In our “new normal,” K-12 teachers have been scrambling to find effective ways to continue their classroom activities online. There are a million web sites for teachers and students (I always tell students, “I never exaggerate…”). However, the goal of this blog is to help you continue your classroom activities, not replace them.
Of course, there are many online activities to use in the online classroom, but students still crave the same thing; the opportunity to interact with each other. Frankly, as a teacher I want the same thing, too, but for different reasons. Students want to interact mostly for social reasons. Teachers want to interact with students in positive ways that help them to develop a lifelong love of learning.
As an online fourth grade teacher working for a non-profit online charter school in California, I hope the experiences, tips, and suggestions offered here will help you to navigate your new online classroom and develop new strategies to engage and motivate your students. Even though the online K-12 education environment has been around for nearly two decades, many experienced online K-12 teachers find themselves still at the “bleeding edge” of delivering K-12 education online. As a believer in the idea that online education can be just as effective, if not better, than traditional “brick & mortar” institutions, it is my hope that you, my new online colleagues, will bring many new ideas that will make online education a truly viable option for K-12 students and families.
How Does It Work?
Although K-12 online learning has been around for nearly two decades, it has not yet entered the mainstream of education. Many believe that online learning can never replace the traditional classroom. To those I would ask, then how exactly has education changed over the past, say, one hundred years?
I would argue that very little about the traditional classroom has changed, in spite of the fact that there has been an information and technology revolution that has radically changed almost every other industry or profession. In fact, eduction has changed very little over the past one hundred years. Teachers still stand at the front of the class and write on a board. One talking head and many passive listeners.
Online education gives educators an opportunity to change that old paradigm and shift to a classroom where the teacher is no longer just a lecturer, but a facilitator and collaborator and students are not just passive listeners, but collaborators and occasional experts.
In fact, the best analogy for an online classroom is the “Flipped Classroom.” The Flipped Classroom flips the traditional classroom model between class time and homework. Online students learn at home via their online coursework and lessons, and teachers use online class time for teacher-guided practice, projects, and activities. This model enables online teachers to use online class time for more than delivering traditional classroom lectures.
If you are new to teaching online, I hope you will find something here that can help you. It’s about time that online learning entered the mainstream of education and now is the time for you to help make it happen!
Want more help?
You can contact me directly and I will try to answer your questions or provide suggestions. Don’t hesitate to contact me today!