With a global pandemic at large, many people’s daily routines have been inevitably shuffled. People how once worked outside every day have to make major adjustments. Those who work in the office find themselves working from home. And even schools have changed their approach to that of remote learning. We as a society rely more on the Internet for formerly face to face tasks such as working and going to school.
As months go on, people have begun adjusting to what’s become the “new normal”. However, adjustments don’t come easily, and it can be hard for those who are used to one format to adjust to an online one. Especially in the case of teachers, online teaching can be quite a struggle. Teaching in a live classroom can be difficult as it is, but suddenly having to change to a format where you constantly look at a screen, it can be a challenge.
It’s Different But also the Same
While teaching online does come with its differences, many of the skills needed to be an effective teacher still carry over. There simply needs to be some adjustment and fine-tuning to make your teaching strategy effective over video streaming.
We’re going to look at some pointers that can assist you in creating an engaging atmosphere and make distance learning a great experience for both you and your students.
Invest in Your Equipment
Being that the computer will be the primary tool you’ll be using to connect to your student, it simply makes sense to invest in a good machine that will help you get through. Video and audio streaming technology have progressed far enough that we don’t need extremely high processing power to do it effectively- but it doesn’t hurt to have a reliable computer to help you.
Consider also the room you teach in. Having a plain background and a sound-proof or quiet room will be very helpful in reducing distractions in your lessons. Especially if you’re teaching something that requires intense focus. Giving singing, guitar, or drum lessons basically require you to have a quiet environment to teach effectively. There is software-based noise cancellation technology to aid you in this regard, so you don’t have to worry about spending too much on noise-canceling foam.
Prepare Your Slides
Presentation slides used to be optional; most if not all schools had a chalkboard or a whiteboard that the teacher can use to add a visual aid to their lecture. As time went on, more and more teachers are using presentation slides in place of writing on the board, and it might be for the better.
However, with the shift to an online platform, having visual aids are almost a requirement. Looking at a video of a teacher explaining something for 30 minutes to an hour doesn’t really make for an engaging class. As a teacher, you need to utilize slides to their fullest potential. Create easy-to-read slides with readable fonts (even on smaller screens). Instead of cramming as much information as you can in one slide, it’s better to spread them out. Having a lot of slides in your presentation file is perfectly fine, as you can send it later as your student’s studying material.
Utilize the Cloud to Your Advantage
The Internet is not just a place where you can meet, it’s also a place where you can store valuable data. And as we all know, file-sharing is an integral part of Internet culture. So why not take advantage of the cloud to better aid your students?
You can use cloud storage to host multiple files, from videos to audio files, from PDFs to JPEGs. This is a great opportunity for you to let your students access multiple files of the same thing. You can send an online version of a classic book that you’d like them to read, or store videos of your classes for later perusal. You can also make browser-based tests to make giving out tests and quizzes easier.
Using the tools available in the cloud is among the skills you need to develop to teach online better. While the skills such as test-making, material-gathering, and the like remain the same, the way you give them has changed.
It’s Still a Classroom
Being that the major change is the ‘feel’ of it all- being online versus face to face, a teacher can easily fall into the trap of thinking that it’s not like a classroom anymore. But it is. Whatever skills you had as a teacher before are still very much applicable in the online setting. Your communication skills, empathy, and technical knowledge are still very much a large part of your teaching arsenal. The change is but the way we reach our students, but all in all, it’s still the student-teacher interaction that matters the most.