Teaching Online During the Coronavirus Pandemic

The Coronavirus Pandemic and Teaching Online

The COVID-19 outbreak has been a real game-changer in the way educators teach their students. As brick-and-mortar schools announce they are closing, and it is uncertain when they will reopen, it is necessary to explore new methodologies for education.

Don't worry! Study.com is an online learning platform that has a wealth of outstanding resources available at your fingertips. You can:

  • Watch thousands of 3-10 minute videos that are designed to be informative and fun to watch.
  • Take short five-question quizzes to test your newfound knowledge.
  • Discover countless activities, discussion questions, and project ideas to keep your students' wandering minds occupied during the coronavirus outbreak.

Introductory Videos

Do you know how some teachers begin the first day of school by introducing themselves, and then going around the class and having each student do the same? Well, you can do that with your online teaching, too, only they won't be real-time introductions. First, post a video of yourself (about one to two minutes) for your students to view. At the conclusion of the video, ask your students to do the same, and instruct them to all watch each other's video. This is a great icebreaker to reduce tension and get everybody involved in the process.

Visual Aids

Second, you are going to want to create some 'eye appeal' for your online courses. One of the major complaints that students have about online classes is they aren't pleasing to the human eye. How can you add some 'pop' to your virtual instruction? You can add visual aids such as charts, graphs, and pictures. Don't be afraid to add some extra bright colors that you wouldn't normally use in your class, to make things really stand out to your students.

Graphic Organizers

Okay, you've got the introductions out of the way, and you've captured your students' attention. What's third on your list? One major frustration experienced by online teachers is organization. In the classroom, everything they need is in their desk and office in concrete form. However, they often feel lost and confused in an ambiguous virtual setting. That's where graphic organizers come into play. Among other things, they offer:

  • Choice boards
  • Concept maps
  • Galleries
  • Idea webs
  • Self-assessments
  • Sequence charts
  • Timelines
  • Venn diagrams

Socratic Method

Now that you've organized yourself and your students, it's time to get down to some actual teaching, but what methods work best online? Fortunately, you have a lot of quality choices. Do you want to combine an old-school method with a new-school method? Many online teachers swear by the tried-and-true Socratic method as a way to convey information online to their pupils. Why does it work so well? Well, it is partly because asking questions encourages your students to be hands-on as well as get involved, and partly because you have apps to help you too. These apps include:

  • ClassDojo
  • Nearpod
  • Socrative

Feedback

All right. You've taught your lesson, but how do you keep in touch with your students and provide relevant feedback to them? First, you will need to have the email address of all your students, and provide yours to them. Second, you will want to create an online 'bulletin board' in which everyone can go to both post and read pertinent information. Third, you will want to designate a 'discussion forum' where students can banter about thoughts and ideas to keep them involved. Fourth, just like in a classroom, divide your students into small groups. Fifth, have your students critique each other and you, and remember these bits of constructive criticism are meant to help everybody.

Other Digital Learning Methods

Well, now you have the ball rolling on your virtual instruction. Now that you are feeling a bit more confident, how can you take your online classes to the next level? These are some other options for you to consider.

Expeditionary Learning

This learning method emphasizes self-discovery and the natural world, so it may just be a good fit for the coronavirus outbreak. After all, your students can still go outside, as long as they practice 'social distancing' measures.

Online Flipped Classrooms

In a standard classroom, the teacher lectures and the students do related homework later. In your online flipped classroom, a teacher might create an 'online scavenger hunt competition' for students. Students have to locate online among other items:

  • Announcements
  • Deadlines
  • Information

Now your students are participating in a hands-on fashion instead of you just lecturing.

Online Diaries and Journals

Just like in a standard classroom, your students can keep diaries and journals. Be sure they add self-reflective thoughts about how the world has changed due to the coronavirus, and some of their fears and hopes for their future lives.

Game-based Learning

Okay, so you would prefer to try something newer and 'cooler' instead? Then digital game-based learning just might be your ticket. Many classroom teachers are already using this method anyway.

Make sure the games the students are playing directly relate to learning some actual concrete material, instead of them just playing for only entertainment purposes.

Inquiry-based Learning

This is somewhat similar to the Socratic method mentioned earlier in the lesson. It involves:

  • Active learning
  • Creating scenarios
  • Posing questions
  • Solving problems

Modeling and Scaffolding

You're not the only one who is going to struggle with being organized in an online environment. Your students are going to feel lost too. How can modeling and scaffolding assist all of you? These helpful concepts provide a sort of 'visual framework' to utilize during the educational process.

In Review

In this lesson, we discussed how introductory videos can get everyone acquainted, and how visual aids and graphic organizers can add appeal to online teachings. We explained the benefits of the Socratic method, and how feedback can improve the virtual teaching experience. Finally, we showed how alternative methods can enhance the online learning experience for teachers and students too.

Homeschooling is hard enough as it is, but balancing the needs of children of different ages makes the challenge all the more difficult. This blog post offers suggestions for how you can succeed when homeschooling your entire family.

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