How to Make Your Educational Content Suitable for Online Teaching
The coronavirus pandemic took the whole world online, including education. Practically overnight, students and teachers were forced to adapt to the new normal by holding and attending classes online. This has radically changed the way students learn and study. If you’re a teacher, you have to find new ways to navigate this educational environment.
In this guide, we’re going to be talking about some tips on how to make your teaching materials online-friendly. With the uncertainties we’re living in today, you never know how long classes might be held online.
1) Omit things that don’t make sense in the online environment
Activities like group discussions, group projects, and tasks simply won’t make sense in the online environment. Also, you wouldn’t want to assign tasks or projects that are not aligned with social distancing measures. Therefore, you should focus on activities that rely on one student learning by themselves.
This means that you will need to set aside some time to adapt and transfer your content into one-person-friendly materials. If you’re having trouble with that, there are online resources about how to adapt a group task to an individual learning environment.
2) Perfect the verbal component
When you don’t have as much time and space to clarify all your teaching materials, you need to perfect the content you provide to your students. In other words, it has to be perfectly clear and non-ambiguous. To do this, you can use services like TopWritersReview (an academic writing service) or find content editing services to help you craft better teaching materials.
3) Rely on the visual
Now is the time to take one step back from all that reading and writing and make the best use of visual learning tools. You can use:
- videos – videos can be incredibly effective in the classroom, especially among the millennial and gen Z generations where videos are associated with entertainment and free time. And they can be even more helpful when we have to turn to online learning for a prolonged period of time.
- animated GIFs – this is one level above plain images and will revert your students’ attention back to the topic that you are talking about
- graphs, charts, diagrams – whenever you can find a chance to present something in a visual manner, go for it. Whenever you’re talking about numbers, figures, numerical trends or statistics, translate it into a diagram or chart.
There are also many other ways you can amplify learning by using visual methods. At ShowMe, for example, you can create beautiful iPad presentations and share them with your students.
4) Promote discussions
One of the common mistakes teachers make in online learning is that they let frontal teaching take center stage and ignore discussions. After all, discussions can be a bit awkward if everyone is speaking at the same time, while someone’s dog is barking in the background.
Nevertheless, it’s possible to host fruitful discussions if you plan in advance. Just like with direct teaching, you have to prepare thoroughly. Improvising might end up in discussions that are a flop, where no one really listens to anyone else. Firstly, you have to be clear about the rules. Before starting, discuss the following:
- what is the format of the discussion – for/against or simply opinion-sharing or something else
- your role in the discussion – are you simply a moderator or will you have an active role in the discussion
- how someone can start – set a strict rule on when and how someone can start talking. On tools like Zoom, nowadays, there’s a “Raise Hand” option which users can click on to get noticed and called on by the moderator.
- how someone can reply – determine whether the same process is valid for repliers or do they have a different set of rules for applying
5) Use social media and chats
Finally, a great resource you can use to make your educational content suitable for online teaching is social media and messaging platforms. Many teachers nowadays use WhatsApp or Viber groups to stay connected to their students and share some of the learning resources.
It’s also a great idea to form a social network group, such as a Facebook Group. If you’re worried about privacy or sharing of your materials, you can make the group secret or closed to the public. Just like in online discussions, it’s important to set clear rules and community guidelines for your teaching groups.
Using messaging apps, chats, and social media for learning is a great way to connect with your students. Before the coronavirus pandemic, using WhatsApp, Viber, or Facebook Messenger for teaching was considered ‘edgy’ and ultra-modern. Now, thanks to the pandemic, it’s practically a regular way of teaching.
With online teaching and the coronavirus pandemic, the famous adage “Adapt or perish” has proven to be entirely true. Teachers simply have to live up to the task of transferring their entire teaching process online. Currently, the whole world is under social distancing measures, but we can never know how long it’s going to last.
If we look at it from an optimistic perspective, maybe this kind of push is just what the education industry needed. Before this, with all the efforts of introducing new tools, resources, and teaching models, education was still based on traditions that were centuries old. Now, we’re taking a leap that will most likely take us where humanity has never been before, at least education-wise.
About the author: Daniela McVicker is an educational blogger and content editor. She has a master’s degree in English Literature, and she is truly passionate about learning foreign languages and teaching. Her articles for a number of resources like this review of Grabmyessay are aimed at helping students reveal their writing talent and find the true calling.