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Distance Learning Mindset

Updated: Apr 22, 2020

Social Media is flooded right now with resources to help educators transition to remote learning in the midst of the world wide pandemic. Rather than push a ton of resources at teachers focused on content; we chose a different path.

We thought about some essential, yet simple ideas, that form an instructional cycle for teachers to consider as they make the transition to distributed education. In some ways, educators are grieving the loss of the traditional mental models around teaching and learning. They are really missing their kids too!

Whether in class or working remotely, some pedagogical ideas remain constant. Great educators have always thought about how to effectively communicate a course for learning, deliver content, connect with students, and assess learning outcomes.

The first thing to figure out is where students will access lessons and directions. There are plenty of options available and districts have likely selected a platform or learning management system to accommodate teachers and students. We like Google Classroom because it's part of our Google ecosystem.

Next, think about what content you will deliver. How about this philosophy: what are the essential skills students need to make them MORE prepared for the next grade level than they've ever been before? In just about every state in the nation, we no longer have the pressure to cover content standards and prepare for the state assessment. This is a massive opportunity to focus on what kids need. Imagine how delighted teachers in the next grade level will be when they receive your students.

What about seniors? How about "adulting" classes. There is no more important time than the present to teach students about financial literacy, taxes, unemployment benefits, resumes, job search skills and the list goes on.

Paramount, is connecting with students. We've always known that the way to a student's brain is through their heart. Students need to know you care about them and are available through email, voice, and video to answer their questions and help them when they get stumped. More than ever, we need to see each other. These are scary times and we are all living with some degree of fear and anxiety. It won't be much longer before we all know someone who has COVID 19.

Finally, consider ways to check for understanding in new, exciting, and engaging ways. This is where instructional technology can really force multiply learning. In other words, assessment for learning. Rather than having students complete traditional forms of assessment, consider creating challenges/competitions where students are getting a ton of reps on essential skills while having a ton of fun. Here's a few examples of platforms that make this super easy Quizziz Socrative KaHoot! and Flipgrid.

We have a tremendous opportunity in front of us. This is an unprecedented time in our generation to rethink and re-imagine education without time constraints and bound by physical space. Let's give our students all we've got!!

Kudos to our talented Education Services Team for remixing ideas and creating a straight forward info-graphic to help guide teachers. This resource and others can be found at Val Verde Unified School District Distance Learning

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