For many California districts, it is looking like students, teachers and administrators will be out of school for the rest of the school year. Despite not being able to return to the classroom, the learning will continue at home and virtually through the end of May and into June for many.

Teachers across the nation are grappling with moving toward blended learning models in their districts. Many are being asked to use technology on the daily to connect with their students and keep the learning moving forward.

In a recent article on Edutopia, writer Kareem Farah, offers some suggestions for teachers shifting to online teaching. Farah advocates for creating a sustainable and engaging distance learning experience for students through his four tips.

Simplicity is key.

Farah states, “It is critical to design distance learning experiences that have very clear instructions and utilize only one or two resources. It’s also best, when possible, to provide resources like readings as PDFs that students can always access.”

Establish a digital home base.

Students need a single digital platform that they can access any and all information needed for their digital learning. This can be through an already-utilized learning management system like Canvas or Google Classrooms. Farah states, “Students need to feel comfortable going to the same place to access the same tools. The farther away you are from your students, the more important it is to cultivate stability and practice norms.”

Prioritize longer, student-driven assignments.

You’ve probably spent more time than you normally would planning and preparing your lessons these last few weeks.To manage your time – and to keep you sane during all this – Farah recommends prioritizing longer, student-driven assignments. He states, “Focus on building toward long-term projects where students have autonomy and a clear set of checkpoints and deadlines that need to be met.”

Individual touchpoints are game-changers.

You can bet that your students are missing you – missing those human connections that happen at school. Maintaining those relationships with students – those irreplaceable connections – will motivate students during this time. Farrah recommends, “You can create these touchpoints through any medium you like: emails, video messages, phone calls, messages through your learning management system, comments on shared documents, etc. Create a structure and stick to it. Your students will see your investment and know that you care about them.”

For more information or to read Farah’s article in detail, click here.

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