Online learning platforms are revolutionising the way we teach, but teachers are still the most important factor in education. How can teachers work with edtech to make online learning interesting for students?
All over the world, teachers are getting to grips with edtech.
It’s a learning curve, though - and there’s a lot to adjust to!
One of the most important things a teacher can do– is to craft engaging lessons. But how can you do that when your students are on the other side of a screen?
Here are some tips to help out:
Teaching 101, but worth re-emphasising for the new digital age.
Students work at their best (and enjoy their lessons more) when they feel valued. Edtech can give you an advantage with this.
When teaching online, teachers don’t have to deal with the hundreds of micro-distractions that could happen in a physical classroom. Sure, there might be distractions in the home environment - but it’s not down to the teacher to resolve.
Teachers can therefore then put all of their focus and energy into their students.
Just this added focus is great, but online learning has more tricks up its sleeve!
By allowing students to both message and schedule talks with teachers, a good edtech platform makes sure that every student’s voice is heard. For example, quieter children who don’t necessarily thrive in a boisterous classroom have no problem messaging questions and ideas to their teacher.
Personalisation and easy ways to communicate makes all types of learners feel valued. It’s just amatter of listening to students, investing time in students, and making them feel heard. So, definitely utilise the communication features of your edtech platform to your advantage.
Concentration spans vary depending on the age and/or learning ability of your students - but very few students will be able to focus throughout a single hour-long chunk of teaching.
We’ve all sat through lectures, lessons and meetings in our lifetime, and sometimes, it’s easy to daydream. Time is relative. It stretches out or speeds along in your perception, depending on what you’re doing. A time-honoured (pun not intended!) way to make the time you spend both more engaging and relatively ‘fast’, is to break tasks down into sections. As soon as your enthusiasm for one task wanes, switch to another task.
Keep up the pace and maintain enthusiasm in the classroom by segmenting your lessons up into bite-sized activities. A chunk of explanation, a chunk of discussion, a chunk of independent work - you get the idea.
The best online teaching platforms are designed to make learning more engaging than ever. Explore the edtech features available to you. Play around, put them through their paces, see what they’ve got to offer. Things like integrating videos into lessons should be relatively simple, but there’s often more you can do.
Designing educational games, for example, or adding pop-ups with encouragement, inspiration, or interesting facts. You could even have guest speakers for a fresh voice (and those speakers could dial in from anywhere in the world!)
If you’ve got a great idea for engaging your class through tech, but aren’t sure how to implement it, just ask. Good online teaching brands like Kinteract will always be happy to help you out.
Adaptability is really important with online learning. Students will be tuning in from a variety of places and situations. As their teacher, you have to be adaptable to accommodate this variety.
Engaging lessons aren’t just about ‘wow’ factor. They’re also about engaging with students. To make that happen for every student, no matter their circumstances, you need to be adaptable.
Good social skills will help you here, as will compassion. Learn about your students and their situations. Use what you’ve learned to adjust your lessons, manner, and focus as and when you need to.
Understand your student personalities, and you’ll go far! ☺︎
Engagement is about being passionate. Passion always draws focus. It’s intrinsically interesting.
If you have a passion for your subject, for teaching, or for both - let it show. Put your enthusiasm into your lessons.
And you don’t need to overdo it. Even on the other side of a screen, your students will be able to tell whether your passion is authentic or forced.
If your teaching style isn’t naturally passionate, don’t worry. You don’t have to express your passion to pass it on. You could share with your students why you love this subject. Explain what makes it great, how it’s benefited others, or the world - and how it would benefit your students if they engage with it.
Online teaching is very freeing. Rather than standing in front of a class, teachers have a range of options. You can teach purely by voice, or by video, or even by text. And all of these formats definitely have their pro’s.
However, humans engage best with other humans. And the better our relationship with someone, the more we engage with them. How do we build good relationships? Face-to-face in real-time, of course.
Student/teacher relationships are vital for engagement. And you build them like you would any other - in real-time.
Recorded lessons are great and all, but your class won’t really get to know you unless you drop in some live lessons now and again.
When you teach live, students get to know your face, and will also learn about your personality. All those little mannerisms and minor mistakes (that you might edit out of a recorded lesson are), believe it or not, vital for your students to connect with you. They make you human. And, like we said, humans engage best with other humans.
You’re a teacher, so you’re pretty superhuman in many ways. But not even you can do everything by analysis and guesswork alone.
One of the best ways to make your lessons engaging for students is to ask them what they like.
Of course, you’re bound to get lots of contradictory answers. And many of those answers should be taken with a big pinch of salt. But there will also be some kernels of truth that you can use.
There are plenty of ways to get feedback from students. From questionnaires to quizzes to simply asking them outright - don’t be afraid to seek inspiration from the true core and meaning of your teaching; your students!
Kinteract helps and enables everything we’ve talked about here. From online progress tracking which helps you to understand your students, to seamless communication and live lessons, Kinteract can do it all.
To learn more about how Kinteract can help you to craft the most engaging lessons you’ve ever taught, book a demo today!