Teaching Remotely: A Practical Guide
For the past three months, the COVID-19 crisis has caused massive disruptions in every corner of our society. Schools have been heavily impacted, some closing for the year, and others transitioning to Emergency Remote Learning.
As we close one school year and begin to plan for the next, we still do not know what that year will have in store for us. We may be back to school face-to-face with a new normal. We may be online. We may use some combination of these models at different points during the school year. The process of preparing for all of these possibilities can seem overwhelming.
Whether you have been teaching remotely for three months, or are just getting started -- Remote Learning at the beginning of the school year is going to be a new experience for all of us.
Over seven weeks, we will cover best practices, resources, and strategies to set your Remote Learning classroom up for success while providing you plenty of opportunities to brainstorm and share with colleagues. We will be providing specific focus throughout the course on supporting students with limited connectivity and for students with learning differences and other unique needs. These strategies will be focused beyond the COVID-19 crisis and will support you in bringing remote learning to your classroom whenever it is needed. At the end of the course, you will develop an action plan for your Remote Learning Classroom.
- Define Remote Learning: We will define what Remote Learning is and is not, how it is different from traditional "distance learning", and review the Instructional Design Principles for Remote Learning.
- Establish Norms for Remote Learning: In this unit, we will discuss how to set up classroom procedures in a Remote Learning context, including sending and receiving content, maintaining connections with students.
- Bring SEL to Remote Learning: Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) focuses on helping learners understand and manage emotions, set goals, set and achieve goals, show empathy for others, maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. In this unit, we will learn how to bring SEL practices to your Remote Learning classroom, and how to identify and address the social and emotional needs of your students.
- Maintain Connections with Students and Families: In the time of COVID-19, many families and students are struggling with daily realities including managing working from home while teaching students, having to go to work while students have to remain home, food insecurity, family illness, or loss of income. This unit will cover strategies to support and maintain connections with families in uncertain times.
- Select Digital Content: With all of the resources available on the Internet, selecting high-quality, appropriate content for all students can be a challenge. This unit will support locating, identifying, and vetting content to pick the best resources for your Remote Learning classroom.
- Support Populations with Special Needs: This unit will address and provide strategies to support students with disabilities, learning differences, English Language Learners, and other students with unique academic and social-emotional needs.
- Provide Feedback and Assessment: This unit will dive deep into providing high-quality feedback to students remotely through a variety of media. We’ll also dig in to how to assess student learning and adapt instruction in new ways.
As you engage in supporting your own professional development, there are many ways to demonstrate your learning and earn recognition through this course that can be applied towards continuing education units (CEUs) through your own local educational agency.
A certificate of completion for 10 hours of professional development (1.0 CEUs) will be provided to participants who: (1) verify upon completion of the course that they spent at least 10 hours participating in the course; (2) participate in the discussion forums (two per unit) by adding creating a posting with thoughtful content and providing a substantive response to at least one other participant's post (i.e., not just saying, "I agree"); (3) complete the surveys at the end of each unit.
You can submit the certificate to your local agency with a request for CEUs. Granting of CEUs will be subject to the policies and procedures of your state and local agency.
Certificates will be available in Unit 6 for download after the requirements are met. Participants have until September 1 to complete requirements to qualify for a certificate of completion.
Mark Samberg, EdD is the Director of Technology Programs at the Friday Institute and an Assistant Teaching Professor of Learning Design and Technology in the College of Education at NC State. In this role, he supports technology and digital learning programs within the Friday Institute including leading our online courses initiative, as well as providing professional learning and technical assistance on technology infrastructure on digital learning for states, schools, and districts. Mark focuses specifically in the areas of digital content, online learning, cybersecurity, and technology procurement and policy. Prior to joining the Friday Institute, Mark taught high school mathematics and was a school Instructional Technology Facilitator and district Chief Technology Officer. Follow Mark on Twitter @mjsamberg.
Shayla Rexrode, MEd is a Senior Research Scholar with Friday Institute's Professional Learning and Leadership Collaborative. In her role, she creates customized professional learning opportunities for educators while also engaging with district and school leaders to strategically plan for the transition to personalized and digital learning. Since the transition to Remote Learning, she has focused on understanding the diverse and complex needs of students, teachers and families in order to develop online resources that address the “whole student.” Prior to joining the Friday Institute, she was a classroom teacher, district administrator, served as an education consultant with SMART Technologies and most recently as Partnership Manager with Discovery Education. Follow Shayla on Twitter @shaylarexrodeEd.
Jaclyn B. Stevens is a Research Scholar with the Friday Institute's Professional Learning and Leadership Collaborative. In her work, she supports educators and leaders in adaptive student-centered approaches to provide concrete, quality, purposeful, reflective and on-the-ground personalized learning supported through technology to work towards equity for all learners. Her mantra is to adapt, not adopt - fostering digital initiatives to transform professional learning through changes in pedagogical shifts and meeting the needs of all learners to champion creativity and innovation. Thanks to Americorp, Jaclyn was able to make the shift from media designer to educator in 2005. She has taught middle school English Language Arts, high school digital media, and supported the creation of Warren New Tech High School in rural NC prior to joining the Friday Institute. Follow Jackie on Twitter @jaclynbstevens.
- Self-directed learning, through personalizing your experience by identifying your own goals, selecting among a rich array of resources, and deciding whether, when, and how to engage in discussions and activities to further your own learning and meet your goals.
- Peer-supported learning, through engaging in online discussions, reviewing your colleagues' projects, rating posted ideas, recommending resources, crowdsourcing lessons learned, and participating in twitter chats and other exchanges appropriate to the individual course.
- Job-embedded learning, through the use of case studies, classroom and school related projects; developing action plans; and other activities that center your work on critical problems of practice and data-informed decision-making in your own classrooms, schools or districts.
- Multiple voices, through learning about the perspectives of other teachers and administrators along with those of students, researchers and experts in the field. Our courses are purposefully not designed around one or two experts who present online lectures. They provide exposure to a rich set of perspectives presented within the context of course elements that reflect these core principles.
You will see these design principles implemented in our courses through the following instructional elements:
- Conceptual Frameworks
- Resource Collections
- Asynchronous Discussions and Twitter Chats
- Student Scenarios
- Expert Panels
- Participant Projects and Peer Feedback
- Professional Learning Community (PLC) Guides
Mark Samberg, Ed.D.