Your Essential Guide To Remote Teaching Tools
Apprenticeship & Training expert, working in technology training , IEPA for City and Guilds
People across the UK and wider world are experiencing unprecedented anxiety and uncertainty as the Coronavirus continues to spread. There are continuous media reports about the financial and emotional impact, particularly in light of the imposed UK lock-down.
It's expected that previously unaffected communities will feel the full impact over the coming months. However, it's essential that we retain a mixture of rationality and control; following the principles of stoicism and not letting ourselves be defined by panic.
The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately. Seneca
We can each make a positive difference by remaining calm, following the policies laid down by our political leaders, and controlling what is within our power.
Adults across the UK and the wider world have a shared responsibility when it comes to setting a positive example for the next generation to follow. We must do what we can; washing our hands on a regular basis, staying at home where possible, adhering to rules of social distancing, and looking towards a positive future.
Educators have a particularly important role to play in continuing the provision of learning and personal guidance. This may be a great challenge, given the closure of schools and educational institutions for the foreseeable future. However, it is a challenge that we can meet together using the types of digital tools highlighted in this guide.
Feelings of anxiety, confusion, and anger are likely to be inflamed as Coronavirus continues to spread. However, there will be the opportunity to freely express such feeling using the creative tools at our disposal. A great sense of catharsis and emotional relief may be felt in the writing of blogs exploring our thoughts and feelings.
Educators can provide access to blogging tools and opportunities for sharing with other students across the world. Personal reflections and messages of support may be shared for an increased sense of community. Students can develop their digital skills; incorporating pictures and videos created away from the physical classroom.
There can be no substitution for direct personal contact. However, video-based tools such as Skype and Zoom can be particularly helpful when it comes to bridging the physical divide. Despite the considerable set up time and reliance on rapid internet connection these digital tools do allow for a range of remote learning opportunities.
Teachers can deliver lessons from the safety of their own homes, engaging in discussions with the connected students. There is plenty of scope for real-time collaboration, with screen and file sharing functions being integrated.
Apps such as Facebook and Instant Messenger are extremely helpful when it comes to the digital connection of educational communities. While these tools have commonly been used for personal purposes, there is plenty of scope for real-time teacher led discussions. Integration with productivity tools such as Google Drive and Sheets provides the opportunity for interactive work feedback and collaboration.
Digital whiteboard tools such as Explain Everything can be used for the creation of media-rich presentations and engagement of distanced students. The user-friendly design functions allow for the inclusion of appealing images and video elements. Presentations can be recorded and shared remotely for the encouragement of student discussions and feedback. Whiteboard sessions can also be digitally stored and accessed at the student's convenience.
Provided reliable access to the internet there is plenty of scope for the setting of written student assignments. Collaborative tools such as Google Docs allow for the digital submission and review of student work. Students can watch and pose questions as the teachers review and edit their work in real-time. Additional information about the educational use of Google's tools can be accessed via their temporary online hub (https://teachfromhome.google/intl/en/).
The remote delivery of lessons and activities will be a new experience for teachers across the world. Mistakes will inevitably be made, and essential lessons learnt. Those teachers who are particularly keen to improve online learning experiences can use tools such as Camtasia for the recording and review of lessons. Edits can also be made in preparation for sharing with the wider educational community.