3 Tips for Remote Learning

All over social media we keep hearing the buzz words “Remote Learning”. One thing we know is that buzz words warrant questions like: What does remote learning even mean? What tools do I use? How is it done well? How do I deliver content? What does remote learning look like for a Kindergarten student? How do I plan and instruct with high yield strategies in this environment?

Whew! The questions just keep coming! So… what do we do? How do we move forward in an unknown environment?

Here is Jenallee’s two cents 🤑 We think there are three important things to consider when beginning this new journey.

Tip #1

Teach with what you and your students know!

In a remote learning environment where do you begin? When using technology, we always say it is about reaching the learning objective, not the technology. So the first question is what learning strategies do you utilize most often in your classroom? What is your common language?

Recently, we ran across a great article online written by Shaun Killian, “8 Strategies Robert Marzano & John Hattie Agree On” We really enjoyed reading this article because it showed the strategies both researchers found in their study of how students learn. A few of the strategies they both agree upon include:

  • Direct Instruction
  • Engagement with Content
  • Teacher Feedback
  • Multiple Exposures to Content
  • Collaboration
  • Student Efficacy

Each of these are achievable in different ways through remote learning. Do you currently use any of these strategies in your class? If so, let’s start there! (We want to engage with the content, which is starting with our background information and what we know)

In evaluating these factors, we think it would be helpful to create a T chart. Go ahead and create one and jot down the strategies you use most often in your classroom.

Now, let’s look at the technology you currently use in your classroom. These strategies are achievable in a remote learning environment with various technology applications. So now jot down the technology tools you use the most. We think this is beneficial because you know how to use these tools and your students know how to use these tools.

So your T chart should have strategies and tech tools. It might look something like this:

Tip #2

Design your remote learning environment with wisdom

There are a lot of different factors that play into designing online instruction! (That’s a whole blog post we haven’t attempted to write!) Now that we have explored the strategies we want to use and the tools we are comfortable with, let’s take a look at how to design a productive learning environment.

Here are a few of the factors we think you should consider:

  • Learning Schedule
  • Direct Instruction
  • Individualized Work
  • Delivery Method
  • Assessment/Evaluation System

Each of these areas and more need to be considered when designing your remote learning environments. How are you going to schedule your day for your students? How are you going to directly teach, see demonstrated learning, and how are you going to deliver all of this to your students?

Well… let’s take a look back at your T chart. Do you see tools that help you implement high yield strategies, while also answer some of these questions? We think these connections between the strategies, implementation, and tools are key for you in creating your remote learning space.

After looking at your content, evaluating strategies to implement, and selecting tools to create this learning environment, it is time to look at scheduling. Remember, this is a different environment than the traditional classroom. So, when thinking about your schedule, be sure to consider these factors:

  • Give your students a clear schedule with clear expectations
  • Make sure that breaks are built in
  • Not all activities are digital
  • Start small. Begin with teaching a limited number of subjects
  • Keep tasks short. Remote learning tasks take longer than activities in the traditional learning environment.

Tip #3

Give yourself grace while challenging yourself

Remember that creating a remote learning environment is new for a lot of people. Give yourself grace! It’s okay that you do not know how things should be created in this space, your going to possibly: not know how technology works – be unsure of your facilitation – over plan or over assign work, etc. However, we challenge you to keep learning! (It’s obvious we are preaching to the choir, because you are here… learning) We want to encourage you to continue in this learning journey to find the strategies and tools that work best for your remote learning environment. We think using the best tool to reach these strategies is very important and can change the classroom learning environment. We encourage you to continue to learn and slowly introduce new technologies that offer your students a rich learning experience.

Jenallee’s Educational Tech Suggestions

As you probably know, we are Instructional Technologists and we feel it is our job to empower you with the best tools possible for your classroom. So, we feel compelled to share our favorite tech tools with you for facilitating a remote classroom. Or course the tips we mentioned above offer a framework for any technology we mention in this section of the blog. What we suggest here is not what is best for every classroom or every teacher, but as evaluators of educational technology, we find these tools to be highly effective at implementing high yield strategies, building a culture of engagement, and managing a remote learning environment.

Communication Apps

We think it is imperative that you do what you know! Utilize technology you know and your students know! Think outside of the box, evaluate your common tech, and brainstorm how you can make it work for you!

For example, use your class Facebook page. Post links to videos, create a Wakelet of study tools, or hold a Facebook live event! Or maybe you use Remind, Twitter, Class Dojo, SeeSaw, Flipgrid, etc. Utilize these tools to easily communicate and connect with your students.

Content Delivery

Hands down, Microsoft Teams brings all of the tech tools together to house and deliver content to your students. Not only does it deliver content like a traditional LMS, it also brings students together to learn in an organic, collaborative, and organized way. The power of Teams is that it connects and brings in various learning apps, making them better together.

The platform brings a social media feel to the classroom. Student intuitively know how to communicate, locate content, and create within this application.

Key features include:

  • Teams Meetings – video meetings that offer Microsoft Whiteboard, sharing of applications and desktop, and the ability to record your screen and post recording to the Team.
  • Assignments – Creating Assignments offers students expectations, deadlines, and feedback on their learning.
  • OneNote – Class notebooks are built into Teams and offer you the ability to embed and distribute differentiated content, provide for ongoing feedback as you evaluate student work while they are working and allow for feedback in real-time. Class notebooks also offer a draw feature, math tools, a replay option, and so much more.
  • Conversations – students and teachers can communicate seamlessly within conversations.
  • Channels – Customize Teams channels to only be seen by specific students, by unit, or by conversation. Organize your course with channels.
  • + tab – Add applications like Flipgrid, Nearpod, Buncee, any website, and more right into your Team. Students can easily access content all from the top tab.

Direct Instruction

For direct instruction, we love Microsoft Teams Meetings and OneNote! Start a Teams meeting, share your Teams OneNote on the screen, and directly teach content while demonstrating within your OneNote. The benefit… The OneNote is in the Team for students to access worked examples, class notes, and replay the content at anytime.

Assessment/Demonstrated Learning

Teams assignments offer your students the ability to view assignments, understand the expectations with rubrics, and know when the content is due. As a teacher, you decide how you want the student to demonstrate their learning. It can be a Word document that your share (template or digital worksheet… Teams automatically makes a copy of the document for your students to work on, it saves automatically, and the student can simply click turn in when they are finished) or it can be a Buncee creation, a Flipgrid video, a Sway, a PowerPoint creation, and so much more.

One of our favorite features of Teams is the ability to offer feedback during and after the assignment. This is where feedback is powerful! Students need timely feedback while completing projects, not just at the end of the project. With Teams & OneNote, you can see student work as they are completing it, leave notes and stickers (our fav) in the OneNote with feedback for students as they are working. Once the work is turned in, you have the option to leave additional feedback as well.

Scheduling

When looking at scheduling, we think our friends, the #eTwinz said it best on this Twitter Feed! Check it out!

Alberto and Mario have shared great knowledge about this topic in this thread! We definitely suggest you take a moment to check it out!

There is so much to think about regarding this topic! We hope that we have given you some food for thought and ideas on how to create a prosperous learning environment!

Looking to learn more? Check out these amazing resources below where great conversations and thoughts are being shared.

We would love to know your thoughts, questions, and suggestions! Leave us a comment and let’s continue this conversation!

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