Engaging students and keeping them interested in what they’re learning is among the list of things teachers are perpetually working at improving. Each school year brings a different group of young minds with abilities, experiences, and levels of confidence. With many schools facilitating instruction within hybrid learning and remote learning environments, teachers are faced with the added challenge of engaging students who are spending an increased chunk of time in front of a screen without in-person interaction. Inquiry-based learning strategies can prove to be just what is needed for students to become excited about what their learning, while also giving teachers a clearer picture of how and what their students are understanding.
To celebrate the opening of the Boxlight Virtual Classroom, we have a special promotion combining the virtual classroom experience and multi-award winning MimioConnect® Blended Learning Platform. For any school team (minimum of four educators) that schedules a virtual learning session within our Virtual Classroom, the entire school will gain access to MimioConnect! The Get Connected, Stay Connected promotion is only for the month of March and a maximum of 30 schools will be chosen so register ASAP!
To date, only four states have ordered their schools to open with their districts required to offer in-person instruction five days a week. For most states, districts are left to decide whether to open schools for in-person learning, or a combination of in-person and remote learning — hybrid learning. As districts work to create a practical and effective balance between in-person and remote learning, many consider hybrid learning the ‘new norm’ for education. What are some reasons that lead them to think this way?
Teachers everywhere are trying different apps, software, and platforms to complement what they are already doing for in-class, remote, or blended instruction. A new tool that many teachers are implementing is MimioConnect® Blended Learning Platform. The MimioConnect platform’s user-friendly interface helps teachers build and present interactive lessons that engage learners, in any location at any time. If you are deciding on an “all-in-one solution”, MimioConnect is offering a free trial so that you can explore its many features: MimioConnect Free Trial. Because MimioConnect is a web-based platform, no software download is necessary. Simply sign up!
Teachers across the country are working under incredible conditions to “normalize” the learning experience for their students. This means extra hours creating interactive lessons, planning a simplified scope and sequence of lessons, and deciding which materials will be used for asynchronous learning and the ones for synchronous sessions. Combine this with trying to balance their personal lives, and more teachers have admitted to experiencing burnout (and we’re barely halfway through the school year). Of course, the availability of education technology for helping teachers teach and students learn is plentiful but dizzying – there’s so much out there! Before making a selection, let’s look at what teachers have found successful for remote instruction.
“I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy – I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.” – Art Williams
As most of us have experienced, heard from friends, or seen on the news, remote learning has its challenges. Difficulties have ranged from tech glitches and connection issues to students not showing up to any live virtual lessons. In addition to these challenges, teachers are making every effort to tailor instruction for students with special learning needs, including regular review of students’ Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and/or 504 plans. This can be quite overwhelming for everyone involved, especially the parents at home trying to balance home responsibilities with their child’s specialized needs. How can all involved work together to support the child? Here are some recommendations to consider:
Coming into this new school year has been a mixed bag of emotions for everyone: anxiety, disappointment, frustration, excitement, sadness. Because many schools are starting the year with remote learning, add stress and hopelessness to the list especially for those juggling more than one child in school, work responsibilities, and maintaining some semblance of balance at home. There are quite a few social media posts of children trying hard to be excited for learning online but struggling (haven’t we all seen the little boy lying across his chair out of view of his teacher during a virtual session?!). Understandably, this leads to concerns of substantial learning loss for our students.
When I was in first grade – back when teachers used chalkboards and ditto machines – playing a game in class was the BEST! In SoCal, it was unusual to have rainy days but when it happened our teacher would have us play Heads-Up, Seven Up during indoor recess. I can remember hoping someone would put my thumb down so that I could guess the mystery person at the end of the round. We would play this game the entire time and groan aloud when recess was over. Playing that game was a welcome break from the months of circle time lessons and worksheets. Did I learn anything from playing Heads-Up? I didn’t think so at the time but looking back with my “teacher eye," there was communication, engagement, and reasoning involved. Of course, I doubt learning those skills was intentional but it taught me two important things when I stepped into my teacher shoes: 1) children will remember the experience of a fun and engaging game, and 2) children can learn concepts and skills, solve problems, think critically, collaborate, follow rules, communicate thinking, etc. while playing a game!
“I think I have learned that the best way to lift one’s self up is to help someone else.” – Booker T. Washington