Keep it Simple

Tip:
I use an online environment to create an element of learning for teachers. Here are some of the issues I have found regarding distance education for PD at the grade school where I do technology coaching.

  • Keep it simple – for your sake and for the sake of your learners!
  • For the first couple of weeks give them just one link to read and respond to.
  • Keep adding on to the links and allow them to respond to other's comments as well.
  • Be mindful of the teachers’ workloads. I found that a planned assignment included a week right before a holiday, so I gave them two weeks to submit the work instead of the usual one week.
  • Don't be afraid to take more time than conventional learning. Not all teachers are that anxious to get on the computer on a daily basis. (You may need to build that into your lesson by making it eight weeks instead of six)
  • Try to keep the lesson sequential so they can easily follow it.
  • Give the teachers handouts so they don't have to print them out. It makes life easier in the long-run. Trust me on this one!
  • Lastly, give lots of praise for their taking the risk of learning online.

I personally received my second Masters entirely online and loved it. But I know that many teachers are uncomfortable with the new format so a lot of hand-holding is needed. In addition to the online lesson, I was there on-site to help them if they were really stumped. Sometimes I would show them how to navigate the system, either because they forgot or they were too stressed out that particular day to really concentrate. Remember, it's not as easy for a newbie as it sounds to us veterans!

Submitted by:Carol Olsen
Chicago, Illinois

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