Many schools have been recommended to continue with the distance education introduced due to Covid-19 following the latest reports about the spread. As a lot of teachers have already realized, there are a few difficulties when it comes to moving education from the classrooms to the digital space. When students are in another place (in most cases at home), it becomes increasingly hard as a teacher to make sure they focus on the right things. So what do you do to increase student engagement?
The first thing one, of course, has to keep in mind is that the perfect approach obviously differs from subject to subject and from year to year. However, there are a number of common denominators that can make a big difference regardless of the circumstances.
1. Make sure everyone’s camera is on (including yours)
Just looking at a picture or a name is not fun or engaging for you as a teacher or for your students. The camera also helps you keep track of what your students are doing and where their focus is. In the same way as in a classroom, it is the teacher's task to monitor students' work and eliminate distractions.
2. Keep lessons short and sweet
Just like in reality, do not let your lessons become monologues that never end. Instead, divide the lesson into segments and leave enough time for discussion. Keep in mind that looking at a screen can be especially tiring as the social element is missing.
3. Use digital learning tools
When teaching takes place digitally, it also becomes increasingly important to adapt the learning tools accordingly. Using a physical book means that students must focus on two things at the same time - both the book and the computer. It can be a great advantage if their attention only needs to be directed in one direction.
4. Record and make the clips easily accessible
One of the best things about online teaching is probably that it is so easy to record the lessons and make them available for reviewing at a later time. Some teachers may be worried that fewer students will show up to the actual lesson, but this can be solved by just giving attendance to those who do.
Recording the lessons also gives those students who have difficulty in the subject to easily go back and listen to the material again at their own pace. Those students who may not want to get in touch and ask for help will also benefit greatly from this method.
To best implement this in practice, you can use the school platform your school uses, YouTube, Google Drive or similar.
5. Use presentation materials
No matter how good you are at teaching, it will be more difficult for your students to take in the information if they only hear it verbally. Complement your teaching with a powerpoint, pictures or other types of presentation material. Remember, however, not to have too much information on a single slide. Students must have time to read what is written before you move on, otherwise, they will just feel stressed and focus less on listening to you. Making this presentation material available after the lesson also reduces the risk of this.
In summary, there are a lot of tips and tricks when it comes to capturing your students' interest. You can make sure to always have your camera on and encourage your students to do the same and use digital teaching materials and presentation materials. When it comes to the lessons themselves, it is good if you keep them short and concise and make them available afterwards. By using these methods, you can take your digital teaching to the next level and make your lessons better for both you and your students.