Teaching kids at home for parents during Covid-19 period
As the COVID-19 coronavirus continues to spread, schools around the world are switching to online learning resources in an effort to curb the spread of the disease. Kiddy2U, from the same team who built Anak2U – Malaysia Preschool and Kindergarten Management system have been working hard to identify key practices for successful online learning. These are some of the best ideas from educators around the world, many of whom have already been teaching during the corona virus closings.
Prepare and practice
Guarantee digital equity
Equity is the biggest obstacle to preparing for online learning, and the first thing to think about. If your district is not 1:1 and you don’t have devices to send home with everyone, survey teachers and families ahead of time to determine who will need devices and bandwidth. IT Professional points out that most families do not have one computer per person. During school closing, parents may also be working from home, which means multiple people could be competing for one or two computers. So, make sure all online apps work on mobile devices in case there is no laptop available.
For teachers or students who don’t have Wi-Fi at home, districts must figure out how to buy or rent Wi-Fi access points, and then have a plan to distribute both devices and access points. If you have an advance warning that the closure is imminent, districts may send devices and access points home with students prior to the closure. If an abrupt shutdown occurs, plan the pickup time and location and arrange to deliver devices and access points to those who cannot pick them up.
Schools that regularly have digital learning days, and have worked through home and device connectivity issues, are already at the forefront. But if your school has not laid the groundwork, consider this an opportunity.
Teachers who are not yet using a learning management system on a regular basis should now dive in so that there are no communication breaks due to a sudden shutdown. Teachers should train themselves and their students in the applications and technology tools they may need in the event of a closure. Practice in the classroom, and then send students to try using the tools from home. and believe me that “None of this learning will be wasted in the future,” since many of the skills learned during the online learning period will be equally beneficial in a regular classroom.”
Provide clear expectations for staff and parents
During a shutdown, communication between administrators, staff, parents, and students is more important than ever. For general communications, prepare a FAQ that describes all the details of how the school will function during a closure so that staff and parents are on the same page.
My Teacher switched to remote learning on March, recommends that frequently asked questions include where to find daily chores; a list of sites and tools that students will need, how to sign in, and what to do if the technology doesn’t work; and, finally, the expectations of the parents. There is a lot of information to analyze and parents are working hard to make sure they are clear about what they should do to better support their students.
In addition to posting and distributing frequently asked questions, schools must set up text messages across the community to quickly communicate and then advise people where to find follow-up messages by email or on their website. Then prepare a step-by-step guide on how to access and use the online learning tools like mobile application and curriculum. Be sure to present this information in various formats, including video and text,mobile application and include screenshots and screen projection tutorials.
Ask families to make sure that all students, especially the youngest ones, know how to log into the applications and their passwords. Teachers need to know how to attend. Provide additional technical support and make sure parents and teachers know how to ask for help.
Take the time to plan
If there is a shutdown before your staff is ready to teach online, spend some time, even if it’s just a day or two, to prepare before implementing online learning with students. The short delay in starting the online lessons will pay off in the long run.
The teams split up and addressed everything from logistical issues, such as setting up Zoom meetings, to how-tos, such as different home support models, and then briefed the larger group. When the district closed two days later, teachers had two days of planning before jumping completely into online learning with students. The team and individual planning days helped the implementation go smoothly.
Even if a closure is sudden and does not offer time to plan before schools close, it is wise to plan before classes begin online.
Pack your suitcase.
Make sure you have access to everything on worksheet
Establish daily schedules
Expectations should be clear about when teachers and students should log in. A full day in front of a screen is a lot for children and teachers, especially for families who can share a device. Many schools choose two check-in times: a meeting in the morning and a check-in in the afternoon, and then allow families flexibility in how they organize school hours at home.
Other schools are reorganizing school hours, extending a school day by two days. Students attend three classes in the morning and have afternoons to work independently and interact with those teachers during “office hours.” The next day, they attend the rest of their classes online in the morning and then have office hours with those teachers in the afternoon.
Sometimes it can be difficult to anticipate the obstacles students might face while navigating this new territory. We suggest choosing one student per grade and monitoring their expected path throughout the day from tool to tool to make sure everything works as it should. If not, be flexible and make changes along the way.
Provide robust learning
In extreme circumstances, such as a makeshift closure, it is tempting for teachers to upload worksheets for students to complete and return. But online earnings during a shutdown, especially during extended closings, should be at least as engaging as the classroom experience (if not more) or the students will suffer.
Online learning guider, which emphasizes that online learning should never be an excuse to assign a busy job, but rather to address clear and engaging learning objectives.
The main principles that werecommend are:
- Break the learning into smaller pieces.
- Be clear about expectations for online participation.
- Provide immediate (or at least frequent) feedback through online knowledge checks, feedback on collaborative documents, and chat to keep students motivated and move on.
- Include virtual meetings, live chats, or video tutorials to maintain a human connection.
Independent learning design
Keep in mind that parents may be at work or work from home and cannot help much. It is important to design learning that does not require much support from parents who may already be overwhelmed.
One of the best things in our system that have done to support Islamic parents is to streamline information by creating a place for all homework, schedules, and expectations. The closer to a checklist you can make these resources, the better.”
Address the emotional cost
Check with students and coworkers, especially those who are less comfortable with digital tools to see if they need help or someone to talk to. Being kidnapped at home can be isolating and exacerbate fear of facing a global crisis. Taking time to control feelings of anxiety is as important as controlling academics.
While it may seem like fun working from home, it can be challenging to keep a regular schedule. Some things that can help include:
- Take regular breaks.
- Making time to exercise
- Maintain a regular sleep schedule.
- Limit distractions when possible (turn off social media notifications, for example).
- Set daily and weekly goals.
- Take the time to socialize, even if it’s virtually.
- Take time for Islamic education and studies
Choose the right tools and stick with them
A wide variety of technology tools, many free, are available to help. With so much out there, it can be tempting to try using everything. Instead, limit the number of tools, apps, and platforms so that students and their parents don’t feel overwhelmed. It can be a little more difficult for students to follow classroom assignments when you are not there face to face. Some ideas to help children focus are using different colored fonts on the screen to help students distinguish important ideas. Try to keep the online instructions short, simple and clear. Consider giving video and pictures instructions instead of text.
Videoconferencing will take you and your students to each other’s homes, so privacy is important to keep in mind. Some programs allow users to blur their background. Dress as you would to attend school and expect students to do the same. Online learning also presents a great opportunity to review digital etiquette and embed digital citizenship in collaborative online activities.