2 Tips for Improving Remote Teaching — One is Totally “Old School”
By Kristin Powers
October 15, 2020
Student Studying Participating in Remote Learning

Now that we are deep into the Fall 2020 semester, you might be looking for some remote teaching help. Many of us are all dealing with multiple technologies. Some of us may be struggling to bridge the digital divide. We’re all looking for ways to be sure we’re talking to the right students at the right time.

Don’t let technology be an obstacle. We should be looking to create safe learning environments — places where learners can try things without a fear of making mistakes online. We can look outside the traditional classroom for help as well. For example, can we learn from the corporate world? After all, they’ve been dealing with remote work environments for longer than we have in education.

Enter Coursetune CEO Maria Anderson Ph.D. Maria is a master of remote teaching. She’s been teaching courses with remote components even before the pandemic hit. Recently, Dr. Anderson joined Bryan Alexander’s Future Trends Forum to talk about some of the strategies she’s implementing in her remote classroom.  Let’s look at two of them,

Borrowing the Concept of “Stand-ups”

In the corporate world, many days begin with a “stand-up.”  In these meetings, team members gather (usually standing up) to quickly go through the work they’ve completed, their plan for the day, and any roadblocks in their way. While stand-ups are an efficient way to communicate within small teams, can they be adapted to a remote class with many students? 

One way to make this work in the remote classroom setting is to set aside the first block of class time. During this time, some students can work on asynchronous assignments. Other students go into virtual breakout rooms to review work in small groups. Meanwhile, the instructor has their own breakout where she can pull in students who are missing work or need more help. In this breakout room, the instructor can hold a mini-stand-up with the student to talk about what work the student has completed, what they’re working on, and what might be causing them to struggle.  

The stand-ups can help the instructor get in touch with students more easily and at the right time. They can connect with students that need help in a safe, 1-to-1 setting. You may even  find that this method works better than trying to catch up with students in the “real world.”

Going “Old-School”

While EdTech has given us great tools to help students learn, the good old-fashioned task of writing things down can still pose challenges. Most students are still writing on-screen with a mouse or trackpad – this makes writing to share information slow and clunky.. Using your finger-tip to write on a touchscreen can also be tricky. If a student wants to show the work from their own computer, screen-sharing can present a whole other set of technical gymnastics. A true, old-school solution for breaking through the tech could be issuing each student a small white board, marker, and eraser.

A remote-learning student can easily hold up their whiteboard and show it in front-of their camera (whether in the large group or in a small group). Whiteboards also get the student’s hands off the keyboard, reducing digital distractions and focusing attention on the subject they are learning.. 

The true magic of this old-school tactic is that it creates a natural safe space for students to try something new. Students can use the whiteboard to figure out a problem, make mistakes, and correct them before committing results to their permanent notes.. 

Closing the Loop

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While there may be challenges, remote teaching has given us a lot of opportunity to try new things. Be sure to look outside the classroom for inspiration. Seek out ideas in other industries and disciplines that have been working with remote situations for a long time. Additionally, don’t ignore tried-and-true old-school solutions. Be creative! Look for ways to connect with your students. Create safe spaces that make remote learning a friendlier experience for everyone.

 Want more? 

To get more actionable tips like these, join us on October 23, 2020 at 12PM ET. Maria will be conducting the webinar, “Tuning Your Remote Teaching.” You’ll learn about making your remote teaching effective and rewarding. Sign-up now!

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