What we’re finding in the research thus far is it’s generally harder to keep students engaged with virtual lessons. – Jered Borup, George Mason University (“What We’re Learning about Online Learning”, New York Times, June 13, 2020)
For many districts, constraints placed on the number of students permitted in physical classrooms are resulting in entirely virtual or hybrid schedules that incorporate in-person and virtual learning in the 2020-2021 school year.
Nurturing the relationships that drive learning poses real challenges when in-person instruction is not possible. Many teachers have been learning new platforms and working hard to maintain relationships with students and translate curriculum into an online learning environment. As a result, there have been few opportunities to focus on integrating strategies that foster engagement and support students’ academic, social, and emotional development in virtual learning environments. For many teachers, coaches, and administrators, these are uncharted territories.
Effective virtual learning demands an even more responsive teacher presence, more refined facilitation skills, and more care and attention to the kinds of questions, discourse, and learning tasks that will hold students’ academic engagement.
1. Best Practices for Virtual Learning ~ Seven two-hour sessions
This professional learning series builds teachers’ capacity to design, organize, and facilitate research-based and highly engaging synchronous lessons that stand alone and can be supplemented with one-to-one or small group sessions, asynchronous learning tasks, and in-person instruction.
2. Coaching and Supervising Virtual Learning Instruction ~ Five ninety-minute sessions
This professional learning series maximizes capacity in leaders to use a “look-for” tool to collect data on best practices in a virtual learning environment, provide strategic and targeted professional learning on the data collected, and share feedback using a coaching protocol with teams or individual teachers.
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