Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, in March 2020, various distance learning methods have been introduced in the country. Two main modes have appeared: synchronous virtual learning (live, on screen) and asynchronous virtual learning (the teacher records his lesson in advance and can be viewed at any time, or so he gives assignments and homework to do at home through the learning platform).
Therefore, teachers had to rethink their teaching methods and adapt to online learning in a few days. L’Charitable Foundation for Educationa foundation funded by the Department of Education in England has synthesized meta-analyses (a synthesis of experimental studies) to formulate educational recommendations for distance learning.
They say, basically, that methods that are effective in face-to-face mode should be transferred to virtual mode. And that the teacher should not be overwhelmed by technology.
We are a group of school education researchers with a particular interest in literacy, academic and social adjustment, and teaching-learning dynamics. Why be interested in this topic when the pandemic is on the wane and schoolchildren go to school? Because, in our opinion, it is important to sum up the results of the last two years and document them for the future.
Manage your class
During synchronous virtual learning, it is very easy to lose control of the class if there is no effective behavior management, just like in face-to-face mode. Therefore, it is important to define the expected behavior (turn off the microphone, raise the virtual hand to speak in turn, do not interrupt the lecture) and show exactly what is expected of the students, which is called “simulation” in the jargon. .
The students then practice the desired behavior under the supervision of the teacher, who makes sure to give them feedback. Unacceptable behavior that jeopardizes teaching and learning is unacceptable, but some of them can be illustrated with humor and counterexamples by the teacher to prevent them from occurring. When expected behavior is accepted by learners and virtual classroom management works well, content teaching becomes possible.
In the context of online learning, the simulation may take longer. It’s not always possible to see what students write, so it’s important to ask questions to understand how they work and to test their learning. Therefore, it is advisable to explain and re-explain.
Google Class is one of the free learning platforms used by schools to create digital activities. This platform is interesting for integrating learning material, but not necessarily for learning in real time, synchronously. Too often, training time is wasted on logistics, which is a waste of training time.
For example, parents interviewed as part of the study of virtual and face-to-face learning during the pandemic that we conducted mentioned to the researcher that the teacher used three 55-minute periods to explain to 2-year-olds.e first year how to get a document about classroom. When a parent suggested projecting a document onto a screen in presentation mode instead of each student having their own document on their computer, their response was, “I want the kids to learn how to retrieve documents from my computer.” classroom “…
But what are the lessons learned here? Nobody ! At this age, students do not necessarily know how to navigate different platforms. The teacher also doesn’t know what tabs are open on the students’ computer, and each teacher uses the platform differently. Moreover, the use Google Class far from intuitive for students and parents.
Back to basics
Just because we teach online doesn’t mean we have to use technology at all costs. Sometimes interesting, sometimes less so. Show screen video just dance on YouTube for a physical education lesson, relevant. Children move and have fun, dancing to a variety of songs.
Otherwise, an easy way to keep control—or regain control—is to use an erasable board, paper workbooks, or printable worksheets. Paper and pencil work works great with students, parents, and teachers. Students already know their workbooks and will not run into technical problems.
It is much easier to tell students to take their study book 1, 2, 3… with nougat in math than to tell them to go in Google Class to find an XYZ document in a subsection of another subsection, which displays several options for opening it. It’s also easier — and much less stressful — for parents to answer their children’s questions with a paper notebook. They then feel more competent and more confident in helping their children learn. Documents about Google Class (which is mostly empty as the teacher builds the platform according to his plan) or any other learning platform like Zorbit in math or Bukili when reading are quite useful for doing homework or reviewing a subject seen at school during the day.
When students are in a synchronous virtual school, learning time is too valuable to spend on learning the platform. The priority is to teach and learn.
The study of any web platform had to be done in a classroom with students in person, so that the teacher could make sure they understood before the virtual teaching began. We must avoid complicating the use of technology at all costs in order to minimize wasted time and maximize teaching and learning opportunities. To achieve this, the use of simple tools can contribute to the more effective learning that children so desperately need! Why complicate when you can make it simple?