Learning from a Distance
Learning at home should not be solely online. Some students/teachers may choose not to use online technology, students may have limited access to devices or internet, for some young learners it is not developmentally appropriate to spend too much time online. For whatever the reasons these resources can help supplement a learning at home program.
ADLC offers core and complementary courses as outlined in Alberta Education’s programs of study for free to Alberta teachers.
Through Teacher Support (TS) services, teachers can access Alberta Programs of Study courses in whole or in part, for use in their teaching. Teachers can access print or online courses.
For students that have limited access to devices or the internet, ADLC offers printed materials. This service offers the flexibility of independent reading, instruction, and completion of assignments.
See the webinars below if you would like to learn more about using ADLC resources.
Accessing ADLC Online Resources (Beginner)
I Have an ADLC Resource...Now What? (Advanced)
Recommendations For Online Learning
Update Google Classroom or Microsoft Team regularly. You’ll need to give context for the week’s worth of work, including your objectives (in student-facing language), expectations for learning, a preview of the assignments, and where to find the resources, assignments, and assessments. Start with the end in mind: what do my students need to know and how will I know they learned this? If you do one big post with everything in it, you will help students plan out their week. If the unit spans several weeks, you will still need weekly updates with assignment checkpoints to ensure they are progressing and not waiting until the very end.
Screencast Your Update. A screencast with your voice will help make a switch to online learning feel less impersonal and more relational. Once you set up your Classroom or Team with the lessons of the week, we recommend that you screencast yourself walking students through your post, just as you would in class. This is your chance to tell them verbally what they will be doing that week/unit and what your expectations are. Post the screen cast in your Google Classroom or Microsoft Team. You may want to screencast a sample final project or a model of student work so students know what to expect.
Preload & Vary Your Resources. Preload all your resources and point to them in your weekly post. Consider the types of resources you expect students to access. It’s good practice to add docs or PDFs of readings and to vary the type of media (ie: screencasts, TED talks, video tutorials, etc.) to make up for you not being in front of them.
Assessments. Assessments with online students require careful planning. Traditional assessments can put remote students in a tricky position where a quick Google search makes cheating both easy and tempting. It’s our job to create a learning environment that sets students up for success rather than for a moral dilemma. This is a good time to consider other types of assessment. If a traditional test is out, how else can you evaluate what students understand? How else can you assess the development of a key skill? Project based learning, with multiple checkpoints along the way, is a great fit for remote learning.
Check in points. You need to make sure you are checking in with students twice each week. Attending virtual classes, posting to discussion boards, email, submitting assignments, etc., all constitute check-ins. The point is that you want to know students are working and not falling behind. If they are not checking in, we want to catch them early. Consider creating a “water cooler” discussion board for students to post questions and write about issues they are having.You can call it “Questions, Concerns, Comments” as an example. An open forum like this will allow not just you, but classmates to respond as well.
Set 'office' hours. Set up regular times when students can 'see' you to get support and clarification. Google Meet, Microsoft Meeting and Zoom are a great tool for this!
Flexibility. This is the time to adjust your curriculum to fit into a virtual school world. What is your comfort level? How will you use the synchronous and asynchronous tools? Make your plans, lay out your course, take a deep breath, and be flexible. If something doesn’t work, just like in your classroom teaching, adjust and go back or move on. Remember to reach out to your colleagues and tech team for support. We can do this...together!
Key Terms for Learning Online
Asynchronous - students learn at their own pace on their own time.
Synchronous - students learn together in real time.
You will want to use a combination of asynchronous and synchronous approaches. Not all students will be able to meet online at the same time. We recommend scheduling consistent times for synchronous learning and keep these sessions shorter. You could also record these synchronous sessions so that students that are unable to attend at the exact time can review the lesson or meeting later.
Screencast: A digital video recording of your computer screen, usually including audio narration. Screencasts are a form of instructional video. Screencastify, ScreenCast-O-Matic, Camtasia are common tools for screencasting.
Video Conference: A virtual meeting in which participants in different locations are able to communicate with each other with audio and video. Google Meet, Microsoft Meeting and Zoom are a great tool for this.
Online Classrooms and Learning Management Systems
Google for Education gives you access to Google Classroom and Microsoft Office 365 uses Microsoft Teams. Both of these applications allow you to communicate and distribute materials and assignments to your students. Consider what platform(s) do your students have access to and which ones are being utilized by the rest of the teachers in your school/district? Both Google Classrooms and Microsoft Teams would be suitable for students K-12.
Other platforms that are commonly used in high school classes are Moodle, D2L, Canvas and more. Before you start find out what tools are utilized in your school or district.
Resources to Get You Started with Google Classroom
Enable Distance Learning - Google Teacher Center
Google Classroom HELP Center - Step by step written instructions
32 Videos to Get Going in Google Classroom ~ Alice Keeler
BlackGold Engaging All Learners - Google templates searchable by grade and subject. Created by Alberta teachers.
Screencasting is a great was to present lessons to students online. These tools allow you to record your screen, web camera or both. Screencasts are useful for creating tutorials, training videos, video lessons or recorded presentations.
Google Meet is a great option if your school/district has a Google for Education Domain. Videos save directly to you Google Drive and the interface is simplistic and easy to use. Host a meeting with no guests and record your presentation.
This Google Chrome extension's free version has a 5 minute limit. You can save video files directly to Google Drive. Right now you can upgrade to no time limit using coupon code: CAST_COVID
Real Time Meeting Tools
There are times when you will want to bring your classes together in real time to deliver a lesson, engage in a discussion or work with students in small groups or one-one.
Things to consider:
Connect another monitor to your computer when you host the meeting. It makes it easier to share your screen and still see your students and monitor the chat.
Determine the appropriate length of the meeting. Holding attention online for an hour is difficult so keep meeting shorter.
Login ahead of students and greet them when they enter the meeting.
Set up class expectations and norms for the online meeting. This includes rules for the chat feature and for using the microphone. For example, mics need to be muted when others are talking. Additionally, remind students that the same rules apply to a virtual classroom as to the physical classroom. No taking or posting images/video of classmates and instructors to the web or to Social Media without permission.
When you are teaching, mute students microphones.
Record the live meeting for those that cannot attend would like to review it and post in your online classroom.
Pros of Google Meet are the simple layout and ease of use. Recordings are stored in your Google Drive. There are no breakout rooms, polling tools or whiteboard available in Google Meet.
Google Meet Grid View Extension - see everyone in the Google Meet
Nod Reactions Extension - Quick emoji reactions
Teams meetings is included with Office 365. It allows up to 250 participants, you can record and it includes chat.
Virtual Learning Series: Teaching Online Get Started with Microsoft Teams - EdTech Team Canada
Considerations for Assessment & Grading in a Pandemic, Online World
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to school closures globally and within Alberta. As educators are responding to the rapid changes required to support students learning from home, school leaders recognize that the ambiguity of our current situation can cause uncertainty and stress for teachers transitioning to supporting students learning from home, especially in the area of assessment and grading.
Thomas Guskey and Rick Wormeli are recognized leaders in educational assessment and grading practices. In this webinar, Guskey and Wormeli will share their insights about considerations for supporting teachers in assessment/evaluation for prolonged online learning.
Resources From School Authorities
Supporting Students with Diverse Learning Needs
This site includes specific guidance on how teachers can deliver lessons online to students in special education, which has been a challenge as schools transition to online learning during the coronavirus pandemic. Special education students include those with physical disabilities, emotional challenges and dyslexia.
Why do we need to tell students with autism about the Coronavirus? Because most students with autism already know about it. It doesn’t matter if they are young or older. They may have a lot of language or demonstrate limited communication skills. But in some way they probably know something is different.
For a child with autism, visual supports can help to decrease anxiety and increase independence across all settings. This toolkit provides you with all that you will need to help structure your child’s day at home, no matter his/her age.
Professional Learning Opportunities
This private group is designed for teachers . Our learning context has shifted rapidly to supporting learning from home. This is a safe space where we can share both questions and ideas with each other.