Best Practices for Distance Teaching
Lessons learned from districts that have made this shift:
Simplify and be flexible...we are not trying to mimic the regular school day; kids could be feeling fearful or stressed and may not be used to the at home learning environment. Many kids are not able to manage their own schedule or have been called to child care duties.
Clearly outline expectations for students and you. See this sample of norms: Expectations of Students & Teachers
Be present as an instructor by posting videos of yourself, utilizing discussion boards, hosting office hours or Q&A sessions via Zoom or Google Meet.
Videos posted by the teacher allows students to connect with the teacher’s image and voice. The video can be short, 3 minutes or less. In that amount of time, the teacher can review highlights of the previous week, and do a quick introduction of what is coming in the current week.
Provide transcripts of video or audio announcements made by teachers. If you read from a script, your script should be posted as the transcript. If linking to external videos, make sure the videos have closed captioning available.
Give multimedia options for assignments such as slides, videos, podcasts, blogs, data visualizations, websites, infographics, or audio.
Be mindful of keeping learning active and chunking the content through a mix of robust discussions, collaborative work, video and audio clips, hands-on exercises, and individual work time.
Use frequent formative assessments. While present with students, it can be much easier to determine which students may be struggling with new learning. When teaching online, use tools such as Google Forms, Poll Everywhere, Mentimeter and Google Classroom, to gauge student learning and plan instruction and personalization that helps to keep all students on track. Here is a list of more formative assessment tools.
Take care of yourself! Create a schedule for yourself that includes specific times to check email, be available to students, grade, etc. Build in breaks where you step away from technology and care for yourself.