In Part 1 of this series, we discussed struggles and strategies related to transitioning to online learning, and in Part 2 we discussed ways to keep students engaged with their classwork, teachers, and fellow students. As we conclude this series, I’d like to share some thoughts that the teachers I interviewed had about the changes COVID-19 is likely to create in teachers and their students. I’ve also included a list of online resources and tools that the teachers mentioned have been useful as they transition to online education.
Effect on Teachers
One of the common effects that teachers predicted on education was that there will be an increase in teachers who are skilled at integrating internet resources and technology into their classrooms. David Nino, music and Spanish teacher at Highland View Academy, summarized this effect well, saying, “This is an opportunity for teachers to get better acquainted with technology in education. It is an opportunity to make the leap into educational tools that have been fully used yet. There are many tools that can be helpful for teaching our classes.”
Beyond simply giving teachers more resources to use, becoming more skilled in using internet resources and technology can impact how we approach our teaching. For example, Martin Surridge, who teaches English, AP Literature, and AP Art History at Lodi Adventist Academy, noted, “I appreciate how web-based classes require me to think differently, to research new tools, and to communicate using cutting-edge technology and software.” Similarly, Laura Maas, science teacher at Paradise Adventist Academy, said that transitioning to online learning has helped her feel more equipped to flip her classroom and to transition to more project-based learning because of the problems with avoiding cheating in quizzes and tests in online learning. She summarized her experience thus far by saying, “It has required me to put into practice many of the teaching methods I have meant to try and know are related to better practice but haven’t had the time/motivation to organize and iron out practically.”
They also noted that going through this experience is likely to make teachers better prepared for future educational disruptions. Many teachers will likely find that they have strengthened their skills in adjusting their teaching methods to fit the changing needs of their students and in prioritizing the truly essential aspects of education over the daily details that sometimes distract us.
Effect on Students
These changes in how teachers approach their classrooms are likely to have positive effects on student learning, as they may have better access to the material through the new strategies that their teachers are learning.
Students will also have an opportunity to learn in a new way, according to Steve Moor, who teaches language arts and social studies at Hood View Junior Academy. It is becoming increasingly common for students to take online courses in college, or even online degrees, but many students have not had many opportunities to practice online learning in high school and may find those courses easier in college through their experiences now.
Another possible effect on students is an increase in resilience. Many have expressed concern about the effect of helicopter parenting on children in terms of resilience, and going through a situation where parents are not able to prevent difficulty and fear may help children to develop resilience skills, which could be a positive thing for them both personally and in the classroom.
We do not know what the future holds, but keeping in mind the possible positive outcomes can be helpful as we work through the difficulties of the present time. Giving ourselves grace and keeping in mind our priorities as teachers can help too. As Carol Bovee, a teacher at Sierra View Junior Academy said, “I tend to want to do things top quality and I love teaching and feel the responsibility of my students’ education resting heavy on my shoulders. I see online, distance learning courses that are polished and perfect and I have to give myself permission to be less than polished. I think connection with kids is most important.”
Resources for Online Teaching
Learning or Information Management Systems
- If your school uses a learning or information management system such as Moodle, Canvas, Jupiter, or RenWeb, make sure to explore its features first. You may find that you already have the tools for many of your needs built into the system that your students already know how to use.
- Can be used to livestream video lectures
- Can also be used for uploading prerecorded lectures
- Can be integrated into Google Classroom and class websites
- Consider publishing as unlisted and giving links to students
- Google Classroom and the G Suite for Education are particularly useful
- Quizlet – Creating interactive study material, learning activities, and games
- EdPuzzle – Annotating and inserting questions into YouTube videos
- Flipgrid – Creating video-based discussion boards.
- ThingLink – Annotating images with text, video, and audio commentary
- PearDeck – Creating fun interactive slideshows in Google Slides
- Penzu – Creating secure online personal journals
- Open Broadcaster Software – Video recording, screen capture, and live streaming
- In a Nutshell – YouTube science channel
- Vlogbrothers – YouTube science and social studies channel
- Home Science Tools
- Biology Corner
- National Science Teacher Association
- American Chemical Society
- SmartBoard document camera – can be used to show dissections
- Desmos.com – Online graphing tool
- Wolframalpha.com – Questions Engine