Tips for Online Teaching

Practically Tested 10 Tips on Online Teaching

No matter how long you’ve been standing in front of a classroom, teaching online can be a daunting task.Online classes can feel quite different from in-person classes, and you may not be able to do all the same things online that you did face-to-face. But that’s not to say you can’t create the same type of inclusive, quality learning environment for your students.With the right tools, some creativity and a healthy dose of patience, you can master the move online. To help you make the transition as seamless as possible, we asked current online instructors for their best advice. So, here are ten practical tips to get you started:

1) Be Specific – Very Specific

When communicating online you can never be too clear. If you want to save yourself a lot of time and headache, make sure you clearly define all class expectations up front. That means more than simply posting a syllabus or grading rubric. Instead try sharing real life examples of what to do and what not to do whenever possible.

2) Clarify Tone and Communication Styles

This may seem like a no-brainer but because you’re not face-to-face it’s worth repeating. Students tend to be more informal when communicating online—thanks to online messaging and social media—so it’s never a bad idea to set some classroom communication guidelines from the start.

3) Continuously Encourage Engagement

Keeping your students actively engaged in an online setting is a constant challenge. Hiding behind screens it’s easy for students to check out or do the bare minimum, so you’ll have to work at keeping the conversation going. Try requiring minimum response lengths for assignments and posing open-ended questions.

4) More Is Not Always Better

When creating online courses, we tend to get into the mindset of more is better. More links, more buttons, more apps. But too many additional resources and tools can be distracting and overwhelming for your students. So, don’t feel the need to try and overcompensate for the lack of in-person instruction with bells and whistles; instead, stick with a few trusted resources.

5) Be Responsive—but Set Limits

It’s important to keep in mind that students are accustomed to instant feedback. But you’re not face-to-face and an email is not a text message. Just because you’re online, it doesn’t mean that you’re accessible 24/7. Communicate with your students when you are and when you are not available, as well as when they can expect a reply, so everyone is on the same page.

6) Establish a Routine

Teaching online comes with a level of uncertainty and stress. To help save your inbox from a flood of weekly questions, it’s best to create a basic class structure from week to week for consistency. When students know they can expect and plan for certain types of activities or assignments, they’ll feel more at ease.

7) Create a Separate Space for Your Students

Online classes mean your students are missing out on social interactions with their peers. The conversations and discussions they would normally have before and after class are still important so try creating a separate online forum just for them to make introductions, socialize and bounce ideas around.

8) Don’t Forget the Value of Group Assignments

Just because it’s online doesn’t mean you have to ditch the group work. Not only are group assignments a good excuse for some additional peer interaction and engagement but they allow your students to showcase their different strengths and interests. To keep online group work manageable, try breaking projects up into multiple steps with smaller assignments.

9) Add a Personal Touch

When you’re staring at a screen and uploading assignments, it’s easy to feel like you’re being taught by a computer rather than a person – and that impersonal feeling is not very conducive for learning. You can help your students feel more connected by injecting some personal touches. Post a picture of yourself or a fun introductory video, anything to remind them that you are indeed a human.

10) Practice Empathy and Compassion

With online teaching there are things that will inevitably go wrong. There will be technical issues, miscommunications and activities that don’t go as planned. Try and assume the best of intentions and remember that we’re all dealing with this new normal together.

DIY - how to create assignments in Google Classroom?

How to Create Assignments and Quizzes in Google Classroom?

Do iT Yourself Guide on how to create assignments in Google Classroom?

Keeping your students engaged and learning at home is important to make sure they don’t fall behind. Also, it’s important that your students are familiar with this platform before creating your first assignment. We recommend setting aside time for a class tutorial on Google Classroom before diving in head first. 

How to Create an Assignment

To create an assignment in Google Classroom, follow the steps below:

  1. Navigate to your Google Classroom. 
  2. Choose the particular class you’ll be assigning this work to. Then click “Classwork”.
  3. At the top of the page, you’ll see a button labeled “Create”. Click “Create”. 
  4. A drop-down menu will appear. Choose “Assignment”. 

From here, you will be able to easily create coursework for your entire class. On this page, you can give your assignment a title and include details that explain how to successfully complete it. You can also easily add attachments (like rubrics, visual aids, and helpful examples) from your Google Drive or desktop that could be helpful to your class. 

Additionally, teachers have the option to post a new assignment to more than one class. To do this, choose “Class” in the upper right-hand corner, and a drop-down menu will appear displaying all of your available classes.

Teachers can also choose to assign tasks only to certain students. Select “All Students”, and a drop-down menu will appear that will allow you to: assign to all students, assign to certain small groups, or assign only to select students. 

Next, before submitting this assignment to your class, add a grade category and choose a point value. To choose a grade category, simply choose either “Test”, “Quiz”, or “Homework” from the grade category drop-down menu. For this example, we chose “Homework”. 

To give your assignment a point value, simply enter a new value in the “Points” drop-down menu on the right hand side of your assignment screen. Please note that all assignments will be set to 100 points by default, so be sure to double check this portion before submitting. 

Finally, teachers should assign a due date for students before giving coursework over to them. In Google Classroom, no assignment will have a due date by default; you must add this. Giving a due date to your assignment is easy: just click the drop-down menu under “Due” in the right hand side of your screen. From here, you can choose a date and time from the calendar that will appear. If students do not turn in their assignment before your chosen date and time, it will automatically be marked “Missing” in your Google Classroom. 

How to Create a Quiz

Creating a quiz in Google Classroom is similar to creating an assignment. Quizzes utilize Google Forms, which makes navigating digital quizzes easy for students. To create a quiz in Google Classroom, follow the steps below:

  1. Navigate to your Google Classroom. 
  2. Choose the particular class you’ll be assigning this work to. Then click “Classwork”.
  3. At the top of the page, you’ll see a button labeled “Create”. Click “Create”. 
  4. A drop-down menu will appear. Choose “Quiz assignment”. 

Once you’ve followed our steps above, you can enter the necessary information for completing this quiz. We also recommend turning on “Lock Mode” so that your students are unable to open additional web pages while taking a quiz. To do this, simply move the toggle labeled “Locked Mode on Chromebooks” to the “On” position. Additionally, you can automatically import your quiz grades to your grade books by moving the toggle labeled “Grade Importing” to the “On” position. 

Teachers can also modify the class or students this quiz is assigned to, the total point value, and due date by following the same steps above for homework assignments. 

Educating the students of the world has its challenges, but teachers now face new unknowns teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have more questions about navigating Google Classroom, check out the Google Classroom Help Center for more information.For additional classroom management resources for teachers, head to our teacher training resources page to learn all about what we’re doing to help our educators and young learners navigate their distance learning programs.

Active learning strategies for teachersa

The Next Big Thing in Student Engagement

As a teacher, one of your biggest challenges is to plan lessons that inspire your students to stay actively involved in the learning process.But you’ve probably noticed that traditional, teacher-centered learning plans aren’t always conducive to achieving that inspiration.That’s where active learning strategies come into play. You can use them to empower, engage, and stimulate a classroom by putting students at the center of the learning process.Get inspired by the below mentioned strategies that will help students talk more openly, think more creatively and ultimately become more engaged in the process of learning.

Reciprocal questioning

Use reciprocal questioning to encourage an open dialogue in which students take on the role of the teacher and create their own questions about a topic, reading section, or lesson.

active-learning-research

After covering a topic of your choice in class — or after assigning a reading selection — divide the class into pairs or small groups and have students come up with a few questions for discussion with the rest of the class. To facilitate the process, you can provide students with “question stems,” which provide a foundation for a question but still require students to think critically about a lesson, text, or other section of material by completing the query. Consider the examples below.

Comprehension Question StemsConnector Question Stems
Describe x in your own words. What does y mean? Why is z important? How could x be used to y?Explain how x and why z. In what ways are x and y similar? In what ways are x and y different? How does x tie in with that we learned before?

Use these questions to anchor and explore concepts in course material, helping students investigate a range of new topics and points of view associated with your lesson.

Reciprocal questioning can be particularly useful when:

  • Preparing for tests or exams
  • Introducing a new topic or section of course content
  • Discussing reading or writing materials in greater detail

The pause procedure

Use the pause procedure to intersperse strategic pauses into your Online class lectures and enhance student understanding of teaching materials.

To use the pause procedure, arrange for pauses of two to three minutes between every 10 to 15 minutes of online lecture time.  During these brief breaks, encourage students to discuss or rework their notes in pairs to clarify key points covered, raise questions, and solve problems posed by the instructor.Alternatively, students can work together to write a paragraph that connects or highlights key ideas set out in their partner’s notes. Research on this topic, concluded that breaking a lecture into brief pauses can increase student attention and learning outcomes. The pause procedure, the study determined, is “a good active learning strategy which helps students review their notes, reflect on them, discuss and explain the key ideas with their partners.”The use of the pause procedure involves a minimal amount of extra time, but can confer significant benefits in comparison to lectures that continue without breaks.

To help teachers achieve this strategy, we are offering myviewboard virtual classroom teaching learning software for free during this pandemic. You may choose to apply for your Institution by clicking this link.

Game-based learning platforms

Game-based learning platforms add depth and differentiation to the educational process and allow students to work with their instructors to achieve their learning objectives.

Regardless of your audience or subject matter, the gamification of learning can help you to create exciting, educational, and entertaining content in your Online Classrooms. It’s not meant to turn work into a game, but it does play on the psychology that drives human engagement.

Take yourself back to the days when you “played out” in the street with childhood friends. Each game you played presented a challenge but you were driven by the promise of reward and perhaps a little gentle fear. The reward meant everything to you and in spite of the challenge and fear, you felt compelled to win.

Gamification in e-learning offers the opportunity for learners to engage with content in an effective, informal learning environment. If learners get excited about learning, they are more likely to retain information. Some of the tools that you may want to incorporate into your classrooms are listed below.

To learn more about Active learning strategies, do write to our Education Consultants at training@c3itxperts.com or Click here to connect with you at your convenience.

Engaged Learning Tips for Teachers

Teachings Tips for an Engaged Learning Environment

Engaged learning, tips for teachers on how to arouse students curiosity

As we move towards student-focused and process-based approaches to teaching, we give our students ownership of their own learning. During our efforts to shift our focus from teaching to learning, it’s important to think about how we’re designing opportunities for students to develop skills and achieve specific goals. Consider this quote from Albert Einstein:

“I never teach my pupils. I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.”

What are the “conditions” that will foster learning in our classrooms? While teachers don’t have control over all the conditions that will impact students, they do have tremendous influence over things like the use of classroom space, allotted time for each activity, and the materials they use. Less obvious, but extremely important to the quality of the learning environment, is the way in which the teacher and students relate to one another.

There should be one critical goal behind figuring out how all these factors come together in your classroom: stimulating curiosity in your students.

Curiosity can be characterized as a heightened state of interest and eagerness to learn that results in excitement and exploration. Studies show that curiosity is essential to learning, and that people learn more and better when they are curious.

Promote a spirit of inquiry in the classroom where every student can follow their curiosities:

The next consideration should be that each question is acknowledged. Not every student is eager to raise his or her hand in the classroom. Children who are more reserved, or need more time to ponder, benefit from alternative ways to communicate what they are thinking.

I can remember an example of this type of situation from my own childhood. I was in seventh grade during a whole-class lesson about the respiratory system, and, at the end, the teacher asked if anyone had any questions. I remember that I wanted to know what causes hiccups. But by the time I had formed this thought, there was no more time for questions, and I was not able to ask the teacher. How funny that this missed opportunity stuck with me all these years.

As I think back now, as an Education Consultant, what if the teacher had allotted time at the end of the period for every student to write on a piece of paper something interesting that was learned in class, and something they were still curious about? If this happened today, it would be referred to as an exit ticket, which is now considered an excellent assessment tool.

Today, the teacher could have a Google Form for each student to fill out, or a digital space online, such as on Padlet or Google Classroom, to post to. 

Technology also offers a vehicle for student discovery when students have the chance to research questions on their own. 

Student-driven, inquiry-based learning takes place in a classroom environment where students are encouraged to not only develop their own questions, but also be able to lead their own investigations.

Build anticipation for what’s to come:

Part of the joy of being an educator is stimulating an excitement for learning in young people. When students look forward to activities in the classroom, and find pleasure in learning experiences, our work is supremely rewarding! Many teachers incorporate “hooks,” such as compelling video clips, thought-provoking statements, and other surprising and novel ways to captivate their students.

Teachers can also use technology to arouse student curiosity about an upcoming study or project. Teachers can send intriguing clues, fascinating facts, and links to webpages and videos that help to build interest in upcoming class activities.

How do you arouse your students’ curiosities and provide opportunities for them to question, explore, discover and create their own pathways for learning? Share your thoughts at training@c3itxperts.com 

To Learn more about inquiry based learning connect with Ed Tech Consultants on this Link.  

5 steps to engage your students effectively

5 Steps to engage your Students more effectively.

5 steps to engage your students more effectively

We can design learning experiences that offer all students, shy or outgoing, more opportunities to be engaged and curious in the classroom and take control of their learning. Below are five strategies that encourage inquiry-based learning and provide ways for all students to be actively involved in the classroom and throughout a unit of study.

1. Start with What Students Know

When starting a new unit, ask students to think about the topic or refer them to a reference link about the upcoming lesson and have them share what they already know  or their understanding from the shared reference materials. This method encourages students to think more & wider about the lesson topic. Their ideas will lead them to ask questions and become curious about how their co-learners have different views on the lesson topic. This approach puts students in the center of the learning and offers opportunities for every child to feel included. Studies show that people learn better when they’re curious, so use student questions to guide lessons—start where the students show interest and then lead them into the new content.

2. Stop being the expert

Once a question is asked, there are three paths a teacher can take:

1. Ignore the question or tell the student now is not the time.

2. Answer the question as best as you can and keep going with your lesson.

3. Say “I don’t know, but that’s a great question… how can we find out?”

It’s okay not to know the answer! In fact, that can lead to richer, more in-depth and more interesting discussions. When you are not sure of the answer, use it as an opportunity to model curiosity.

Tell your student, you are not sure of the answer and ask for suggestions of how we can find out! They might come up with reading books, watching videos online, using Google, or conducting an experiment to figure out the answer!

Think how much more powerful and lasting this learning will be when the students take ownership, and when the whole class is actively engaged in building the knowledge together!

3. Turn a lesson into a project (or project-based learning opportunity)

Often, we feel that every lesson we do has to have a ‘point’ or something concrete that the children created or learned or accomplished. We want to be able to say, ‘Here is what I taught them today. Here is something we can show the parents. Here is a lesson I can check off the list.’

The truth is, real learning takes time, and experiences that gradually build on each other over time can create investment, interest, and understanding that is impossible to create in a one-day lesson.

Creating a whole project might sound intimidating at first, but teachers actually find that a project-based mindset takes a lot of pressure off, gives them room to explore children’s interests and use their questions as springboards for exploration while still meeting your requirements and objectives.

Let’s say As a Teacher, you would like to discuss Vegetables and you want to talk about Pumpkin. One lesson on pumpkins can become a week-long of science and math activities where children explore the pumpkins first, cut them open and observe the insides, compare them to other fruits and vegetables, measure their size, circumference and weight, and then generate some questions that lead to an ongoing experiment.

What else do we want to know about pumpkins? Maybe one child wants to know what happens if we leave it out – will it rot? How long will it take? Another might wonder how a pumpkin becomes pumpkin pie. A third might ask about where, or how, pumpkins grow.

As the teacher, you can then take that curiosity and pick a question to investigate, teach children how to find answers using books or technology, and, most importantly, show them that their questions can lead to experiments and explorations and new knowledge!

4. Have a (good) plan for questions

Step 1 is to create a classroom environment where great questions are welcomed. However, if we allow every question to lead to a new discussion or investigation at that moment, we will never finish any lesson we start.

This is why it’s important to have a question action plan or a system in your classroom for how questions are handled. Depending on when the question is asked, answering it or starting a conversation might work just fine.

However, what about questions that are on topic, but would take longer to answer fully? How about questions that would take the lesson too far off course to be addressed at the moment? To empower children and send the message that questions are important, we want to think about where these questions fit in, when they are answered, and by whom.

In an inquiry-driven classroom, questions drive the learning, and students drive the questions.

5. Create a “Question Wall.”

One way to accomplish this is to help students create a space, where they can put their questions without any hesitation.

A Question Wall is a great space to “park” questions, but it is only great if children know that there is a set time and procedure for when those questions will be reviewed. Perhaps you pick 1-2 questions to answer during the morning circle.

Perhaps you review them yourself during independent work time and then raffle off who gets to find the answer of the computer.  

Create a consistent system that works for you and your classroom, and make it a regular part of the routine so that questions are a vehicle for, not a distraction from, learning.

To learn more on effective methodologies on Online Teaching & Learning click here to speak with our Certified Educators.