The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown ushered in the need for K-12 educators to embrace online learning paradigms at a rapid rate. Many districts had already been developing e-learning programs for various reasons. Now, with schools fearing local virus outbreaks that interrupt onsite learning, adopting K-12 online teaching practices must be implemented to keep children’s learning progress on track. Even with the challenges of home learning, the following tips can help both students and educators reap great rewards.
Cover the Basics
In the current generation, educators moved from relying on the pencil, paper, and book to teach to word processing and computing devices The online teaching platform simply moves educators forward with yet another change, but teachers have long shown themselves to be flexible.
The key to transition to new ways of instruction begins with the basics. Teachers and students must be able to rely on:
- Reliable internet connections
- Necessary devices (i.e. Chromebooks, tablets, or other connective gadgetry)
- Software solutions and educational materials designed with online learning in mind
- Support from and partnership with parents / guardians.
When teachers and students have this framework in place, they can surmount the other challenges of K-12 online teaching put before them.
Today, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to digital learning. There are many products available to teachers that can help them teach via the internet. It’s important to rely on the most successful instructional products to teach K-12 students the major components of their education – reading, writing, and STEM subjects. What products translate best to the online platform? Educators must investigate this question in order to find the best learning materials to support their curriculum. For example, Writing to Win features powerful integrated reading-writing solutions that translate well for online platforms. Dr. Warren Combs, an authority on the reading / writing curriculum, founded the company to help educators take an integrated approach to instruction. He offers short systematic writing to learn math, science, or social studies standards. The puzzle nature of his strategies engages students in home learning where distractions and boredom are serious factors. Similarly, students see his online Applied Grammar as fun. Their teachers like the obvious growth of their students as readers and writers, moving the challenge of home learning forward. Meeting the challenge of the computer, solving grammar puzzles lessen the chances of falling behind in learning.
Personalizing Online Instruction
There’s no doubt about it that many teachers and students lament the interruption to onsite, face-to-face learning. Students of all ages benefit from the physical classroom environment. And, because widespread online instruction for K-12 students is new, it’s still unclear how it will play out. Nevertheless, there are some best practices that teachers can employ to individualize instruction. K-12 teachers can personalize online instruction in the same way they personalize their classrooms. You simply create a digital classroom with plenty of opportunities for face-to-face connections virtually via online learning platforms or other digital platforms like Zoom.
Streamline and Simplify
Rolling out a new K-12 online teaching paradigm does appear daunting for teachers, students, and their families. Start as simply as possible. Keep your projects and assignments as simple and streamlined as possible at the start. Start with the simple and engaging routines like the example of online grammar or short writing on demand. Maintain your students’ level of engagement as you gradually increase the complexity of interaction as everyone becomes more comfortable with digital learning processes. How can you keep your strategies simple and easy to understand? Consider these tips:
- Ensure all parents have the essential information they need to access the classroom portal and online materials used for learning
- Be clear about where / how assignments are submitted. Many districts experience difficulties when teachers within the same schools assign work via different platforms and accept it in different ways – email, portal delivery, or links to Google docs. Try to head off confusion from the get-go.
- Clarify your accessibility. Let students and families know when they can go online to chat with you about their questions or concerns.
With these tips in mind, teachers can forge a path to successful instruction. It will feel different in many ways than the onsite experience, but by embracing the pros of online teaching and minimizing the cons, educators can continue to serve the education needs of their students during these topsy-turvy times. Be sure to visit Writing to Win to learn more about its products and services that translate well to K-12 online teaching platforms.