First Steps For Teachers Moving Classes Online
Primary and secondary school teachers
For many teachers, parents and students the last weeks have been turbulent due to the many restrictions surrounding the coronavirus (Covid-19). Schools all over Europe are closed and will be so for at least a few more weeks and maybe even months. Although online teaching isn’t the favourable choice by either teachers or students, it’s essential that kids can continue to learn, see their friends and talk to their teacher during these stressful times.
In this article our team has put together some advice to help you and your school moving classes online. The aim of this article is to make the transition process more trouble-free so teachers will have more time to spend interacting with students.
For teachers, parents and students these coming weeks will be remembered forever with virtual classrooms and online teaching tools becoming part of everyday life. Everything will not go perfect right away, and that’s okay!
Use the material you already have
When creating an online course teachers often get carried away or overwhelmed. Truth is teaching online is in many ways different and can easily become time consuming.
So, how to use your time effectively when moving classes online?
One simple way is to gather all your existing course material such as powerpoint presentations, worksheets, video lessons and discussion questions which will limit the time of creating new material, so you’ll have more time to learn about useful platforms to improve your approach with teaching your students online.
Keep in mind that online learning requires clear information and instructions from teachers. Students will need your help in understanding and completing tasks that you give them. When you announce a new assignment simultaneously have a channel open that allows you to answer questions from your students.
Create fun and interactive lessons
When learning to teach online it’s important to remember to not overload your students with information or go into excessive detail. Think about your course outline, you might want to introduce a new topic each week and slowly increase the difficulty level of your online course.
Create a system that is easy to follow. One tip from an experienced online teacher is to begin each week with an introduction class on the topic in the virtual classroom This can be more engaging for students if the teacher mixes it up by adding games, video lessons, audio books and quizzes to create variety, making students more engaged and motivated. Some teachers have found that students reading in turns (like a normal class) or even signing in groups works well during an online class.
It’s important to provide students with the information they need for understanding a topic. However you’ll eventually want to focus your time on creating tasks and assignments so that students can do their own learning. Especially for teenagers, learning by doing is an important part of virtual schooling, it students gain deeper understanding and stay involved with the online course.
Build a virtual classroom
During this time we know that teachers miss their students and that kids can’t wait to see and speak to their friends again. Recorded audio and video lessons are great for online teaching, however it still doesn’t have the same important interactions as a normal classroom.
Luckily there are many platforms available that schools can use to set up a virtual classroom. One that is free to use and enables students and teachers to share audio and video BigBlueBottom. As a teacher you can also use the virtual classroom to record the class or share your screen with students.
Once you have it all set up, you can inform parents and invite students by sending an invitation link to the classroom You can also link a video tutorial with instructions or hold a tutorial class for the parents on how to use the platform. Given that parents are also at home, they are big helpers with younger children who may have difficulties.
One way our team at Mamma is helping teachers is to create introduction videos and how-to-use videos for students and parents. Visit our website to have a look at the different packages available
Once a school decides what software and platforms they want to use, it’s a nice personal touch for the school to create their own intro or how-to videos, even if they’re already made by the company providing the software or platform.
Use online teaching tools
You are now entering the world of online course creation. There are many ways of creating fun and interactive material, although, sometimes it might be hard to get all the kids and parents together for an online class. Adding lessons created by other professionals saves teachers time and adds extra elements to the course.
For kids spending a lot of time indoors and parents struggling to keep them entertained the days can become long. Online teaching tools are great for learning new things, many of the tools listed below contain both video and audio material that are designed especially for kids.
Here’s some of the tools our team at Mamma found to be helpful for online learning.
Ted-Ed creates and shares animated and interactive video-based lessons designed for children. Teachers can also create their own lessons all completely free!
British Council has lots of free online games, songs, stories and activities for learning english.
Storyline Online streams free videos featuring actors reading children’s books alongside creative illustrations
Howstuffworks offer answers to commonly asked questions regarding a broad variety of topics through articles, videos and podcasts.
Design your online lessons to fit multiple needs. Some children might prefer listening to a podcast rather than reading while others learn best from practical tasks. You have the time and the excuse to learn as you go along with the new world of teaching from your home, you still have lots of time to explore different ways.
Transitioning classes online is an up-and-down experience, remember you will learn as you go and you are not alone during these new circumstances (thousands of teachers are in the same boat).
The Mamma team are constantly looking for ways to help and share advice with teachers through creating more articles like this one and creating new services tailored for teachers. We would love to hear your feedback and suggestions on this article and work to meet the needs of more people.
From all the Mamma team we wish you the best of luck and hope to hear from you!