The ability to effectively work remotely, a good understanding of the modern technological advances, as well as media-awareness are the key skills of the person living in the 21st century. Today, in the conditions of the unexpected quarantine, and, thus, school closing, every tutor faces the challenge of the fast development of distance learning arrangement skills in real-time. For those who never practiced such a format, we offer help with distance learning management step by step.
Step 1: Breath Deeply and Outline Your Strategy and Distance Recommendations
The first thing to get rid of is panic, as it is the biggest enemy of reasonable planning. A cup of your favorite tea will definitely help with the distance learning organization. Create a brief but exact manual on how you are going to arrange the remote teaching. If you know what to do at every stage, this will be reflected on the positive results of the students. Remember that after government shutdown schools, students are confused to the same extent as you do, and you both need to find a good way to adapt to the new circumstances.
To get all things set regarding distance learning, we recommend you to use Mindomo. Here you will be able to create the mind map with the stages of distance learning. In the process, you will also be able to add tasks for your students to complete. Furthermore, if you wish, you may send this mind map to your students to help them acquire a clear understanding of what is going on.
If you have difficulties with coming up with a good plan, or your mind map needs improvement, do not hesitate to contact us for help, and our distance learning experts will assist you at the very beginning of this long path.
Step 2: Choose the Best Instruments to Help with Distance Learning
Here we will suggest the two most popular platforms that will help with distance learning management.
This is a closed educational social network that has been developed by British tutors and IT-experts with the high security level of personal data. As for me, ClassDojo is the most convenient platform for distance learning help. It is adapted for PCs, laptops, tablets, and smartphones (you will need to download an app though).
The principle of distance learning and teaching is simple: a tutor signs up with the platform, creates his/her class, adds students, and sends them the link for the class.
The communication is also well-arranged: the class members see the tutor’s publications in chronological order. It looks pretty much similar to the Facebook news feed, and this helps students to get more involved. The tutor can attach materials, tasks, pdf files, links to the necessary web-resources that will help in distance learning assignments accomplishment.
The platform has a good in-built feature: the tutor can create tasks of four types. Students can attach a word document, a drawing, take a picture, or film a short video in terms of the assignment completion. It is also easy to see what particular task has been completed by students.
Another benefit is the possibility of students to communicate with each other on the class page. After the post has been created by the tutor, students are welcome to comment on it, and the tutor will be able to reply to the comments and help in case of any misunderstandings.
Did you hear about the pluses of gamification for the learning process? After the schools were temporarily canceled, it is possible to introduce gamification to distance learning. On ClassDojo, every student gets an avatar of a monster which is tasked with points collection. Every assignment is graded. On the period of the quarantine, it is even possible to arrange a marathon, let’s say set the target of 300 points (you can give any names to the points). Once a task is done, a student gets the grade for it added in the form of points, and in case of lateness, the points can be reduced.
How about the help from parents? A tutor can also send an invitation to the parents, who will need to download the app and enter the code provided by the teacher. The parents will see only their child’s results, as well as the feed with tasks and comments, so they can help with distance learning in case their kid needs it.
Google Classroom is a free service that will help everyone with the Google account. A tutor enters the system, creates a class, where it is possible to publish study materials, set tasks, and communicate. The link for the class needs to be sent to all the students to be enrolled. It is also possible to access the Google Classroom via the smartphone, and this helps the teacher to always be updated.
The teacher can add lessons to the class, so students will be able to comment on them and review all the necessary links and grades in the process of distance learning. This all will be on one page, which is very convenient.
The interface is pretty user-friendly. However, in order to benefit from all the possibilities, check the website for the distance learning help via Google Classroom. It will help to figure out.
Step 3: Set Rules and Deadlines to Keep for Distance Learning
On the first days of quarantine, it is necessary to explain the students and that they have not got extra vacations. Therefore, the certain rules need to be set. The students need to clearly understand that online lessons are not less important than the offline ones used to be. The deadlines must also be strict. The students will understand that if you warn them that the late works will not be accepted.
Tutors are to constantly provide distance learning help in form of feedback after every completed task. It would be even better if you can provide some recommendations in the process of the task accomplishment, so a student will see that it is not only he/she who takes everything seriously.
Step 4: Take Care About LIVEs: They Do Help
Once a week, it is necessary to arrange live broadcasts. The live communication motivates. For the students to be able to communicate with teachers in the process of tasks completion, it is recommended to arrange live broadcasting two or three days before the task deadline. So, the students will have time for corrections and adjustments. The broadcasts can be arranged with the help of a closed group on Facebook or via Google Hangout within the Google Classroom. Such a broadcast will automatically be published on the YouTube channel, so students will be able to view and comment in real-time.
What is important, in terms of the distance learning help, tell the students to ask questions whenever something is not clear for them. Moreover, the real-time comments will help you to monitor the students’ involvement in what you are talking about.
Step 5: Choose the Format of Tasks Submission
In case distance learning is connected with creative works, students can submit the ready projects in Google Presentations. Papers can be submitted via Google Documents.
What about something less trivial? In distance learning, the group submissions will be of a great help as well. For this purpose, I would advise Padlet. This is a free platform where the teacher creates a group board and shares the link for it. The tasks are pinned on the board. Here, students can print, attach files and videos. After having completed their part, every student needs to comment on one or two projects of their classmates, which is graded additionally. The understanding that your work is checked and evaluated not only by a professor but by your classmates also helps a lot in distance learning.
Step 6: Distance Teaching: How to Deliver Information Better?
Modern students tend to perceive information better if it is given in the visual form. Therefore, create or find YouTube videos on the topic you need. Make sure to provide links on the specific minutes you want the students to start watching from not to create a mess in their heads.
To make sure the students processed the materials well, let them practice.
For distance learning help, it is possible to use learningapps.org. This is a system of ready exercises on various subjects. If you lack something here, you are welcome to add your own content. The principle is the same: you just need to send the link to your students. A teacher can create a folder of the class, add assignments there, and monitor their accomplishment.
Another useful tool is ClassMarker. Here you can create various tests, including the multiple-choice ones of different kinds, set the passing grade, possibility of the random selection of questions, monitor the overall class performance, etc.
Step 7: Final Check of Distance Learning Results
When you need to check how effective was the students’ distance learning, ClassTime will help. This is a free service for tests where a teacher can create 9 types of questions (such as open-ended, questions to set something in chronological order, etc.). This web resource can also help with questionnaires that help a lot for effective distance learning.
We hope the suggested instruments will help you to arrange the distance learning process in a way to create the best experience for your students. The quarantine has set the tough conditions for teaching, but I believe that finding the ways out today will boost the teaching and learning process in the future greatly.