Tech Tips For Teachers To Make Distance Learning Easy
Technology Tips For Teachers To Make Distance Learning Easy
Guest article by: Rio Encarnado, Strategic Partnerships Manager at XSplit
Remote learning has become the new norm in many education settings. School is back in session, with many districts welcoming students back into the classroom. However, an increase in COVID-19 cases, and the Delta variant can make a return to hybrid or fully remote learning more likely.
With many schools offering some classes online, tech improvements have made it easier for teachers to conduct online learning.
XSplit has prepared an easy-to-follow guide to the basics of online remote teaching.
Get Your Hands On Easy To Use Technology
Setting up the right technology and tools does not have to be a complex situation. You don’t need the latest and greatest equipment that is sure to break the bank. A decent laptop or desktop would suffice with a reasonable speed (Core i5 or faster and 8GB or more of RAM). More importantly, a reliable router is necessary to avoid any connectivity problems that could interrupt a lesson.
In addition to a stable Internet connection, having a built-in camera and microphone is essential for class participation. While many laptops come with these items, you may have to buy an external webcam for your desktop computer. A simple Logitech camera will do, but if you’re in a pinch, you can even use a smartphone as a webcam.
Selecting an appropriate background can help students focus on the study material, and nobody needs to see your kitchen cupboards. XSplit VCam is an excellent add-on to Zoom, Skype, or Microsoft Teams enabling you to blur out your kitchen or add a calm, non-distracting background. You can even upload and choose a relevant background to add to the lesson plan.
Lastly, you may still need a printer, especially if you’re teaching from home instead of the school building. Not every student will have access to the Internet or devices. It’s possible you may have to print worksheets for pickup instead of posting them to your virtual classroom site.
Choose Familiar Apps For Distance Learning
The most common educational software many schools use is Canvas. Still, there are plenty of apps, software, and easy-to-navigate platforms. These apps can help to avoid confusion among students while conducting distance learning.
Platforms like Zoom and Blackboard allow teachers to broadcast, share, record lessons, and stream PowerPoint presentations. XSplit Broadcaster, which was initially designed for gaming and vlogging, is now popular among teachers to make online learning as painless as possible. For professors who want their presentations to go smoothly or teachers who want to add fun to their lessons, XSplit offers XSplit Presenter to add personality, flair, and interactivity.
Other tools like MyMaths and Hegarty Maths for older students help check for comprehension, and game-style apps like SumDog help engage younger children. Teachers should get all the remote teaching support they can, especially ones who manage online learning and teaching in-person classes.
Engage Students With Constant Communication And Collaboration
Sometimes, online learning can be more difficult to track since students are not present in person. To address this issues, make sure students know similar rules apply in-person and during online learning: being respectful of others, appropriate language, courtesy, and putting away unessential devices (like smartphones).
Students would have no distractions. However, there might be background noises or people who can interrupt the class, especially when learning from home among others in class or taking work calls.
Be sure to inform students to mute their microphones unless they are speaking. Zoom provides polling tools to easily track whether or not students are paying attention to the material.
Consistently promote communication and collaboration through small breakout groups to make online learning more enjoyable. A simple way to do this is working together on a project in Google Docs. You can make it personal with a lighthearted lessons such as, “Bring Your Pet to Class” or Show and Tell.
Some students excel at remote learning, while others might need additional assistance. Remember to keep in mind—does this lesson need to be a live class? Perhaps it is better to record a webinar (such as a flipped classroom) with XSplit Broadcaster and ask students to watch a lesson before everyone signs on for a live discussion.
Create A Fun Learning Environment
Staring at a computer screen for hours isn’t fun for everyone. Since remote learning can get dull, class time should be as short as possible. Also, if teachers have the capacity, teaching smaller groups can be beneficial. Creating a short introduction video for students on the current topic can stir up interesting conversations during class.
For younger children, embracing this new form of learning could be an asset, primarily since they rely on help or supervision from parents. Oecffer students the opportunity to work on off-screen activities and come back to class with topics and information to discuss. Embed short films or audio-books to take the lesson to the next level. Through polling tools on Zoom, younger students can stay quickly and easily engaged, and older students can also develop their IT skills by creating their own multiple-choice quizzes.
One essential tip is to work with a teaching assistant (TA) when possible—one who is also present during live sessions. If your Internet connection is interrupted, the TA can take over and assist students with their needs.
Distance learning is a newer method of teaching and learning, and there are bound to be hiccups along the way.
Being open-minded and adapting to new methods or ideas for teaching students can definitely help since transitioning from in-person to online learning can be a challenge. However, there are various tech tools available to ease the transition for teachers and students. Teachers should be sure to use the education technology they are comfortable with—and always have a backup plan.