As we approach two full years of Online learning we see what works and what doesn’t
Teachers and students alike were thrust unexpectedly into a bizarre new reality of virtual classrooms, and the results were predictably chaotic. Even now, with many students once again learning in person, the specter of hybrid learning looms large in the face of localized COVID surges.
Being on Zoom all day doesn’t work
Amid the chaos at the start of the pandemic, districts jumped straight into day-long Zoom instruction. That made sense at the time, but by now we should be doing better. Extended Zoom sessions just aren’t a great way to teach because they aren’t a great way to learn.
We all know lengthy Zoom sessions cause fatigue and anxiety. But they can be especially hard to follow — or even outright alienating — for students with shoddy Internet service or without good workspaces in their homes to engage with a video call.
Embrace asynchronous learning
Done right, asynchronous learning can be powerful. A combination of asynchronous and synchronous sessions can keep students engaged.
For example, when doing projects, structure the lesson so students are introduced to the project synchronously — say, over a live Zoom call. Then have them work on their own piece of the project asynchronously, outside of the live video environment. At the end of the project, bring everyone back together for a synchronous discussion of what students did and learned.
Don’t mix and match lessons across learning platforms
There are a lot of online learning platforms out there that students can use to practice math skills, or study virtual flash cards, or learn from simulations. In the rush to find which ones worked best for their students, many districts purchased licenses across a variety of learning technologies. This, in turn, sometimes led to teachers mixing and matching individual units — a lesson on one platform today, a lesson on a different platform tomorrow — resulting in less effective classrooms.