This time last year, teachers up and down the country were looking forward to the second half of the school year after a restful festive season. Little did they know that their approach to teaching would have to change drastically towards working remotely.
It’s been a steep learning curve for teachers and students alike, with many struggling to adjust to our current COVID normal. But have we learnt anything about how best to teach remotely?
After nearly 12 months of the coronavirus pandemic, there’s little help for teachers wanting to implement the best remote experience possible. So with this in mind, here’s some key takeaways from the pieces of research that do exist on Google Scholar.
- Digital competency should be an embedded part of your curriculum delivery, not just an afterthought or knee-jerk reaction to COVID-19.
- Learning digital skills should be part of the teaching and learning process for all subjects with “design courses and programs that support the mental health and wellbeing of students” (Day et al, 2020).
- When it comes to schemes of work, don’t just publish them online. Think how you can structure a face-to-face curriculum to teaching it exclusively online.
- Make time to reteach the aspects of the curriculum that your students are struggling to master, which includes helping to reduce cognitive load.
- Design resources that help embed and reinforce learning. For example, if you want to follow research on retrieval practice, you must reteach material rather than ask pupils to complete something which is new.
ICT Leadership and Training
- Online learning must be planned with instructional technology considered E.g. Google Classroom. And bear in mind whether the pupil’s equipment and internet connection can cope with the workload you’ve assigned.
- Teachers need to know how to promote a positive online environment for learning, which includes the knowledge for things like switching videos and microphones off to manage pupil behaviour.
- Teachers must manage time and resources efficiently in the online classroom to maximise productivity. Don’t forget that too much screen time leads to cognitive load.
- Consider the learning via “blended discussions and also elucidate on the integration of online discussion” (Adedoyin and Soykan, 2020).
- Use analytics to discover what works and what doesn’t work. One example is email open rates for newsletters to parents. “Use the pandemic as a learning focus” (Day et al, 2020).
Teaching and Learning
- Pupils must be motivated to acquire digital competency, avoiding ‘Google searches’ and ‘copy and paste’ plagiarism.
- “Identify new ways of building student engagement” (Day et al, 2020). There are several online collaboration tools that can help achieve this.
- Teachers must build a strong repertoire of questioning strategies. After all, it is not the number of questions you ask, it is the type of questions you pose.
- Focus on feedback which is manageable for the teacher, meaningful for the pupil and motivates them to take action.
- Invest in a visualiser, as this can help you set rules, explain concepts and establish facts with the greatest of ease.