5 Ways Teachers Can Master the Art of Online Teaching
Are you an online teacher or currently planning to switch to remote or online teaching? The trend of e-learning or what others may refer to as remote learning has taken root in the 21st century. Many educational institutions offer blended learning opportunities whereas many teachers are contemplating becoming full-fledged online educators.
Online teaching comes with its own set of benefits. For example, you set the timetable, no commuting is required, and there are greater chances of achieving a balance between work and personal life. However, when we flip the coin, teaching online requires mastery to become a successful teacher.
Virtual classes require a lot of input from a teacher’s side. Monitoring isn’t easy, ensuring engagement isn’t guaranteed, and a lack of physical contact may deter students’ learning senses. There are also higher chances of rendering learning passive which in the long run may affect students’ academic performance.
With all that, a teacher must think strategically about how to deliver virtual classes to meet the intended goals.
Mastering the Art of Online Teaching
Many teachers would love to master the art of classroom management, whether teaching online or in physical classes. Understanding the facets of managing a classroom can bring about great efficiency and reduce teacher burnout chances. Despite the physical classroom where there is direct contact between a learner and the teacher, the distance between both parties in the online setting may have a negative impact on the learning process.
Whether you teach online as a part-time or full-time teacher, you might be wondering how you can master the art of teaching online. The good news is there could be a lot of ways through which teachers can become effective online instructors, however, that highly depends on what you teach. At this juncture, we shall look at the foundational principles that govern the practice of online teaching.
- Understand Your Technology Needs
E-learning occurs via the internet and that means that the technology that a teacher utilizes matters a lot. Vividly, there are a lot of technical requirements involved in online teaching. Today there is also a range of apps and software that facilitate online learning and teaching. Leveraging these apps and software effectively requires a degree of digital literacy and this differs from one app to another.
Some apps are basic teaching apps like Zoom, TeacherKit, and Google Classroom, yet their features may differ greatly. Others are advanced teaching apps that require sophisticated skills in operating them. With all that, the type of technology or tools you choose for your online classes matters a lot.
Precisely, try to opt for technology and tools that are easy to use, even by your students. Opting for complicated technology may challenge you and your students in one way or another. They may find problems with the intricate functions and this may cause frustration. Also, you might need a technology that is scalable and one which serves both teaching and learning needs.
If you think certain technologies would be essential and aren’t familiar with them, then seek help on how to operate it. Many educators are leveraging a variety of technologies i.e VR (virtual reality), gamification, and AR (Augmented reality), among other software. Ensure to introduce technology that is user-friendly and one that meets your teaching needs.
Also, try to update your teaching skills. Stay on the lookout for new changes in the education sector for quick adaptability and efficiency. Digital literacy has become very important in the modern era as teaching is going digital.
Currently, e-learning is leveraged in educational institutions and the corporate sector. The latest statistics indicate the global e-learning market is expected to be worth $325 billion by 2025. Findings also assert that e-learning increases retention by up to 60%. To substantiate, another study in the UK revealed that over 36% of students asserted that completing a course online is much easier than in-person learning.
2. Plan in Advance
It’s not like you will pop up and leave students occupied with a test and then move out to get a textbook you forgot in your car! Virtual classes have their own type of drama! You will either choose to proceed with the class without it or find an alternative via an online search.
With that, planning is key to accomplishing short and long-term goals. Apart from preparing the teaching material, you must test the equipment, i.e, the microphone, the app, and the network connection. Online teaching also requires one to set up a classroom within a suitable zone. Get a comfortable desk, chair, and other necessary equipment like a laptop. Avoid zones that may distract your students.
Also, ensure to prepare the material you require during your virtual classes a day before. Precisely, it’s best to prepare for the unexpected. Find alternatives in case the technology fails or the internet goes off. Always show up prepared!
Planning helps online teachers to achieve SMART Goals effortlessly. Today there is a range of tools that enable teachers to plan, grade, and track student performance. This generally helps a teacher attain greater efficiency.
Key Note: Ensure to be organized. Being an organized teacher sets you apart from your counterparts. If necessary, formulate a unique teaching approach suitable for what you teach and the nature of your students. For example, you can encourage students to research the next topic before they show up.
Flipped classrooms optimize student learning periods and encourage personalized learning. As a teacher, you won’t feel worn out while explaining concepts to your students.
3. Push for Collaboration
Technology advances have made a diverse range of tools find their way into the education field. There is almost a tool or software for everything. Leveraging modern tools is an open road to smart working and efficiency. Currently, there is a range of collaboration resources available for online teaching and learning.
Collaboration tools save time and can allow different persons to work on the same file at the same time. These tools also allow streamlining of activities which eliminates time wastage and optimizes the available time. Team collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Webex enhance team productivity and are seeing an increasing demand worldwide.
Teachers can use these tools or apps to enhance student engagement and interaction. Many findings pointed to low student engagement in classrooms post the initial phases of the COVID-19 lockdown. Over 71% of students reported low engagement during classes and this impacts their academic performance.
Pushing for collaboration can eliminate a sense of isolation, boost engagement levels, and increase student interaction. Whether synchronous, or asynchronous, it is vital to cultivate grounds for proper communication, collaboration, and productivity in an online classroom. Create and coordinate virtual classroom activities using discussion boards, chats, or other collaboration tools to increase engagement.
It will not only motivate your students to learn, but it will also boost your energy levels and interest in online teaching.
4. Tap into the Power of Storytelling
As a teacher, did you know that learning tends to become boring at times? Don’t wait for that to happen in your virtual classroom.
With online teaching, it may also be challenging to ensure engagement and quality interaction between the students. However, a teacher can tap into the power of storytelling. Storytelling has been part of teaching for so long and you can also introduce the same to your classroom to motivate students.
It is an immersive teaching approach, just like VR. It increases engagement and classroom participation. Student engagement levels have been shown to lessen due to the amount of time they spent out of school due to the pandemic. But introducing storytelling to your class can give it an interactive aspect and improve learning experiences.
5. Use Different Mediums of Materials
Learners respond differently to learning styles. Some are very good at understanding concepts with visual aids while others would require extra help from textbooks. In order to create an all-inclusive learning environment, you must think about incorporating different learning mediums.
It will also reduce the impact of technical glitches on students’ learning experiences and retention levels. Making learning content available in different forms i.e online and offline can help them learn anywhere and at any time.
It is also a diverse teaching approach that helps all learners to feel empowered and supported in their learning journeys. Generally, ensure to provide offline learning material to support the live lectures.
Virtual classes or teaching online have become a norm in the modern century. Hundreds of teachers around the globe use the medium to pass on knowledge or skills to learners. However, being inadequate in the skill of online teaching can affect a teacher’s teaching experiences.
With that, you must be adept before embarking on online teaching or as you continue with your teaching journey. In this issue, we looked at different ways through which teachers can master the art of online teaching, regardless of what they teach. We hope they help transform your art of teaching online.