When schools and universities closed campuses earlier this year, educators and students struggled with the shift to remote learning. If educators weren’t already using some method of remote learning, such as flipped or hybrid, they soon discovered that facilitating instruction from afar was quite a challenge. Especially for those in continuing, higher, and adult education institutions, giving lectures, conducting lab experiments, and having class discussions became nearly impossible. Instructors had to alter how they were accustomed to presenting material so that it was more engaging over a video conferencing application. For many, this was a frustrating and overwhelming addition to the pile of tasks they were already having to deal with, especially if they were not accustomed to incorporating tech into their instructional plans. There was also the concern that students were not feeling as connected and motivated with the lack of interactivity and faculty contact.
Not to state the obvious, but education is in a time of dynamic change. This change will affect not just this school year, but long into the future of what education may be for our children and grandchildren. It is important, then, to rethink how education leaders, teachers, and parents/guardians prepare for each school year so that students can still meet, or exceed, learning goals and objectives. Beyond what can be seen on paper, education also supports a child’s need to experience, explore, and apply learning to real-life now and in the future. To do this successfully, teachers who are now dealing with a virtual classroom environment must adjust their teaching practises. Why? Because remote learning requires specific skills such as conducting classes using video conferencing, sharing content in different ways, and providing feedback on student assignments and projects.
With COVID-19 cases on the rise in many areas, a number of schools are opting for total remote learning when school starts. What does this mean for parents who have young ones starting school for the first time? If the anxiety about starting school in person during a worldwide pandemic wasn’t enough, the prospect of starting totally online can be overwhelming. Often, parents see entering school (Early Years to Key Stage 1) as an opportunity for their children to learn social skills, understand rules and routines, and set a foundation of basic skills that will prepare them for the next 12 years of learning.
We’re getting deeper into summer and most of us are still staying home because of coronavirus stay-at-home guidelines. In most cases, this much of a challenge since a large yard or a nearby park can offer space for getting the wiggles out. But, for children that also want to keep their minds sharp (or for the parents that want this for them), there are free online learning resources for every type of learner at any age. Below are 25 online resources that might spark some interest. So, grab a bowl of ice cream and check these sites out.
It seems that in just a few months, anyone interested in or having to do with education is trying to understand the differences between distance learning, online learning, blended learning, flipped learning, virtual learning…you get the idea. Many of these terms have been used interchangeably with similar descriptions, but there are differences. For example, what’s the difference between a virtual learning environment and a virtual classroom? Then, once a difference has been identified…so what?
It’s doubtful that you haven’t already heard of the concept of blended learning, or possibly have already implemented a blended learning model. But, just in case, this approach combines face-to-face learning with online learning experiences. Basically, blended learning changes what has been traditionally ‘front-of-class’ style of lesson delivery to incorporating digital tools and features to create a more interactive and engaging experience. Blended learning used to be a novel idea that some teachers saw as an innovative opportunity to explore, but it has become more necessary as learners – digital natives – spend more time creating and viewing content on web-enabled devices (think Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok).