The end of summer is drawing near, and the return to school is upon us. With the ongoing conundrum of returning to the classroom full-time, implementing the hybrid method, or going completely remote, parents and educators across the globe are at a standstill on preparing for the school year. As questions without answers continue to arise, one thing is undoubtedly; students and teachers will return to teaching and learning whether in person or virtually.
Since the abrupt school closures in March, educators sprung into action to transform their personal spaces to open instructional environments with limited resources. Yes, believe it, or not teachers lack resources. However, they made the best of different circumstances and continued upholding their professional responsibilities.
For many, adapting to new ways of instruction was both stressful and stimulating. Discovering new or refreshed tools online pushed many teachers out of their comfort zone while simultaneously created a new level of comfort. Educators have used several virtual teaching tools this past school year that helped implement the best virtual practices for student engagement. If you are unsure of what virtual resources to use, check out the list below.
Virtual Learning Resources
Canvas- this online resource allows teachers to create courses, content, and assessments. Instructors can create course syllabus; students can submit assignments, and teachers can post grades.
Nearpod– you can use Nearpod for live collaboration with your students. You can also create PowerPoint lessons for students to actively engage.
TikTok-create teacher TikTok videos to introduce a new objective, procedure, or as a model for a potential virtual project. Make learning fun for everyone.
FlipGrid – Flipgrid is an easy way to host class discussions using any content for all grade levels. Students can engage in debates, projects, and video journals.
Bamboo Learning– this educational game shows historical figures from various fields: art, film, geography, and social justice.
BrainPop – this online tool hosts interactive direct instruction while giving students lessons to review and challenge their knowledge using various content areas.
Many online programs are free for schools during the pandemic, while others require a monthly subscription. This list is just the tip of the iceberg for educators to create engaging learning environments for students from home. While this is not how many of us hoped the school year would go, the reality of it is that this is where we are. Whether we are full-time online, hybrid, or face-to-face, virtual learning has become a part of the new norm.
Education, as we know it, has changed, but we have to make the most of it. Teaching online can be engaging if we allow it to be. While educators across the globe would prefer personal interaction with the students, we have to take into account the bigger picture, the health, and the safety of everyone. Think about it, would you rather risk your health, your loved ones, and the students you love for a few days of in-person instruction? Alternatively, would you rather have virtual classes where you still interact with your students safely?
Contributing writer, Liz Lampkin is an author, speaker, and lifestyle writer. You can find her on social media @Lizlampkin.