Gavin McCormack sent me the following about what we as educators need to be aware of when delivering online lessons:
1. Make sure that children know their ‘virtual timetable’ even have a morning roll call. Children need routine and so do you. Make sure. Mum and dad are also aware of the routine.
2. Make your instructions short and clear. Imagine that mum will not be there to assist the child understand. If written instructions are too hard, can you make a short video or use a video that already exists on you tube to do the job for you.
3. Are you using a variety of mediums? Video, written text, music, imagination and investigation as your stimulus? Remember when you ask the children to use their imagination in an assignment, the workload for you is minimal and the work will be differentiated by outcome so everyone wins.
4. Make sure that each lesson involves an essential skill. Facts are great but try to include communication, research, empathy or understanding into each lesson. You must inform the children what your learning intention is. Let them know what accomplishment looks like.
5. Are you regular and ordered? Children love know what’s coming. If you’re going to read a story each day at 12pm, make sure you stick to it because they’ll be counting on you.
6. Return and mark all submitted work. Children need you to acknowledge their efforts. All work should be returned in a timely fashion and comments must be valuable and reflective.
7. Deliver your lessons in a variety of ways:
– written assignments are great (be explicit).
– Zoom lessons work well (Make them short and in small differentiated groups).
– Open ended projects can be amazing (set a clear deadline, allow the children to present their work back to the group and give children the rubric beforehand).
– Worksheets are only good as an extension activity. (Nobody likes them, try to avoid if possible although ver difficult in mathematics.)
– Investigations are the best possible solution. They’re differentiated by outcome, but they must include critical thinking questions. (How does this affect me? What can I do about this? What is my plan ahead? Who will it help? What do I need to do to succeed?)
– Quizzes work well as a summative round up to a subject. (Don’t make them too hard.)
8. Are you guiding the parents through the online learning experience? Giving families a voice allows you to see what’s happening at home. This will enable you to tailor the delivery to match your particular demographic.
9. Are you setting up systems so that collaboration can take place? Even though the children are physically far apart, zoom, hangouts and FaceTime allow our students to connect virtually and work on projects together. The security and safety of togetherness can still be established if we set up small virtual teams online.
10. Are you following the curriculum? Yes, it may be E-learning but this is still school. Children need to be progressing. It’s not going to be as good as having you in front of them but there’s still a curriculum to follow. Don’t stray too far from what you already had planned.
11. How are you going to assess your students? Assessment of your outcomes is mandatory. You must know if they’ve achieved your desired outcomes. A wonderful way to do this is through a 1 – 1 video conferencing. (Make sure you’re not visually alone in the room with them) but a good 20 minute zoom meeting will give you everything you need to know about how the learning has been. But also, how was your online teach? Maybe there’s a couple of things you as the teacher to need to reflect upon.