Tips to Support Online Learning from EMSB's Educational Services

Here are some tips to help you manage learning online, click on the arrows to learn more.

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Maintain Relationships

  • Organize meetups with students online (and in the classroom if possible) and have a discussion about a given topic

  • Ask a question on Google Classroom or Teams that requires research. Ask the students to comment/respond online

  • Make time to meet/talk with students one on one, when possible

  • Create a collaborative article/story using collaborative features of Google Docs.

  • Start the lesson with a brief personal question and use the chat box for doing a "waterfall' of answers. You can ask what is their favorite sport, if they have a pet, what did they have for breakfast, etc.

  • Try to plan as much as you can in advance as technology can be tricky.

    • Put all the documents in draft modes within your online classroom before you meet with your students.

Resource: 21 Social Distance-Friendly and Virtual Icebreakers Students Will Actually Have Fun With

Plan for Differentiation

A benefit of using an online space for your classroom is students can learn about the same concepts, but using various types of media.

Examples with a response-to-text activity:

  • Audio file: You may read a story excerpt

  • Audiovisual: Students may be able to view short films

  • E-book: Students are invited to read stories about a similar theme via the EMSB Virtual Library

  • Audiovisual: You could record yourself and read a story to them

Non-specific examples:

  • Narrated Slide presentation

  • Video of expert addressing a specific topic

  • Present concepts and explore them within MinecraftEdu

  • Live chat - Explicit teaching (try to talk for a maximum of 15-20 minutes at a time)

Key Questions to Consider When Planning Lessons

Maintain Engagement

    • Set a clear schedule for online meetings

    • As much as possible, have short meetings (10-20 min.) with a small group of 6-7 students at a time.

    • Provide short 5-minute breaks to allow them to get up.

    • Change it up! When possible, add an interactive activity or video.

    • Add an element of surprise, when possible by announcing an upcoming fun activity.

    • Use the chat box for doing a "waterfall" of answers

    • Use the chat box for verifying their learning:

      • Simply ask them to respond in the chat with a one-word answer

      • Ask them to type a number indicating their understanding from 5 to 1. 5 if they understand fully and 1 if they don't understand.

    • Keep your instructions short and specific - clear expectations

    • Foster a sense of belonging (at school and online as one group) - (Also see maintain relationships)

    • Scaffold the learning

    • Allow for multiple ways students can demonstrate their knowledge

    • Use the scheduling tools, avoid posting all assignments at once

      • Keep it organized - Ex. sections, folders, checklists, etc.

Offer Timely Feedback

Feedback can take many forms, it can be written, verbal or a combination thereof.

  • Audio recording of feedback on written text

  • Written annotations or comments in document

  • Screencast of concept explanation on tablet using screen recorder as a way to help students who misunderstood some elements

  • Share a video from a reputable source that explains what was missed to supplement your written or verbal feedback

  • One-on-one feedback or whole class feedback via video chat

Foster Good Digital Citizenship Habits

Here's an Example!

Teaching online

Learning in a classroom and online can be very different. When online, use direct instruction sparingly. It is recommended that the classwork be administered in small doses (maximum of 20 min). Try not to offer too much content and resources at once as it can overwhelm students. Keeping it simple is the best motto. Students shouldn't be in front of a screen all day.

There are many interesting digital tools out there, but technology alone is not a miracle cure. How you use a tool is more important than the tool itself. It’s a good idea to design learning situations where learners create content or solve problems. It’s better to have students actively engage with digital content than just absorb it.

Finally, it is strongly suggested that students interact with their peers from time to time. Nothing prevents group work online. At the EMSB, we have access to online tools that allow for collaborative work!

*Inspired from Favoriser l'interaction à distance

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