Remote Education: Common Guide
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Broadband Internet connection or mobile hot-spot
Many Internet carriers are offering limited-time free offerings to households without Internet. Check with your school or local carrier if they know of any offerings. Convey this message to your students as best you can.
For more information on current free Internet from Charter/Spectrum Internet providers, call 1-844-488-8395.
Chromebooks, tablets (iOS or Android), laptop/desktop computers (PC, Mac, or Linux), or smartphones
Classroom/learning management System
Your school will typically provide a classroom/learning management system of choice. Many K-12 schools use Google Classroom as their choice. Some might use Schoology, Blackboard, Moodle, Canvas, or another classroom/learning management system. Colleges usually use something like Blackboard or Moodle. Refer to your school to see what classroom/learning management system your school is using (or prefers to use).
Google Classroom: https://classroom.google.com
Google Classroom is excellent to use as a repository and assignment dropbox. You can also create quizzes to host on Google Classroom. For a more robust, comprehensive asynchronous remote course experience with better threaded discussions, Schoology might be a better choice.
Schoology is a more robust course/learning management system that contains all you could need to run a remote course. You can create announcements, threaded discussions, quizzes and tests, lectures, and other items.
Follow this link to explore Schoology’s features: https://www.schoology.com/k-12.
Note that your school or district may already provide you with a Schoology account. If you do not have one, you can sign up for a free account with a limited number of courses you can create. Follow the following link for more information on a Basic, free account: https://www.schoology.com/k-12/packages/basic.
Blackboard: See your school for details and links
Moodle: See your school for details and links
Canvas: See your school for details and links
Online lesson/lecture followed by assignments
You can deliver your lessons/lectures online and then ask students to work on assignments and activities, similar to how you would conduct these in your face-to-face classroom. The lessons and lectures can be delivered realtime (live) through video chat tools (such as Hangout or Zoom), or pre-recorded using video/audio/text. Students will be watching/reading the lecture remotely and then follow your instruction on where they will find their assignments, finish by when. Once students have completed their assignment or activity, they will submit it to you either through the course/learning management system (i.e. Google Classroom) or through email. We advise you to use your course/learning management system for submitting work since it will be in one location and students can retrieve feedback through the system you use.
There are many online mini-lessons/lectures/videos out there. You can search for lessons based on grade levels and curriculum areas on the following sites, and only create your own videos when needed (see tools for creating videos of lessons).
- http://www.brainpop.com (Free access for closed schools)
- Lessons offered by Scholastic Learn at Home (new)
Keep your classroom alive and active with online discussions. Online discussions can be either synchronous (real time) or asynchronous (different time).
See the question below on “What Tools Can I Use to Support Student Sharing and Discussion” for online discussion tips and resources.
Small group discussions or group work
You can use Zoom’s Breakout Rooms functionality to split the class into several smaller groups of students. In breakout rooms, students can discuss, share resources, chat, and even ask for help from you if there is an issue. This mimics group work in the face to face class where each group can work in a shared space and report back later to the larger group (e.g., class). More information can be found here: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/206476093-Getting-Started-with-Breakout-Rooms
There are many engaging educational games designed to support student learning. For example, the following sites have collections of free games, aligned with different grade levels indexed based on subject areas:
Hundreds of free Games for any device: Math, Health, Science, History, Geography, Chemistry, Painting, SATs, vocabulary, Pre-K-12th grade, movies for all cognitive levels. Available in Spanish
Create games and quizzes in any language. Responses can be images. Features K-12 games Sign up for Free Premium Access: https://kahoot.com/access-kahoot-premium-for-free/
- Class announcements in your learning management system:
In your learning management system such as Google Classroom or Blackboard, you can send out announcements to notify students (and parents) of upcoming class activities, due dates and other important information. Once created, an immediate email is sent to everyone notifying them of the announcement.
- Remind: https://www.remind.com/
Send messages directly to students’ phones to remind them of upcoming due dates, announcements, and other important information.
- Class Dojo: www.classdojo.com
Bring every family into your classroom. Join 95% of U.S. schools using ClassDojo to engage kids and connect with families! Free for teachers, forever.
- Slack: www.slack.com
Slack is a platform where members of large teams can communicate, collaborate, share resources and files, and be productive. Slack allows 1-on-1 chats, small group communication and work, or whole class discussions and announcements. Teachers can send announcements to students in Slack as well. There are also Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, and Web apps available to stay connected. The free version of Slack comes with a limit of 10’000 messages, 1-on-1 video calls, and 2-factor authentication for security.
- Social networking tools (if your school’s policy approves) Twitter: https://twitter.com/
Create tweets to notify students and parents of upcoming due dates, announcements, and other important information. Available on the Internet, PC/Mac, iOS, and Android.
- Screencast Resources for Presentations (lectures and student presentations)
Screencasts allow you to record your screen and save them as video which you can upload to your course management system or YouTube. You can do things like record tutorial videos, narrate PowerPoints, and other forms of instructional videos for presentation to students. These tools can be used for recording lectures or asking students to record their presentations, in lieu of face-to-face classroom presentation. Below are some resources for creating screencasts.
- Narrated PowerPoint slides: You can prepare a PowerPoint slide deck, and record your voice as narration to accompany the slides. Once the student opens the slide deck and clicks on “Slideshow”, the slides will play along with your voice. This link provides an easy to follow tutorial on how to do this: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Record-a-slide-show-with-narration-and-slide-timings-0b9502c6-5f6c-40ae-b1e7-e47d8741161c
- QuickTime (for Mac): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4s7YF7OEBY (tutorial video)
Available only on Mac computers. Create free screencasts and export them as video files to upload to YouTube or place on a webpage or course management system. This is an easy to use software, but it is only available on Mac computers.
- Techsmith Snagit: Click here!
This software allows you to record your computer screen along with your microphone audio and webcam video. Techsmith has made this software free to use for educators until June 30, 2020. Originally, they offered a 14-day free trial. This is the link with information on how to obtain the software.
- Techsmith VideoReview: Click here!
This tool is also offered by Techsmith for free until June 30, 2020. Video Review is our video feedback tool for online, collaborative discussions and conversations around the content you upload and share to: Replace in-person meetings with online review of recorded presentations, Keep conversations and collaboration happening asynchronously, Get email notifications when students or colleagues leave questions or comments, Allow viewers to mark up videos with arrows and shapes to help explain comments. Mark comments as resolved as decisions are made.
- Screencast-O-Matic: https://screencast-o-matic.com/ (web-based screencast tool)
Record your computer screen. The free version has a 10-minute limit on videos and a watermark in the bottom corner. Monthly fees for educators are $1.65, but this is billed yearly. No time limit for videos or watermark in the pay version. Export your screencasts as video files (MP4). House the video on YouTube or on a webpage or course management system.
- Screencastify: https://www.screencastify.com/ (Chrome extension)
- LOOM: https://support.loom.com/hc/en-us/articles/360006579637-Loom-Pro-Free-for-Students-and-Teachers Loom is a video recording tool that helps you get your message across through instantly shareable videos. With Loom, you can record your camera, microphone, and desktop simultaneously. Your video is then instantly available to share through Loom's patented technology.
- Animoto: https://animoto.com/education/classroom Animoto is a free classroom tool for educators, students, and administrators. Easily create and share videos with your class, with parents, and beyond. No software downloads required.
Tools for Synchronous (realtime) Class Meeting and Discussion
- Google Hangouts: https://hangouts.google.com/
Ideal for Chromebooks since it can be run through your browser. Hangouts keeps you connected with your co-workers, and people in other organizations. You can text chat with up to 150 people on a variety of devices, or hold a video call with up to 25 participants in your organization (the 10 most active participants are shown at the bottom of the screen).
Google Hangouts Text Tutorial Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oi2jAcaxXvs Google Hangouts Video Tutorial Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HP0k_ApJyrg
- Skype: https://www.skype.com/en/ (video chat)
Stay connected using this software. Video chat for up to 50 participants. No time limit. Works on PC, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android.
- WebEx: https://www.webex.com/webexremoteedu.html WebEx has many resources where you can: plan virtual lesson plans, prepare students for a remote class, facilitate group projects and conversations virtually, and ways you can reach your students at home. With WebEx you can have meetings with up to 100 people that includes HD video, screen sharing, and a personal room.
Asynchronous Discussion Tools
- Discussion Forums in the Learning Management System such as Google Classroom or Blackboard https://help.blackboard.com/Learn/Instructor/Interact/Discussions
- VoiceThread: https://voicethread.com/ (discussion/presentation tool - audio and video)
- Edmodo: https://new.edmodo.com/ (communication tool)
- Flipgrid: https://info.flipgrid.com/ (video)
- https://blog.flipgrid.com/ This is the help page for how to use Flipgrid.
- Flipgrid is a free video discussion platform from Microsoft that helps educators see and hear from their learners anytime, anywhere.
In Flipgrid, educators post prompts for their class and learners respond with short videos, forming an asynchronous video discussion around educator-defined topics.
- Twiducate: https://www.livelingua.com/twiducate/
The Twiducate Platform is a free resource for educators. Their goal is to create a medium for teachers and students to continue their learning outside the classroom. They attempt to fill a need for a more educationally focused, safe venue for teachers, schools, and home learners in a social networking environment.
More guidelines and tips for how to organize online discussion
- Online Discussions - Tips for Instructors: https://uwaterloo.ca/centre-for-teaching-excellence/teaching-resources/teaching-tips/developing-assignments/blended-learning/online-discussions-tips-instructors
- A KNILT mini-course: >Facilitating Effective Online Discourse
- Quizzes and Tests in Google Classroom (using Google Forms): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ct8cEB4yQ4M (tutorial video from YouTube)
- Tracking Student Participation and Progress in your learning management system:
- Grade Cam Student Portal: https://go.gradecam.com/COVID-19.html GradeCam’s Student Portal is a paperless assessment alternative that allows students to access assignments online with a secure personal login – anytime, anywhere.
- Pear Deck: https://www.peardeck.com/Pear Deck was founded by educators on a mission to help teachers engage every student, every day. With solutions rooted in active learning and formative assessment, we make it easy for you to connect with learners of every age and ability. When that happens, more students participate and learn, classroom community improves, and you'll know you're making a difference. Create Google Slides and PowerPoints with interactive questions throughout to help engage students in lectures. There is a free option available.
- Tips on building teacher presence in online learning communities: Understanding Instructor Presence and Online CommunityDesigning for Instructor Presence
- Synchronous Online Classes: Top 10 Tips for Engaging Students: https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/online-education/synchronous-online-classes-10-tips-engaging-students/
- Best Practices for Synchronous Sessions: https://dl.sps.northwestern.edu/blog/2017/06/best-practices-synchronous-sessions/
- Online Instructional Activities: https://www.uis.edu/ion/resources/instructional-activities-index Extensive list of instructions on how to create instructional activities with explanations of each for various grade levels.