With the COVID-19 health crisis still in effect across the country, several states must evaluate what this will mean for projected school openings moving forward. For some, this may involve continuing with online learning rather than returning to in-person lessons. Jerry Jellig, as an educational administrator, acknowledged that several teachers had some difficulties making the switch to online learning this past spring and includes a few tips to help educators hone their methods for the fall.
Find Ways to Facilitate Engagement
Much like teaching in an in-person environment, student engagement is at the crux of successful learning. What educators that have made the transition to online learning have quickly found out, however, is that fostering engagement can be a challenge as you cannot utilize the same methods as in the building. Jerry Jellig knows that there are some inherent challenges with keeping students engaged but recognizes that there have been a myriad of ways that teachers have made concerted efforts to get students connected with the material and engrained in their studies. For example, some educators have found interesting ways to use chatrooms and groups to keep students in communication with one another. Interactive lessons can go a long way towards keeping students engaged as well, and many educators have found ways to enhance their material with supplementary videos meant to keep students interested.
Keep Things Simple
Jerry Jellig notes that simplicity is often key in an online learning environment. While there are plenty of apps and programs that streamline the process of teaching online, it can be beneficial to keep things simple as to limit the amount of technical difficulties that students may experience over the duration of the course. The mantra of simplicity is also effective for teaching styles as well while teaching remotely, particularly when teaching material that is new for your students. Jerry Jellig recommends finding clear and concise ways to convey new material, as it will not be as clear when a student does not have a firm grasp on lessons as it often is when you are teaching in-person. Educators that can find simple ways to get main points across before substantiating tend to perform better in an online environment than those that overcomplicate their lessons.
Flexibility is an important trait for an online educator to hold for a variety of reasons. For example, while educators still have a job to perform, we should remember that we are in the midst of a profoundly complicated time with the health crisis. While online learning gives us certain freedoms, there are also challenges that can arise that should be met with flexibility and kindness. For example, methods that we have perfected for educating may prove less effective in practice than we had imagined, which may require quick thinking and implementation of different approaches. There could be emergencies such as sickness during this time or simple problems involving technical difficulties, all of which should be met with a flexibility whenever possible.