How to Teach Better Online
The Internet has changed the teaching landscape forever. Teachers no longer have to be face to face with students in order to educate effectively. Students today were raised with technology, so communicating with their teacher through a webcam is easy. Digital teachers are on the rise and with a new way of teaching comes the need to adjust and improve. Here are six ways to expand and develop your Internet teaching ability.
-Continue the Conversation
The conversation shouldn’t stop when the webcam shuts off. Students today are very connected to the online world. Teaching can be supplemented through email, chat and text. Have the student write and email a summary, in their own words, of what they just learned. Have them send email updates on their progress and any questions they might have about the material. This keeps them engaged and thinking about their lesson throughout the days, weeks and months. A more engaged student is a better learner. Email is also a way to send students an assignment sheet. This keeps the student focused on their task list and helps teachers remember exactly what was covered.
-Be Creative With Your Equipment
It’s very easy to record a quick video message on Skype; the student will have a video message waiting for them when they log on. The student could also record a question they have for the teacher, or show something they’ve learned. Both student and teacher could record YouTube videos and upload them to the same channel. This is a personal and fun way to ask questions and creates an ongoing conversation. When teaching a science lesson, bring the webcam outside to discuss nature. In teaching golf lessons, have the student set up a tripod to hold the computer or smartphone so that you can see them swing.
-Make it Fun
Online teaching offers the opportunity for countless ways to turn an ordinary lesson into a fun experience for the student. There’s so many websites that offer free flash cards, online quizzes, and worksheets, depending on the subject. The best way to supplement virtual teaching is with more online learning. If you can’t find a website that offers what you’re looking for, why not make it yourself? Type up your lessons and have your students review what you’ve taught them online. Make printable pdf flash cards and upload them to your website or email them to students.
The best part of teaching remotely is the ability to be flexible. Find a lesson time that is the best for the student’s learning environment. Late at night when students are tired is not ideal. Just because you can be flexible doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a set schedule. The student should know exactly when you will be meeting over Skype, and you should always be prompt. However, also be ready to be flexible with your lesson plans. If the student isn’t processing certain information, switch up your game plan and keep them interested. Skype lessons work best when the teacher is ready and able to adjust at a moment’s notice. Virtual teaching will not be effective if the student is disinterested. Online learning should be based on the individual student’s fascinations.
Whether it’s for yourself, the student, or the student’s parents, accountability is important with virtual learning. The lack of face to face interaction might leave some participants wondering about their progress. It’s more important than ever to keep yourself, the students and the parents involved about the process and where each student is at. Assessment rubrics, email updates and online grading can help assist in this process.
-Build a Relationship
Most importantly, the best teachers form real relationships with their students. Just because you’re looking at a computer screen does not mean there isn’t a real person on the other side. This aspect of teaching will never change, no matter the technological advancements. Students can tell when a teacher is just doing their job and when they truly care about their students. If a teacher cares about other aspects of their lives, students will look forward to the lesson and strive to please. An encouraging teacher is a better teacher.