To stop the spread of COVID-19, more and more schools was closed. Students have found it necessary to continue their training through digital media and with the help of teachers who have to teach in this modality. However, not everyone is ready for it. Some teachers know how to handle the tools to carry out online education; some don't.
Going from face-to-face to virtual education immediately has given rise to the so-called "emergency remote teaching," which is far from online education. So we are going to share some tips so that teachers who are doing "emergency remote teaching" can take advantage of it and get closer and closer to online education.
Teachers must be trained and supported by experts to carry out remote teaching. They must acquire digital skills and abilities and become familiar with the training platforms just like the students. We also recommend teachers be up-to-date and learn about current issues and online platforms.
Teachers can also access free online training or lectures given by specialists and organizations. Thus, they receive help identifying the technologies and practices they can carry out for their online classes.
Choose an online platform
Online education requires a platform that serves as a virtual classroom and allows students to know where to go to find the study program, materials, activities, delivery schedule, etc. If the educational center does not have its own platform, various options can be chosen, such as a blog, Moodle classroom or wiki to collect all the information on the subject for students.
It is also helpful to have a space dedicated to solving doubts through forums, collective video calls, or even social networks. To avoid technical problems, teachers should bet on simple platforms that are easily accessible from different devices. Above all, students directly contact the reference teacher or the technical support team to solve possible obstacles.
Spend time redesigning the course
It is essential that the teaching staff dedicates time to redesign the way of imparting the course contents and determine what activities they will offer to the students on the technological platform they will use. For this, it is advisable to create a guide that allows students to consult it to organize themselves (or with the support of families, if they are Primary students) and carry out these activities.
It must be ensured that the teaching process is simple and clear. Teachers are adviced to make tutorial videos explaining the course's objectives and indicating the guidelines before the class. It is essential to take into account the technological resources and ICT capacities of the students to guarantee the inclusive nature of the entire online teaching-learning process. This implies knowing what resources are available to work online (devices and internet connection).
Base teaching on online activities
Experts agree that teachers avoid replicating face-to-face classes by telematic means. Even if they have technologies that can replicate them, don't do it. The professor advises teachers to base their teaching on activities that students have to develop from home and significant enough for them. They demonstrate that they are acquiring skills.
For this reason, it is crucial to make a good selection of tasks for students as attractive as possible and without overloading them with compulsory work. These should be appropriate to most students' ages and digital resources. Associating a set of resources with activities is also essential.
Plan teaching activities and establish schedules
For this, it is crucial to plan each activity in advance. For example, planning the hours that will be dedicated to answering emails, designing activities, evaluating students, or conducting tutorials by videoconference during the day.
We also advise establishing a schedule for synchronous connections (which are carried out in the same time and space between transmitter and receiver), either in the spaces of the educational platform or other communication channels, such as video conferences.
Keep in touch with the students and motivate them
It is not enough to plan and offer online activities to students. At this time, it is very important that they keep both their educational center and their tutors in mind, which means for teachers to attend to their students either by email or video calls individually and regularly.
Furthermore, by not being able to have face-to-face contact with the students, the teaching staff cannot capture the mood and characteristics of their group to motivate them. To do this, experts give some strategies, such as making and broadcasting short videos of between 5 and 15 minutes.
Conduct continuous feedback and evaluation
If the students do not know the positive aspects and those that they must improve in the deliveries made, they may feel abandoned. The evaluation of the students has to be permanent and continuous because that allows us not to have to be aware of only one moment of the course.
All activities carried out by students must be corrected. Some can be self-correcting, in other cases the students themselves can correct them when they receive the teacher's solution or they can be sent to the teacher to do it. And we must avoid that teachers are also overwhelmed and overloaded with work.
Establish teacher networks
When teachers have difficulties transforming face-to-face education into virtual, establishing and using teacher networks is more important than ever. They give each other support to face the challenges of teaching.
In this regard, one of the main difficulties faced by teachers when going from face-to-face teaching to virtual learning is their lack of experience in managing it, that is, correcting, answering questions, tutorials, etc. For this reason, it suggests that the management team and the innovation coordination pass guidelines to all the teaching staff and give them support when they request it.
Online teaching is becoming more accepted by more people day by day. With the coronavirus pandemic still being popular, there’ s never been a better time to teach remotely. Technology advancements open doors to new ways of learning and teaching. Many traditional teachers are learning how to teach online. Meanwhile, the number of students looking to learn online is skyrocketing. This guide has covered some of the most important aspects of online teaching. You’ll be planning and delivering excellent online English classes in no time at all!