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A Sure Fire Tip for Improving Remote Learning in September

Updated: Dec 16, 2020

It has been a while since my team, and I have written our blog newsletter. We are back! And we are excited to provide ideas, resources, and strategies to elevate you to your highest self.

At the beginning of remote learning, we were scrambling for anything we could get our hands on to make learning engaging and interactive for our students. Let’s face it, students wanted to connect with their classmates and their teachers regardless of the learning. And much of the learning suffered because the rug was pulled from under us. Educators at all grade levels had no time to prepare, research, plan. We have heard the saying all too often- teachers were building the plane while flying it.

In a recent research study, “One research paper estimates that the 55 million U.S. children who were out of school due to the coronavirus pandemic may have lost roughly a third of their progress in reading and half of their progress in math.” America’s pediatricians say schools should reopen for the fall. Microsoft News, June 30, 2020.

Although this may be true, I want to personally thank each and every teacher for spending countless hours trying to create lessons, activities, and interactions that kept students coming back for more. Some may have lost themselves in trying to save others. By this I mean, we became so consumed by trying to find the next best app, trick, tip, or tool to get students hooked on remote learning.

Teachers at every grade level, across all content areas, and from sea to sea explored many technological tools during the spring of 2020, and yes, during the pandemic. From using Google Meet, Zoom, SeeSaw and many others. One of my personal favorites is Flipgrid- “Empower Every Voice” and probably the one tech app that teachers, students, and parents felt most comfortable using. The features are easy to use, engaging and it allows for personalization. And of course, we love it because it’s free!

In planning for September, let us prepare ourselves to build the plane before we fly it. We know for sure that good teaching and learning is based on clear learning goals, explicit instruction, modeling, guided practice, developing grit through independent practice and formative feedback. Yes, formative feedback! Sounds like conferring -one on one conversations between student and teacher that lifts learning to the next level. This is where the student receives formative feedback to accelerate and deepen his/her learning.

Since remote or hybrid learning is the direction many schools are moving toward, why not use Flipgrid as a formative feedback video communication tool? Flipgrid is not just a tool for students to share their responses of learning, but a place for a teacher to provide formative feedback to each of his/her students on his/her work. During the recording, the teacher can affirm the student’s explanation and response to an assignment, AND provide a challenge, focused re-teaching, and/or next move to propel the student’s learning forward. Having a video with an explanation and modeling of how to go about a skill/strategy, the student can view it repeatedly and practice it at any time. By giving feedback in a video format it’s almost like being in the classroom. Read more in the Hechinger Report on providing feedback via video communication.

“Simply put, video carries more communication cues, such as tone of voice and facial expression, than a written message. Those clues make it easier for students to correctly interpret their teacher’s meaning.”

— Daisy Yuhas.

Students will hear and see your caring and authentic selves as you guide and support them in their learning one student at a time.

Whether it’s Flipgrid, Seesaw or Google Meet, just keep these three goals in mind. What is the learning interactions you want to replicate?

What is the tool you want to use to replicate the learning interactions? You don’t need to have more than one tool to do the same job. Less is more. Is the tool easy to use and headache free?

Keep smiling, keep learning and just teach, you know how!

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