are a variety of free online tools available to plan pre-class, in-class and post-class assessments. These must be used carefully as every assessment creates an impact on learners' self-image and inclination to learn. If an assessment is too easy, it might send the wrong message about their learning ability and cause over-confidence, and if an assessment is too difficult, it might cause disinterest towards learning and online classes.
Provide feedback: Giving regular feedback to learners is much more important in online learning. A physical classroom creates multiple opportunities for one-to-one interaction and feedback, which is missed in online classrooms. One must give both direct and recorded (written or video-based) feedback to every learner and, if possible, also to parents. The feedback brings continuity to the learning experience and keeps learners engaged.
The writer is Founder, Suraasa, and a cognitive scientist working on international teacher skills and occupational standards.
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Source: The Hindu
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