Suggestions for Digital Learning

As of March 16, 2020 with the closing of school due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, education in Wake County has changed- probably forever. Students, teachers, and families are all needing to navigate uncharted waters of digital learning. We are learning how to become flexible, adaptable, creative, and innovative in ways that we have never needed to before. But you all know this part of the song.

Below are some tips for families and teens to feel as much success as possible in the current learning atmosphere.

Whether your student is within the virtual academy, tracked out for rotation, or simply studying at home for an upcoming assessment, the learning space is essential. Dedicating a spot in your home that is as free as possible from distractions will help your student in paying attention to classes and coursework.

Here's a checklist that can help you create an optimal learning space:

  • Use a table and chair instead of the bed, floor, or couch

  • Find a location with natural light, which encourages alertness

  • Have all learning materials available- paper, pens, computer, headphones, textbooks

  • Does the space encourage accountability? Is hiding behind a closed door helping or enabling?

  • Good learning spaces are rarely cars with friends, vacations with families, or while running errands

Limiting distractions can be hard when learning from home. It's easy to quick grab a snack, wander toward NetFlix, or check out TikTok. Psychology studies have shown that distractions and multitasking negatively impact productivity and retention rates. Although we say that we can do two things at once, the reality is that we can only concentrate on one thing at a time. So, if you are texting your pal about future plans and reading your history assignment, it will take you longer to read and you will retain more.

Here's a checklist that can help you limit distractions while learning and studying:

  • Eat a breakfast before classes begin, that way you won't be distracted by hunger or want to head to the kitchen while your teacher is talking

  • Talk with other people in your household to be sure everyone is aware of class times

  • Create a daily routine that includes your direct instruction times, homework & studying time, teachers' office hours, social media time, and time for being outside & exercising

  • Leave your phone across the room and close out additional browser windows

  • Noise cancelling headphones can be helpful if your learning environment is active

Ups and downs happen every school year. But when we are learning a new way, there could be a few extra bumps in the road. Prepare yourself to need some additional help from teachers, parents, and other adults in your life and work on becoming an advocate for yourself.

One of the biggest challenges for your teachers in an online setting is the inability to read body language. We rely on body language to help us know when our students are happy, sad, confused, disappointed, or concerned. When video cameras are off in virtual learning, teachers feel as disconnected as our students. We can't walk over to your desk or meet you at our classroom door to check in. This also means that we need your help in helping you.

Here's a checklist that can guide you toward receive the help that you need:

  • Be brave and ask questions in class. The likelihood is that if you have a question, another student does as well.

  • If you are working on an independent assignment during direct instruction, use that time to check in with your teacher. Ask them to open another Google Meet if you want to speak privately.

  • Use your teachers' office hours. All instructors at Broughton post their office hours through the BHS website

Engagement is of the utmost importance in learning. If you are engaged in virtual learning, turn on your camera, raise your hand, participate in the activities, and are focused during classes, you will do well in your courses.