The onslaught of corona has pushed all educational institutions, worldwide to immediately adopt online educational methods to cope with the lost times and catch up with the academic completion of students. It might have come as a boon, but it has its own share of problems.
Since this was a very sudden and a major disciplinary change for institutions, teachers and students it calls for an ad hoc planning and execution of changes right from the very foundation. Starting from the teaching method to using technology and other elements that helps in implementing effective virtual classroom sessions every needed a fresh start.
There might be certain basic methods and rules that work for a majority of the teacher and student community but it is not a hard and fast rule that what works for some has to work for others too. It all depends on the subject you are teaching and of course on the students too. Any process or method has its own positive and negative points.
As per India Today reports, as far as 84% of teachers have reported challenges in delivering education virtually. And one of the main statistically proven reasons for this being lack of the necessary equipment and technical knowledge to deliver.
In this article we will be discussing various online teaching methods that will give you some ideas on how to teach online more effectively.
Let’s get straight to the point
Presentations are one of the most effective ways to put forth an idea. Apparently about 65% of the population are visual learners. More than just lectures, if you implement creative visuals and slides, the retention of the topic presented will increase drastically.
Using only your words or completely depending on the slides doesn’t work. It should be balanced. Also, have an active interaction with your students periodically. This will keep them interested and also, concentrate better. You can also assign students to give presentations as well.
This way they have an option of self-learning and can start developing presentation skills from a young age. Your presentation need not always be connected to the subject at hand, you can also include a few stories and make it more interesting and indulging.
Here are a few tools you can use to create a presentation-
• Microsoft PowerPoint
• Google Slides
• Slide Share
2. Use virtual white board
Written thoughts can be always put across more effectively than mere spoken words. There is a possibility of students missing many important points if the lectures are only vocal.
With the new virtual teaching methods being into play, the age old note taking system has also evolved and become virtual too. This is the time of online whiteboards.
There are many online tutoring software that provide different features that will help you teach virtually more efficiently. You can use- images, connectors, and text on these boards. There are many techniques you can use, like – mind mapping, graphical representation, Venn diagrams, flowcharts, etc.
These techniques will help you to-
• Delegate and review assignments
• Brainstorm about lessons
• Upload documents
• Integrate multimedia content
• Schedule interactive sessions like- quizzes, presentations, group discussions etc.
3. Try out flipped classroom method
This has proven to be one of the most effective online teaching methods since its inception. About 9 out of 10 teachers have noticed a positive change in student engagement. This method is totally the opposite of what the traditional method stands for.
Here the students review and prepare for the class-to-come by studying the material prepared beforehand. This is then implemented through debates, problem-solving exercises, group discussions, quizzes, etc. under the teacher’s guidance.
One of the main techniques in flipped classroom is pre-recorded study materials. You can either tape your own or if possible share your colleague’s videos as well. You can also share these videos using a wider platform such as YouTube so that it is easier for a larger student base to access it.
4. Take live online classes more often
This is the only synchronous way where in a two-way communication is possible real-time. To say the least, you will be able to instil a personal touch to all your classes though you might not be present there physically.
Taking live virtual classes will help you to not only keep an eye on the student while you are teaching it also helps them in assessing their progress in real time. Depending on the response to your classes you have the advantage to change the methodology or modify to suit them on the go.
These sessions also provide opportunity to students to clarify their doubts then and there.
However, there are a few things you need to keep in mind while taking live virtual classes-
• Always be prepared with an outline of your session’s content
• Keep student engaged by asking them relevant question or providing associated facts etc.
• Do not deliver your lessons as one lengthy session. Break them down into sizable chapters so that it gives time and also helps students to understand better
5. Exercise healthy group discussions and debates
One of the main negative outcomes of online tutorials is the sense of isolation. Hence, in order to minimize this as much as possible, do conduct group discussions, and make way for healthy debate platforms and other forms of team activities.
This will not only help them get more involved in what is being taught and in accelerating their learning process but also virtually socialize. You can also have a monitored group chat window that will help you and others from your class be connected. This can be a forum for subject related discussions and also help to clear any of the students’ doubts and queries immediately.
6. Record screens and videos by using different tools
In case of online classes, the teachers and the students need to create many videos. The students need to make video presentation as a part of assignments so as to explain their work or understanding of the concept. The teachers need to record the live teaching session or create a response video to the queries asked by students.
There are different tools available which can help to create such videos with absolute ease. These tools enable the teachers or students to capture videos, add captions, add images or comments and trim them as well. Some of these tools enable the teachers and students to add music if required.
These videos can be later uploaded on Cloud or YouTube for sharing purposes. Thus these tools come in handy during online classes.
7. Use Artificial Intelligence for improving teaching techniques
Artificial Intelligence is one of the less explored yet extremely effective technologies especially in the educational field. It can prove very beneficial if it is customised as the online educational requirements.
Artificial Intelligence can be used to analyse the performance of students. The AI powered tools can analyse and compare students’ performances in single as well as multiple other subjects.
They can generate detailed analysis report of every student in the classroom which can help the teachers understand where a particular student is lagging. The teachers can thus give more focus on those students who are weaker in studies.
AI can also assist the teacher to find the perfect teaching techniques which the teachers can incorporate so that the students understand the concepts easily and can thus retain them for a longer duration.
8. Make use of templates for different purposes
It is scientifically proven that students can quickly understand and retain information for longer duration if taught using graphics or diagrams.
Many templates are available online which can help teachers prepare class schedules or create a lesson plan and share them with the students. These templates can help teachers and students to prepare presentations which can include images, info graphics, graphics, diagrams, etc.
A Report Card Template would help the teachers to track each student’s progress and add it to the report card. The teachers can share these graphical report cards with the students at the end of the semester.
There are many more such templates available which can enable the teachers to explain critical topics in a fun and interesting way which would help students to not only understand them but also remember them.
9. Incorporate the technique of self-study
It has been observed that the students who acquired good marks during their board exams have given more emphasis on self-study.
The same technique can be implemented on online teaching but in a little different way. The teachers can assign topics to students which they need to study on their own. This helps the students to explore the topics in their own preferred ways according to their areas of interest. This type of teaching technique will help each student to bring in a different and new perspective while understanding the topic or concept.
This will also help the students to put in more efforts not only to understand the topic but also to explain it to others in their own words. Self-study will enable the students to find ways of learning new concepts in the ways that interest them and also help to find their interest even in the most complex topics.
These are not the only methods. You can either follow one among these or you can adopt other experimental methods and see what works for you and your students. You will learn and evolve with experience. It is almost impossible to get everything right on the very first attempt. So, take a deep breath and continue your hard work.