Tip #1 – Send a preparation task for students to do, before class
Transitioning to online learning at home can be difficult for students as they may lack motivation and get distracted more easily. Assigning students a task to do in preparation for each lesson, can help with these challenges. Preparing in advance tend to get students more committed and engaged in the learning process.
Tip #2 – Do a social check-in at the beginning of the class
Social check-ins at the beginning of class help students feel welcome and help teachers get to know their students better. By welcoming students by name and asking them basic questions, teachers show that they “see” students, care about them, and view them as a valued member of the classroom. Doing a check-in of every student will help them feel connected to (rather than isolated from) the group.
Tip #3 – Tell students what to expect during the lesson
To help students understand the focus of the lesson and become more active and motivated learners, it is important to let them know what they will be doing and learning in each lesson. Following lessons online is more challenging than in a traditional classroom, and students might be more anxious about it since they are missing many of the cues which happen in face-to-face lessons, such as body language, support from other students and ability to approach the teacher to ask questions. Therefore, it is important to give students a head start and prepare them for each lesson. Students will be more likely to take ownership of their learning, making them more active and motivated learners.
Tip #4 – Keep it short and snappy!
In virtual classrooms, it is often hard for students to stay focused and teachers have to compete with distractions in student’s homes. Therefore, to keep students’ attention, lessons should include short, varied activities. Teachers should try to break up each lesson into small, easily digestible segments. This process, called “chunking” helps students stay engaged. In addition, by chunking a lesson it makes the information easier to understand, process it, and commit it to memory.
Tip #5 – Do not forget your synchronous toolbox
Synchronous-learning platforms have toolboxes, which include a set of features, such as whiteboards, breakout rooms, chats, etc. that help make online lessons more interactive and interesting. These tools will ensure that students become excited about and engaged in your online synchronous lessons.