In the wake of the global Covid-19 pandemic, educators, families and students of all ages had to manage the sudden shift to distance learning. With many schools now deciding whether they’ll be holding in-person classes in the fall, we thought it would be best to start preparing for the possibility of more distance learning and find tools for everyone to succeed.
As educators, collaboration and organization are key parts of our jobs every day - but these skills have become even more important as we navigate schooling without our classrooms. We spoke to a group of educators to get their suggestions for organizing their lesson materials and collaborating within their departments while distance learning.
These solutions were thought of with educators for grades K-12 in mind. As part of our ongoing series on distance learning, we also have a list of creative distance-learning classroom solutions and 7 Key Considerations for educators preparing for a socially distant fall semester!
If there’s something you or other educators did that worked well for your students this spring as you navigated distance learning together, or any problems you’re still looking for solutions for, we’d love to hear about them in the comments below!
Get on the same page - Make sure your department has discussed the goals for the fall semester and that there are clear lines of communication open with administrators. With distance learning, your school’s expectations for academic performance and emotional support of students and staff should be clear. If there are accommodations your department needs, talk to your leadership before the semester starts to implement changes.
Communicate expectations - Publish the expectations that you and your school have for students and parents in a readily accessible location. An email with this information can easily be buried or disregarded, but a permanent document for reference that includes distance learning software details (and perhaps a link to troubleshooting tips) will help prevent you from replying to a dozen emails asking the same question.
Stay on the same page - Weekly check-ins or social zoom calls can help prevent teachers in your department from getting overwhelmed and keep communication clear. We usually get to see each other in the halls and collaborate in short meetings throughout the week - in the age of social distancing, we need to find ways to have these moments again! Even just a fifteen minute debrief at the end of the week can be helpful.
Manage your hard drive - With digital classwork, keeping files organized and your class rosters straight becomes more challenging. Services like Google Drive and Dropbox allow for virtual uploads and customizable folders, so your students can upload their work directly and you can keep your inbox clear.
Manage your projects - Apps like Asana and Trello offer individual or group project management services. With these, you can assign projects with due dates, delegate tasks, set follow up reminders and keep yourself organized with to-do lists. You can use them by yourself or collaborate with your department and administrators to meet your distance learning goals.