The Ultimate 2022 Educators Guide to Remote Learning
Even if most schools return to entirely in-person learning, remote learning opportunities are here to stay. The educators who can best engage their students through video will perform in blended learning schools.
What does it take to create practical online learning tools and courses?
The answers are surprisingly simple.
Consider these best practices before investing hundreds in tech gadgets and complicated production tools. You may be surprised at what it takes to share knowledge virtually.
Consider asynchronous educational content. Yes, live learning provides opportunities to interact. The reality is that many students don’t have the broadband access they need to do synchronous coursework. Those who do may have schedule conflicts or share computers with many siblings and work-at-home family members.
Aim to provide asynchronous (offline) content to download and watch later. You will empower students to access course info when they learn best. Recording your videos gives them this choice. It is a good tradeoff when you can’t deliver in-person, personalized learning.
Choose clutter-free visuals
What do you need to produce a high-quality course video? The camera on your laptop or mobile device is probably good enough to record most content. Be sure to use an external microphone, such as those podcasters use, to capture your voice. Finally, choose good natural lighting, preferably a window that’s not behind you.
You can buy a ring-type light if you want. Note that these can feel harsh. You may squint or avoid eye contact with the camera.
When it comes to background, less is more. A white sheet or printed background with neutral shades is best. Keep your bright posters and accessories to the sides of your face and hands.
Face your students
Do you teach math and science topics with a whiteboard app? You can still choose to include a video of yourself in the corner. Seeing your face helps students connect with you, so try to show yourself in as many frames as possible.
A “talking head” pose for lecture-style videos gets the message across well. Your body or face should take up about a third of the frame.
Record now, edit later.
It can be very intimidating to make your first videos. It’s especially challenging for those who aren’t big on selfies or social media streaming. However, avoid the temptation to stop and start your sessions for every little error.
Students can feel the disruption in your attention, and it’s simple enough to edit out mistakes later. Just continue with your lessons, pausing only to breathe and repeat the last thing you said. Try to teach just as you would in person for the most authentic student learning experiences.
One of the more exciting emerging technologies in education is transcription. It can engage learners as they watch the videos, but the transcript text can be used in multiple ways outside of the video lecture. If you create asynchronous videos, you can add text captions to your videos in editing.
Transcribing your edited videos is as simple as uploading the video file to Rev. Choose between AI transcription or human transcription. The benefits of an automated transcript are the fast turnaround and lower price.
It is one of the more accessible uses of artificial intelligence in education since anyone with a computer can use it.
You’ll get up to 99% accuracy by paying more for human transcription. This may save you time that you don’t have done even more editing.
A word on captions vs. subtitles
Captioning is the most common way to use text in a video in a classroom setting. Captions are text on the screen in the same language that the speaker uses in the video. The uses for captions are endless.
Try giving ESL learners, those with speech delays, and differently-abled learners another way to interpret the presented information. Captions can either be added as a separate file or “burned in.”
This means the text is part of the video and is permanently displayed when viewing.
Anytime there may be a language barrier, subtitles may be a good fit. On the other hand, Subtitles are appropriate for translation from another language to English. A Spanish instructor, for example, may choose to teach the class entirely in Spanish. They can then use English subtitles for a portion of the video to reinforce learning and improve comprehension.
Repurpose your text
Remember how we mentioned that transcription has many uses? In addition to giving students captioned lectures that they can read along with, you can use the text to study further and reinforce materials.
These opportunities include:
- Pre-printed notes handouts that students can use to study for quizzes and tests
- Worksheets, vocabulary banks, and other instructional materials created from the phrases and statements you made in your lectures
- Ebooks and learning guides for parents to help review material in the home
- Best practices guides for other educators teaching in the online learning environment
- Review materials for substitutes to reading over in the classroom in your absence
In any place where text can reinforce learning, transcription can be incorporated. Whether you hand over the transcripts in full or choose to cut and paste portions for other guided learning materials is up to you.
However, you’ll always have a record of what was spoken in the video. You can look back at the transcript as a source of new inspiration for updated study materials. Do you want to revisit a lesson the following year?
What can teachers do to improve remote learning?
Simple, explicit videos with captions or subtitles have a good chance of reaching struggling learners. It’s always recommended that you check in often. Consider formal quizzes or a gamified method. Just don’t wait too long after each lesson to check for comprehension. If you don’t see the results you want, shorter, more focused lessons could be the answer.
Avoid presenting more than one new concept in each video and review with struggling learners.
What are the best practices for helping students retain what they’ve learned in a remote learning setting?
Just as with in-person learning, new skills should build upon older ones. Each new lesson should include a review of a previous concept as a “bridge.” Try to connect the old and new knowledge.
It may help break down concepts into smaller, more manageable chunks for topics that aren’t very well connected. Spend adequate time for student interaction, such as emailing students learning offline.
Simply having you reach out reminds them their presence matters. It can make a difference to improve student performance.
Also, creating an archive lets students review virtual instruction again and again. This also gives parents a way to support student learning if they want to review with their child.
One important impact of technology on education is that parents are now expected to facilitate some classroom time. Acknowledge them as learning partners. Give them access to courses to help produce more engaged learners.
While the future of the classroom is largely uncertain, one thing is for sure.
Technology is connecting students with their teachers in new ways. How you choose to embrace this technology can determine your readiness for the next generation of virtual learners.