The outbreak of COVID-19 has a significant impact on every aspect of social and economic life worldwide. As social distancing is considered by the World Health Organization as one of the most important measures to slow down the spread of the virus, all activities that required the physical presence of many had to be limited or to be performed remotely via digital means. With the number of new cases still growing, there is a clear necessity for every organization to be prepared to operate on a remote basis during 2021.
Particularly in the field of education, there are some special challenges that need to be overcome for a transition from in-place to distance learning without compromising the quality of the educational process. Education is traditionally considered as an in-person practice because the direct interaction between the educator and the students is crucial in most cases. However, digital media nowadays offers advanced solutions for distance learning in order to overcome this lack of physical contact. Such technological solutions can be utilized both by teachers and students.
The role of teachers is particularly important in distance learning. However, teachers often face issues with technological know-how, as they do not feel comfortable using digital media in their work. In the Digital Education Action Plan (DEAP) of the European Commission (EC), it is mentioned that 60% of educators had not participated in distance learning practices before the COVID-19 pandemic, but 62% believed that they improved their digital skills during the outbreak and more than 50% aim to act in order to further improve them.
As teachers often act as educational role models for their students, they should put effort into improving their digital skills to actively show the importance of having a strong attitude towards knowledge. Adapting to new digital infrastructure can be extremely challenging for people outside the tech industry. However, enthusiasm, positive thinking, and a problem-solving attitude are essential for teachers to effectively practice distance learning, positively influence their students and improve their educational methods overall, regardless of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here are the 3 best practices to help teachers in their technological journey:
- Utilize your institution’s student information system (SIS)
Whatever management system your school is using, learn to use the tools, and configure the settings to make the most out of them. For instance, you may use your school’s calendar functionality to be organized, create online sessions for synchronous learning, distribute online quizzes or even assignments to students for asynchronous learning, and much more. In case there is an offer of a mobile app, do not forget to use it. Sync your devices so that reminders are appropriately marked as read or unread and check the settings to minimize the notifications that you do not care about. Classter offers the abilities of both an SIS and a learning management system (LMS), plus a mobile app for more convenience.
- Use video conferencing tools
Video conferencing tools are increasingly being used by educational institutions of all levels, to execute synchronous virtual classes. Such tools have been around for quite some time but were mainly utilized by businesses in order to hold live meetings among remote teams. This resulted in a lack of adjustment to the specific needs of education. However, the two most popular video conferencing tools for educational purposes are Zoom for Education and WebEx.
- Create interactive media content
Online authoring tools can assist you in creating engaging learning content and interactive online courses. Such tools are becoming increasingly popular among educational institutions for the preparation of educational material, making extensive use of multimedia content and interactive experiences. One of their key advantages is their easy deliverability to students, with minimum requirements in terms of infrastructure, as most of the time, an up-to-date browser is enough. Some of the most famous tools in this area are iSpring, Easygenerator, and isEasy among others.
To succeed and win at digital learning you do not only need the technical know-how but the correct mindset and a can-do attitude. Despite the devastating impact of the crisis and the lockdown on the emotional well-being of people, it is very important to maintain a high level of focus towards learning and to cultivate this attitude in students. There are certain tools that can help in this direction.
Here are 3 best practices to help students with digital learning:
- Maintain motivation by participating in teams
Working in teams has never been more important. The ability to work in teams remotely can be a source of motivation. This COVID-19 era has given rise to many useful tools that can enable users to operate in teams remotely just like normal only this time through digital collaboration tools. Such solutions have become very popular between educational institutions, for virtual classrooms, collaboration, and teamwork among students. One of the most trustworthy collaboration tools is Microsoft Teams, in addition, there are other similar tools, including Slack, Workplace, Confluence and others.
- Stay focused during classes
Implementing audience engagement tools to remote classes will transform the educational process and keep the class engaged through participation. Most of these tools provide detailed analytics and reporting, which can be a valuable source of feedback regarding the virtual classroom. Two of our very best suggestions in this area include Glisser and Nearpod.
- Manage daily routine and tasks
An online calendar can keep us all on time with our tasks and responsibilities. Online calendars are not specifically targeted to students or educational institutions, but they can be very useful to students and teachers to organize their daily schedules. Classter’s Calendar is such a solution specially designed for the educational sector.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a significant number of challenges in every aspect of our society and education is one of them. However, recognizing the importance of its role can help everyone overcome the difficulties arising from the inevitable lockdown and the social distancing policies and practice effectively distance learning. A strong attitude towards learning is key for both teachers and students. Regardless of the crisis, educational technology is a very powerful tool that can help expand the capabilities of traditional learning methods and can help both teachers and students become more comfortable with the use of digital infrastructure.
There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has created ripples in our reality and has left all aspects of life and business in disarray. However, the correct way of responding to such drastic changes is by adapting to the situation with the help of technology. The need for people to socially distance has led to the rise of a distance approach to all everyday activities for a large number of people. One of the many activities that require social distancing is learning. Distance learning has slowly become the norm for most educational institutions around the world.
For Students and Teachers, a strong attitude towards learning is key for the success of distance learning. Regardless of the crisis, educational technology is a very powerful tool that can help expand the capabilities of traditional learning methods and can help both teachers and students become more comfortable with the use of digital infrastructure.
There is a huge variety of tools out there and identifying the right tools for your teaching will need careful consideration of multiple factors including the number of participants, learners’ level of technology access and literacy, training content and learning objectives, and of course budget. If you think that a combination of tools is still too complicated or expensive for your needs, then consider Classter All-in-One Student and Learning Management System. Feature-rich, Classter can help you manage your online classroom with quizzes and surveys, marking workflows, attendance keeping, and much more. Most importantly Classter can integrate the systems your academic institution already uses, e.g. Zoom and WebEx, and create an even more powerful and effective tool.