Distance Learning

Below are suggested best practices for distance learning. For personalized suggestions, professional development workshops, or consulting services, please use the contact page.

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Best Practices in Remote Learning Experiences

Organizational risk management and disaster preparation

Designing a flipped classroom

E-learning design consulting

Designing meaningful synchronous and asynchronous learning experiences

Curriculum design for the mixed format classroom

Best Practices for Planning Remote Learning Lessons

  • Consider which parts of the day are most important to your classroom culture and try to incorporate those into the online experience.
  • Research shows that curriculum is generally covered more quickly in an online environment.
  • Teachers should plan on extra time to plan a lesson.
  • Keep in mind the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Screen Time Recommendations: click here
  • Leave space for teacher-recommended activities to do with families; but also consider the family schedules of students. Be respectful of parents who are working or might not be used to teaching curriculum.
  • The flipped classroom model is excellent for remotely teaching elementary and secondary children: 1) assign a short reading, video, or screencast for students to watch independently; 2) provide guiding questions or materials to practice the skills; 3) schedule a short 20 minute video call for questions, informal assessment, or office hours.

Suggestions for meaningful synchronous learning opportunities:

Synchronous learning helps build class culture, but does not necessarily need to be long in duration. Some effective synchronous learning moments might include:

  • A short 20 minute check in
  • Optional online office hours for questions
  • Story time or a sing-along for young students
  • Virtual book group
  • Informal verbal assessment of a completed asynchronous activity.
  • A virtual field trip, such as a teacher live streaming from a hike, museum, or other location

Best Practices for Hosting Live Video Classes

  • Each time a student enters the video chat, say his/her name and ask how s/he is doing. In addition to creating a caring online environment, it will also help ensure the students’ video and mic are working.
  • Start each video chat session with a reminder of digital citizenship expectations. Here is a sample script: “Although we are in an online environment, please remember that online=offline and our classroom rules and honor code apply. We want to be respectful of one another, take care of our devices and class tools, and let an adult know if something doesn’t seem right.”
  • Pay attention to your environment (background, ambient noise, lighting, etc.) when filming a video. Try to limit distractions for those joining the live stream.
  • Balance synchronous with asynchronous learning time. 

Suggestions for meaningful asynchronous learning opportunities:

Make curriculum available in multiple formats, such as:

  • Short readings or articles
  • Digital worksheets, distributed and collected via Google Docs or Seesaw activities
  • Student discussion boards, hosted on Google Classroom or Flipgrid
  • Journals or diaries to document student progress
  • Using any of the Flipped Classroom tools suggested at the bottom of this webpage
  • Videos created by the teacher or pulled from an online curriculum such as Khan Academy or PurpleMath
  • Please remember to post a reminder of digital citizenship expectations in any student digital forum. Here is an example: “Although we are in an online environment, please remember that online=offline and our classroom rules and honor code apply. We want to be respectful of one another, take care of our devices and class tools, and let an adult know if something doesn’t seem right.”

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