8 smart resources for teaching online during COVID-19

  • Distance learning.

    It even sounds remote, doesn’t it? It’s teaching without all the interpersonal aspects – seeing your classroom full of eager faces; understanding your students enough to know when someone is confused; enjoying the physical aspects of moving around the room interacting with individuals, doing what you do best. Online teaching is different, and to those who’ve never done it, the COVID-19 crisis has necessitated a crash course.

    “Education is at a crossroads right now, where the choice is between clinging to old practices and theories or redefining learning in the age of COVID-19,” writes Digital Trends in an article titled, “How Coronavirus is Forcing Online Learning to Evolve.” “The pandemic more commonly known as the coronavirus has forced schools around the world to close, prompting a chaotic scramble to move online and find a way to somehow finish out semesters.”

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    There’s good news here, though, in the wake of the disruption: The technology exists. Online learning has been around for years now, especially in universities, so there are plenty of resources. And while it will take higher powers to solve all the issues – such as the lack of online access for every child – teachers can still reach their students, connect with parents, and make learning magic happen, even without their classroom.

    How do the pros do it? Here are seven great resources for distance learning:

    • Dominican University of California Online has partnered with the Flipped Learning Global Initiative to create a free Rapid Transition to Online Learning (RTOL) resource. RTOL is a one-hour program that offers a free “12-step emergency roadmap” to learning in a crisis. It was created with the help of 21 master teachers and covers the following: a pedagogy for remote teaching, communications, planning, individual assignments, online group sessions, adapting assessment, K-12 specific challenges, online learning spaces, IT infrastructure, student feedback and evidence-based strategies.
    • Inside Higher Ed offers a practical primer on teaching online temporarily, with advice from two professors. While they are university professors, their tips are valuable, and a good starting place.
    • Edmodo, a website that meshes technology and teaching content, has a complete Distance-Learning Toolkit, including several webinars. They focus on such topics as learning schedules and assignment workflow, how teachers and parents can work together, and virtual field trips for distance learning. They also offer step-by-step instruction on how to live-stream your class.
    • Adobe, the company that created Photoshop, Illustrator, and other design and editing platforms, is giving free Creative Cloud tools to its students at home through the end of May. Many students access Adobe programs through school computers regularly, but cannot afford the Creative Suite at home. Adobe has also assembled a group of articles, free courses for educators, and blogs that support distance learning, including events and webinars.
    • The Journal covers all things education-technology related, and it’s on top of the issues surrounding teaching during the pandemic. It links to tons of free resources, including a 48-page list of online companies and programs to give you insight and tools. Some examples: Project Explorer’s 250+ educational videos and curriculum guides, Knowledge Unlimited’s weekly current events newsmagazine, STEM Education Works’ K-12 3-D Printing Lessons, Top Score Writing’s writing-development lessons, and Wild, Free & Crafty’s daily online art exercises.
    • Google has always offered classroom tools, but now the company is increasing its focus on distance-learning resources. The tips center around (of course) Google products, such as Google Meet, Google Slides, and Google Classroom, and there’s a seven-part video workshop on distance learning; the videos last between 15-30 minutes each.
    • District Administration’s website covers curriculum, administration, technology and more; it has put together a list of 176 free K-12 resources. The list has a section on Health & Wellness, and offers Curriculum and instruction resources for Remote Learning Platforms, Ebooks and Reading, the Arts, STEM, and more.
    • Digital Trends put together a list of the best apps for teachers and educators early in the coronavirus lockdown. At the top of the list, of course, is Zoom, which has become the go-to program for meeting online. But also included are such applications as ABCmouse, Kahoot!, Seesaw, Google Classroom, Classtree, , Trello, , Dropbox, and Epic Unlimited Books.

    If you need to pursue professional development or continuing education for yourself during this shelter-at-home time period, Dominican University of California offers online courses ranging from 1-6 credits on topics like administration, classroom management, Language Arts and ELL, Math, Science, Professional Reading, and Special Education. The courses are self-paced and online, which means you can pursue them in a time frame that’s best for you. To explore our course list or get more information about Dominican, visit us here.

    Photo credit: Ridofranz via iStock photos.