Tech Tips

Tips for educators making the switch to virtual learning

This content has been adapted from a few different sources including Howard Rheingold's Resources for Teaching Online and The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Going Online in a Hurry: What to Do and Where to Start.

As schools shift to digital programming, you can apply the same process to adapt your business in similar ways. You might need to spend some time learning the basics of video, livestream, and all things digital media but many of these tools are available to educators for free! 

If you’re feeling nervous about going digital, take a deep breath. Every service we’ll cover has detailed documentation on how to use these digital resources to teach online. 

Tips for educators making the switch to virtual learning

  1. Teaching online will require learning — and that’s OK.
  2. You’ll have to navigate lesson plans and build relationships online, which can be different than when you’re teaching face to face in a classroom or studio. 
  3. Think about class size.
  4. What activities do you currently offer and what is your enrollment capacity? When teaching online, you’ll have to be cognizant of how many students and caregivers can attend your video classes. 
  5. Think about whether your content is better when interactive or prerecorded.
  6. Think about your content. Do your classes require students to learn a recipe? Are you teaching language in a group setting? Are you teaching songs that require call-and-response? Depending on the role that interactive elements play in your lesson plans, you can decide whether a live class or prerecorded class suits your needs. 
  7. Think about questions.
  8. How do you plan to take and respond to questions? Is your program reliant on students engaging with one another? Make sure that your digital methodology takes these into account with time for Q&A and a chat option.
  9. Create a framework that encourages at-home participation.
  10. This involves adapting your lesson plans to a digital space. Paint a picture of what you want to accomplish, the tools you want to use, and notes on how you can use those tools.
  11. Test, collect feedback, test, repeat.
  12. Digital classes are new and might require testing. Remember that this will be a learning experience that will help you grow your skill set, community, and business down the road. 

Resources for educators going digital

The resources below are articles written by industry experts, esources published by universities, and crowdsourced Google Docs from educators around the world. Explore their pages to discover how educators around the world are working together to make digital classrooms empowering and impactful. 

The Chronicle of Higher Education: Going Online in a Hurry: What to Do and Where to Start
Michelle D. Miller, Professor of Psychological Sciences at Northern Arizona University, explores the resources available to educators to help them adapt to the COVID-19 outbreak. Read this for an expert introduction to online education. 

CUNY and Dartmouth: Teaching in the Context of COVID-19
This is a co-authored and ever-evolving resource started by academics. Use this document to discover resources organized for educators, general information about digital education, open source tools, and inspiration for assignments. 

Stanford Technology Specialists on Teaching Effectively During Times of Disruption
This resource is especially helpful for educators who teach courses with core learning objectives and benchmarks. Although specific to Stanford, there are great videos and information on digital resources available for educators. 

Vanderbilt University: Resources for Just-in-Time Online Teaching
A quick shift to teaching online can feel disruptive. This article from Vanderbilt University has resources on how to carry continuity from your in-person classes to your digital classes. It also highlights video conference programs, screen capture tools, and other resources that are accessible for educators. 

University of Oklahoma: Be There with Blogging: A Guide for Teachers
If you’re not comfortable with video, this blog post will help you understand how blogging can help you communicate with students and bring your courses online. If you already have a blog, read this to see how you can leverage it as a class communication channel. 

Crowdsourcing: Teaching Online With Care
This document is unique in that it can be edited by any educator. It contains narratives from educators, notes on teaching online with care, links to the social media of leading digital educators, and notes on non-technical challenges and how to overcome them. This resource is great for educators looking for a sense of community. 

University of Massachusetts: Online Tools for Teaching and Learning
This site empowers educators to discover tools that are perfect for teaching and learning. Every page details a different product, pricing, ease of use, and ways to use a specific tool to teach. For a running list of tools, bookmark this page

The Sawyer guide to online education

Check out our resources for educators creating digital classes. 

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