Covid19 has made online teaching an essential aspect of our profession. Teachers who already use effective ICT tools such as Seesaw, Flipgrid, Padlet, YouTube Channels, Mentimeter, Quizlet, (and Quizlet Live), Flippity, Gimkit, have already paved a channel for online communication and collaboration. There has also been a wave of generosity of sharing teaching resources through social media groups and free access trials to learning content through platforms such as Powerlanguages, Education Perfect and ImmerseMe. Many start-ups are using the times to gain exposure by offering many freebies and discounts, such as this list from Estonia. However, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the range of options out there.
If you are new to online learning and teaching via remote means, here are some tips:
Use current communication channels
AISWA advises individual teachers to use already established information communication tools to minimise anxiety and panic among yourselves, students and families. Use your school’s existing learning management system (LMS) to facilitate learning in ways that are familiar to your students. Become a master of your school’s LMS first, and only adopt additional tools unless you have a deep understanding of how they work and their purpose in education.
Keep it simple
Don’t try to re-create face-to-face teaching through synchronous (real-time) learning. Anyone who has organised a teleconference will know how stressful it can be because IT issues can often get in the way of delivering content. Instead, reserve teleconferencing only to check in on students’ learning and well-being and as a way of maintaining the relationship you already have with your students. Most of your online teaching should be asynchronous, where students work at their own pace.
Opportunities for language input and multimodal texts
Provide a purpose for students to view, listen and read authentic online texts in the target language. Go beyond just checking for comprehension of the language, but also provide opportunities to reflect on language and culture, about systems of the language and strategies for learning. Use real websites that students can interact with to demonstrate their writing ability such as commenting on an article, blog or YouTube clip. The silver lining of online learning means that students can engage purposefully and meaningfully in a world beyond their classroom.
And if there is one IT tool you want to get started with, especially if you want to maximise opportunities for speaking, make it Flipgrid.
Delve deeper: some educators and sites to follow
Musings of an e-literate teacher blog by Perth-based Indonesian teacher, Laura Wimsett on Languages, Integration and Technology.
Kim Flintoff’s Scoop It site Perth based. Kim curates more than 30 pages on topics such as Digital Learning, Gamification and Learning Futures.
MFL Twitterati Podcast for language teachers, hosted by Joe Dale and Noah Geisel. UK and Ireland based.
Teaching Online eBook by Nicky Hockly & Lindsay Clandfield.
Thinking About Pedagogy in an Unfolding Pandemic Independent Report for Education International and UNESCO (published 29 March, 2020)
For those on Twitter:
@AISWALanguages @AISWA_Tech @mareewhiteley @janaiswa @joedale @staceymargarita @pipcleaves @EduSum #edchat #onlinelearning #distancelearning #remotelearning #aussieED #pblchat #whatisschool #edtech #edtechchat #21stedchat #digcit #Games4Ed #FlipClass