Best Practices for Teaching Online -- K12 -- Laurel Springs School

[K12] Best Practices for Teaching Online — from Laurel Springs School; with thanks to The Journal for their article on this entitled, “While Schools Go Online, Here’s How Teachers Can Turn Uncertainty Into Opportunity” by Megan O’Reilly Palevich

Excerpt:

As I was reflecting on the magnitude of what is happening in K-12 education, I wanted to figure out a way to help the teaching community. It dawned on me that Laurel Springs has just over 150 teachers and almost 30 years of distance learning experience as a school. So, I asked our expert teaching faculty—what are your best practices for teaching online? I was overwhelmed by the responses and goodwill from my team. I am excited to share with you a guide to help with working remotely, communicating with students and families, and the best tips and resources for lower, middle, and upper school.

I hope that you find this information useful and share it with your colleagues. Feel free to pass it on and share—we are all in this together. As a parent, teacher, and leader, I appreciate you and all of the wonderfully creative things you are doing to do what you do best: TEACHING.

Please feel free to contact me for any additional support!

Warmest regards,

Best Practices for Teaching Online -- from Laurel Springs School by Megan O'Reilly Palevich

PDF file here.

 

Teaching in a Hybrid Classroom – What’s Working, What’s Not — from derekbruff.org by Derek Bruff

Excerpt:

Now that we’re a few weeks into the semester, I wanted to know what was working and what was a continuing challenge for instructors, so I convened a conversation on teaching earlier this week attended by 18 of my faculty colleagues representing a range of disciplines. They were excited to be back in the classroom this fall. “There’s a different energy when we’re face-to-face,” one of them said. We had a lively discussion via Zoom about hybrid teaching, including what made it exciting and what made it frustrating, and I wanted to share a few highlights here on the blog.

I waited a minute or two while the participants thought and typed, and when it was clear that most of the participants were no longer typing, I said, “Ready, set, go!” Everyone hit enter, and a slew of responses appeared in the chat at the same time. At this point, we all spent a couple of minutes reading through the responses. I selected a couple that were particularly interesting and called on those participants to elaborate via video.

Also see:

Active Learning in Hybrid and Physically Distanced Classrooms — from cft.vanderbilt.edu by Derek Bruff

 

If I’m standing at the front of the classroom with half or a third of my students in the room with me, but sitting six feet apart from each other and wearing masks, while the rest of my students are joining class by videoconference, what strategies might I employ to engage all of my students in meaningful learning?

I’m going to try to outline some options here in this blog post, drawing on ideas and resources from across the higher education community, but I would enthusiastically welcome additional approaches in the comments below or via Hypothesis annotations.

Derek Bruff

 

Reflections on some nice ideas from Dr. Barbi Honeycutt [Lecture Breakers Weekly!]

Per this week’s Lecture Breakers Weekly! from Dr. Barbi Honeycutt:

Break up your online lectures with the Watch Party! Here’s how you can do it: 

  • Pre-record your mini-lecture or find a video you want to use for your lesson. 
  • Instead of asking students to watch the video on their own, play it during your synchronous/live class time.
  • Explain to your students that they are watching the video all at the same time and that you will be facilitating the chat and answering their questions as they watch the video together. It’s a watch party!
  • Option: Take the conversation out of Zoom or your LMS. Create a hashtag for your course on Twitter and invite other experts, colleagues, or friends to join the conversation.

Instead of presenting during the synchronous class time, you can now focus completely on managing the chat, prompting discussion, and responding to students’ questions and ideas in real-time. And be sure to record and save the chat for students who couldn’t attend the live session or want to review it later.

From DSC:
This is one of the kind of things that I envisioned with Learning from the living class[room] — a next-generation, global learning platform.

Learners could be watching a presentation/presenter, but communicating in real-time with other learners. Perhaps it will be a tvOS-based app or something similar. But TV as we know it is changing, right? It continues to become more interactive and on-demand all the time. Add videoconferencing apps like Zoom, Cisco Webex Meetings, Blackboard Collaborate, Microsoft Teams, Adobe Connect and others, and you have real-time, continuous, lifelong, relevant/timely, affordable, accessible, up-to-date learning.

Also, you have TEAM-BASED learning. 

Add videoconferencing apps like Zoom, Cisco Webex Meetings, Blackboard Collaborate, Microsoft Teams, Adobe Connect and others, and you have real-time, continuous, lifelong, up-to-date learning.

 

 

From DSC:
Below are but some of the changes to the learning ecosystems out there. Certainly, more are coming.


Ex-Google employees form virtual tech ‘school’ for gap year students amid college closures — from cnbc.com by Jennifer Elias

KEY POINTS
  • Current and former Google employees are forming an online program aimed at preparing students for the workforce if they’re taking time off school due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • It comes as many college students defer school as universities shift learning models to mostly online amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Google execs past and present have volunteered to mentor college students on topics ranging from career trajectory to how to stand out in virtual Zoom interviews.

Along these lines, see:

  • Google has a plan to disrupt the college degree — from inc.com by Justin Bariso
    Google’s new certificate program takes only six months to complete, and will be a fraction of the cost of college.
    Excerpt:
    Google recently made a huge announcement that could change the future of work and higher education: It’s launching a selection of professional courses that teach candidates how to perform in-demand jobs. These courses, which the company is calling Google Career Certificates, teach foundational skills that can help job-seekers immediately find employment. However, instead of taking years to finish like a traditional university degree, these courses are designed to be completed in about six months.

From DSC:
Also, to see some more changes to the learning ecosystems out there, set up a Google Alert (or something similar in Feedly or via another tool) for “Learning Pods,” “Pandemic Pods,” and/or the “growth of homeschooling.” Here’s but one recent example:

Zoo Knoxville to start virtual learning pods for students

 


 

Check out the Academic Warriers website

About Academic Warriors:

Life can be very hard for autistic, gifted and special needs learners.  Autistic and gifted learners often times struggle in school because they learn very differently than their peers. These special learners need a personalized approach to their education that allows them to learn in their own way at their own pace.

Many times parents and students feel as if they are the only ones like them in the world. This can often times lead to isolation and frustration. It is important for all autistic, gifted and special needs to unite in order to support one another. We are named Academic Warriors because all our students are superheroes in a world that doesn’t always understand and/or appreciate them. We help our students to become strong, independent and positive learners despite what the world may think of them.

It is the mission of Academic Warriors to help create positive learning experiences and communities throughout the United States for autistic, gifted and special needs learners. We offer online courses, programs, private school and in person events that foster an unique learning environment that promotes unity among all our students and families. We strive to create online and in person learning communities in every state that will provide educational opportunities for all families of autistic, gifted and special needs students. Together we can create a better world for the autistic, gifted and special needs learner.

 


From DSC:
As part of a homeschooling-based situation, my wife received the following item for one of our daughters (who needs additional/personalized assistance to learn). Simultaneously, she and our daughter sent them a Michigan Exchange Box. Very cool.

My wife and one of our daughters received this set of things from a homeschooler in Mississippi! Very cool!

I believe my wife found this out at the following group in Facebook:

 


Some channels out on Youtube that have to do with learning:
(and by the way, according to Jane Hart’s recent Top 200 Tools for Learning, YouTube is in the #1 spot for the 5th year in a row!)

Snake Discovery -- videos out on YouTube

Bondi Vet - videos on YouTube

 


 

From the Off-Trail Learning website, here are some self-directed learning centers

 


The Barn for Equine Learning

“Horse Sense Tutoring Services is a unique resource that combines the power of Equine Assisted Learning with evidence-based reading and math strategies that engage the mind, body, and emotions in learning.  We use the principles of discovery, experience, movement, reflection, and connection in partnership with our horse friends.

Based at The Barn for Equine Learning…my program offers targeted reading, math, and basic horsemanship tutoring for students in grades K – 8. Horses become teaching and learning partners as students experience academics and social-emotional learning in a whole new way.

If you are looking for a unique tutoring and confidence-building experience for your child, PM for more information.  Sessions are held outdoors and/or in an open barn setting.

(Small group field trips with an introduction to basic horsemanship skills are also available).

 


From DSC:
So these are just a few examples of how the learning ecosystems are changing out there! Surely, there will be more changes coming down the pike.


 

 

8 innovative virtual learning design tips to engage your remote teams — from elearningindustry.com by Shannon Hart
Virtual learning is an essential component in the Learning and Development toolkit, and it is widely used for training and educational purposes. It is not, however, always high quality or effective. Here are some design tips from the instructional and visual perspectives to give your virtual learning a real boost.

Excerpt:

With more employees working remotely than ever before, it is crucial that we create learning assets that really engage. Let’s talk about two aspects of design that are equally important if you want to provide virtual learning that really gets results—Instructional Design and visual design.

#visualdesign #instructionaldesign
#elearning #simulations #interaction
#corporatelearning
#graphicdesign

From DSC:
Notice the variety of necessary skillsets involved in Shannon’s article! This is one of the reasons I’m for the use of team-based content creation and delivery.

 

From A New Way Forward:

Grab the remote! A series from Big Picture Learning!

Grab the remote! A series from Big Picture Learning!

Also see the following “Must Reads” from A New Way Forward:


From DSC:
Along these lines…in regards to digital equity, I’m reminded of this recent graphic:

Let's use television for folks who don't have access to the Internet -- Daniel Christian

 

Artificial Intelligence for Learning: How to use AI to Support Employee Development [Donald Clark]

So what is the book about? — from donaldclarkplanb.blogspot.com by Donald Clark; which discusses his book entitled, Artificial Intelligence for Learning: How to use AI to Support Employee Development

Excerpt:

AI changes everything. It changes how we work, shop, travel, entertain ourselves, socialize, deal with finance and healthcare. When online, AI mediates almost everything – Google, Google Scholar, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Amazon, Netflix. It would be bizarre to imagine that AI will have no role to play in learning – it already has.

Both informally and formally, AI is now embedded in many of the tools real learners use for online learning – we search for knowledge using AI (Google, Google Scholar), we search for practical knowledge using AI (YouTube), Duolingo for languages, and CPD is becoming common on social media, almost all mediated by AI. It is everywhere, just largely invisible. This book is partly about the role of AI in informal learning but it is largely about its existing and potential role in formal learning – in schools, Universities and the workplace. AI changes the world, so it changes why we learn, what we learn and how we learn.

Also see:

  • Abandon lectures: increase attendance, attitudes and attainment — from donaldclarkplanb.blogspot.com by Donald Clark
    Excerpt:
    The groups were taught a module in a physics course, in three one hour sessions in one week. In short; attendance increased, measured attitudes were better (students enjoyed the experience (90%) and thought that the whole course would be better if taught this way (77%)). More importantly students in the experimental group outperformed the control group, doing more than twice as well in assessment than the control group.
 

From DSC:
I’ve heard many people mention that what we did throughout K-16 in the spring of 2020 was remote teaching — an emergency response to the Coronavirus. And I would agree with that assessment and verbiage — that was/is very true. It wasn’t online-based learning as many of us have come to know it over the last 20+ years. It didn’t offer a lot of the things that organizations like the Online Learning Consortium (OLC) and Quality Matters have been trying to promote and get us to achieve for years.

But then I hear the expectation that everything has been vastly improved over the summer and suddenly, almost overnight, all teachers, professors, trainers, adjunct faculty members, etc. have become highly proficient in matters involving online-based teaching and learning. In other words, the expectations say that:

  • Students should expect a top-notch experience now that summer is over.
  • Suddenly, Rome was built in a day!

But it wasn’t, and it isn’t.

It takes time and practice to become proficient in how to teach online. That’s the truth. It also takes a great deal of time and investments in hardware, software, tools, training/education/professional development, networking and telecommunications infrastructure, and more. It takes numerous skillsets to do it well. (By the way, that’s why I like to think in terms of team-based content creation and delivery.)

Also, often times, it takes MORE time to teach online than it does to teach in a face-to-face classroom. That is certainly the case for the first time that you will be teaching online. You need to know that going into it. You have to put your course together PLUS learn how to deliver it effectively in an online-based format. You need to learn a variety of tools and related ecosystems. Not a simple, overnight kind of task, I can assure you.

So students, don’t expect your faculty members to become professional online-based teachers overnight Again, it takes time and practice…just like anything we set out to do.

And for you student teachers and Education Departments/Programs out there, keep at it. Don’t dismiss this time as a brief period/phenomenon that will simply go away and we’ll get back to “normal.” Make the necessary adjustments to your curriculum, toolsets, “teacher placements,” and more. Let’s get prepared for the future, come what may.

For higher ed, if you want to continue to use adjunct faculty members to handle a significant amount of the teaching load out there, you will need to better address the training and the $$/reimbursements that you provide to them.

And for all of the teachers, trainers, faculty members — and now even parents and/or guardians — out there, cut yourself some slack, give yourself some grace, and keep trying. One step at a time. Don’t get discouraged.

Also relevant/see:

Build and accelerate beyond the pandemic: Consciously deliver a great online experience for lifelong learners — from evoLLLution.com by Philip Regier

Excerpt:

Today’s learners have high expectations as expert consumers in all aspects of their lives. Higher education needs to create an infrastructure that meets the needs of this tech-savvy demographic. Institutions need to recognize that the online environment is here to stay and is in need of a rebuild in order to deliver the best student experience possible, even post-pandemic. In this interview, Phil Regier discusses the today’s learners’ expectations, scaling a high-quality online environment, and how to build the right infrastructure to support learners in this new and digitized normal.

 

7 things you should know about podcasting — from library.educause.edu

Excerpt:

What is it?
In its most basic sense, a podcast is an audio file. When the term was introduced in 2004—derived from the Apple iPod, at the time still a novel portable music player—podcast referred to audio content that employed RSS technology to allow users to subscribe to serialized content that is automatically downloaded and synchronized whenever it is updated. Purists would insist that those requirements still apply—that a podcast must be serialized content available through an RSS feed. In common usage, however, the term has become much looser and is now often used to describe essentially any audio file, whether it is part of a program or a one-off, and even audio content available on a website but not syndicated. It can replace or augment written material, such as textbooks or similar resources. Other podcasts consist of poetry or fiction or are venues for entertainment. Podcasting is enjoying a resurgence, in part because of the penetration of smartphones. People can listen to podcasts during their commutes, while exercising or washing the dishes, or in countless other times and places.

 

Watch out for these 3 mistakes you’re making during distance teaching — from edsurge.com by Paul Emerich France

Excerpt:

Distance teaching also shone a light on problematic practices that were never effective in person, either. And trying to re-create them in a virtual environment didn’t make them any better. As many schools resume remote instruction this fall, watch out for these three mistakes you may be making. More importantly, give yourself the liberty to try out some of the alternative approaches that can help make distance teaching more sustainable and effective.

 

 

From Beth McMurtrie in this week’s “Teaching” over at The Chronicle:

  • Examples of innovative assessment strategies
  • An instructor’s request to help students engage with digital textbooks
  • Some resources for effective online, equitable, & antiracist teaching

Teaching -- over at The Chronicle

From DSC:
I especially appreciated the item re: the creation/use of multimedia-based content in place of a more traditional assessment. This type of assignment/assessment allows more choice and it opens up opportunities for more creativity and expression.

 

With an eye towards the future…what questions should we be asking about learning experience design (#LXD)? [Christian]

From DSC:
Some of the following questions came to my mind recently:

  • In this age of the Coronavirus, how can we think differently about learning experience design (#LXD)?
  • How can *teams* of people come together to reimagine what learning could look like in the future? Who might be some new players at the table? More students? Artists? Actors? More animators? More technicians and people from A/V? Specialists in XR? Corporate trainers coming together with Instructional Designers from higher ed and from K-12? #learningecosystems #future
  • How can we better tighten up the alignment between K-12, higher ed / vocational programs, and the corporate world?
  • How can we make self-directed learning more prevalent (which would release an enormous amount of energy & creativity)? #heutagogy

Maybe those aren’t even the right questions…

If not, what do you think? What questions should we be asking about learning these days?

#LXD #learningecosystems #future #lifelonglearning #onlinelearning #highereducation #K12 #corporatelearning #heutagogy

 

The main thing we need to remember is that this space no longer serves as an accessory to face-to-face teaching. It is now our main contact point with learners, so it needs to play different roles: communication channel, learning path, interaction platform and community space. Teachers therefore need a certain degree of freedom to design this space in the best way that suits their teaching style and philosophy as well as their course content and learning objectives.

What became obvious in the past months is that when it comes to teaching and learning
 fully online, the learning experience design aspect, including look, feel and logic of the platform from the users’ perspective- be it teachers or students-, are at least as important as the content.

(source)

 

James Lang’s Distracted: Why Students Can’t Focus and What You Can Do About It — from tophat.com by Harleen Dhami
Navigating distraction in the virtual classroom starts with curating novel, community-oriented learning activities

Excerpt:

You suggest that how instructors teach is often at odds with how students learn. What’s the disconnect here?
The disconnect is taking for granted that students should pay attention. What we need to think about is how we structure the class in a way that sustains someone’s attention through an extended period of time. We need to think like playwrights. What do they do to maintain attention? They have acts and scenes, there’s an intermission, the action rises and falls. At the beginning of a play, something happens that is designed to intrigue you and get you engaged in the story. I argue in the book that we have to think both like a playwright and like a poet. You have to think like a playwright in terms of the structure. You have to think like a poet in terms of “what’s going to reawaken the attention of my students,” or awaken the attention of my students to this particular content for the day.

 
 

The 12 Shifts for Student-Centered Hybrid Environments — from gettingsmart.com by Kyle Wagner

During the time of remote learning, our students have become more independent and empowered. They have been given more freedom in establishing their own learning outcomes, and organizing schedules and deadlines to meet them. When they return to us in the fall, whether for an in-person, hybrid, or a 100% online learning experience, we will have to offer them something different than we have in the past. Instead of disconnected, impersonalized, one-size-fits-all learning, we will need to offer our students deep, personalized, and more connected learning experiences.

Our role as a result will shift from being the ‘sage on stage,’ to a ‘facilitator of learning experiences.’ To make this transformation possible, we will have to make 12 key shifts.

The 12 shifts are the result of conversations and insights from expert practitioners worldwide, who have not only adapted to an uncertain education climate, but thrived.

The 12 Shifts for Student-Centered Hybrid Environments

From DSC:
This was a great article with numerous solid ideas and suggestions! What I saw several times was offering the students more choice, more control. In fact, the point hit close to home. Our son finally said, “I actually want to learn this stuff!” (i.e., how to act and thrive within the world of the theatre). When we’re able to tap into students’ intrinsic motivation, we unleash a *huge* amount of creativity,  energy, and effort!!!

 

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