If we’ve learned anything since spring 2020, it’s that not only can life change on a dime, but as teachers, we will need to be able to adapt quickly. In that adaptation came virtual learning (or what I like to call “crisis learning” because what we were all expected to execute is not true distance learning). However, discovering methods of student engagement virtual learning success was certainly something on everyone’s radar.
Student engagement virtual learning success, which was once a hot topic for discussion, has now become an essential part of instruction. Through collaborative conversations with educators from all over the globe working through this, I have come across several strategies that are available to teachers. The important aspect is knowing not only what you can do within the confines of your classroom walls but also outside those walls as well. Therefore, students are able to be engaged in a wide variety of learning activities.
Collaborating with the teachers that I worked with, we brainstormed ideas for providing students with opportunities outside of the core curriculum. The list was nearly endless and some may even consider it “teacher gold” because many of these opportunities are low-cost or completely free! Here’s just a few:
· Have students ask individuals in the community to share their stories. One example would be farmers and ranchers who could post pictures and videos of what they do including activities such as feeding, branding, or veterinarian work. This is a wonderful opportunity for students to gain real-life insight into careers that are available to them after high school.
· Provide students with various children’s picture books and have them create a poster to either share their favorite story or one similar to the story they read.
· If you like recycling, this is an excellent way to get materials that might otherwise be thrown away into your classroom! Have students pick up cans, bottles, and paper from the neighborhood.
· If you have access to computers or tablets, then this is an excellent way to engage students in learning outside of the classroom walls. Collaborate with local businesses like coffee shops which might allow students to use their wi-fi for either academic purposes (scanning websites) or non-academic purposes (watching movies, using social media).
· Have students create and design their own board game. With this board game, they could provide the rules to the game as well as what to do if certain actions were taken by players. This is a great way for students to learn problem-solving skills because it’s all part of the design!
While many may say that virtual learning success is all about computers and technology, it’s also about using your resources to their fullest. For instance, computers are expensive, but students still need access to the internet for research purposes. This is where collaboration with local businesses can come into play. We are simply re-thinking the “way” we learn. Collaborating with those outside of our four walls is just one way to enable students to be successful now and into the future!
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….but what about the curriculum?
This was a hyperventilating scenario for so many teachers. We have a curriculum to get through and this would just deter from that, right?
If you’re trying to get solid student engagement virtual learning, you need to think outside the box. For instance, if you’re jumping through hoops to provide your students with those authentic experiences I mentioned earlier, you could still use this as a teaching tool.
As an example:
If you happen to teach ELA and are reading a story called “My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother,” (ad) then why not have your students write their own version of this story? This could be done using a website such as “Wacky Web Tales” which provides students with a choice of different characters, settings, and plots. Students can create their own stories within the parameters you set for them.
Let’s say that your school is going through a unit on economics and how money drives economies around the world. Students could research a country and create a commercial for what they hope their country would look like if it were to become an economic powerhouse. Maybe students will even use voice-over artists from the community to provide the voices of different characters in their commercials.
This is just scratching the surface when it comes to thinking outside of the box and achieving student engagement virtual learning success. The possibilities are endless and can really engage students to be excited about learning.
Plus, think of it this way: if you can get students even mildly excited to do an activity like this while teaching virtually, imagine what it would be like if you brought it into the classroom!
….what’s the difference between student engagement virtual learning success and traditional teaching?
The big difference is that we no longer have to rely on our four walls, chalkboards, or even desks for learning. We’re not limited by those boundaries as long as we provide students with an engaging experience that is conducive to their learning needs.
We can collaborate with different organizations, businesses, and even individuals who are willing to help our students achieve success in ways they’ve never dreamed of. This is truly revolutionary and you’ll find that your students will want to be a part of this movement!
Technology should not be the focus here; it should be used as a resource for learning. Virtual learning promotes personalized and individualized learning experiences that will help students prepare for the future.
Student engagement virtual learning success doesn’t hinge on technology, but on what is done with it. Keep that in mind…and then take it back with you in the classroom.
Student Engagement Virtual Learning Success…Consistently
In teaching, we have good days and we have bad days. When you’re dealing with small humans, that’s a given. But what happens when you have engaging learning moment after engaging learning moment?
You get students who not only buy into the lesson but also think outside of the box and collaborate with their peers to learn about a topic in ways that will better prepare them for their future.
If you want to increase student engagement virtual learning, then it’s important to have “teaching moments” that are engaging for all students. What makes a teaching moment so successful is the opportunity for students to be part of their learning process. When you can give your students an authentic experience in combination with technology, the possibilities are endless.
Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box and remember that technology should not be used as a substitution for instruction! It will not guarantee student engagement virtual learning success. We’ve had many traditional teaching techniques fail us, so it’s about time we try something new. Virtual learning provides students with numerous opportunities to learn in ways they may never have considered before.
So the next time you teach students about the human body through a virtual learning environment, or voice-over artists as part of a project, be sure to take it up a notch and have your students further explore this topic by creating their own unique commercial promoting the benefits of eating carrots!
Kids are resilient, adults are not. If we can come up with some great student engagement virtual learning strategies to get the kids to buy into, it’s all gravy from there. They’ll be so excited to have high-quality learning experiences that they will start coming up with unique ways to incorporate the same ideas into their other classes. Our students are a force to be reckoned with and we should capitalize on this momentum!
We’re only limited by our imaginations, so let’s get creative and do something out of the box…and encourage the same for our students!
If you follow a certain formula or a set of rules when teaching, then you’ll get the same results every time…and that’s not good enough. I don’t know about you, but after watching my students experience success, it’s hard to stick with the status quo. In order for us to lead our students on a path to academic success, we need to be innovative and allow our students to develop critical thinking skills.
This includes student engagement virtual learning ideas and success.
We can do this by creating authentic learning experiences for them so they can apply what they’re learning in the classroom. How many times have you heard “I never would’ve thought about it that way…”? Or how about when you hear a student say “I want to be just like you?”
So, why are we settling for average? Why are we doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results? Why are our students only being taught to the test instead of learning how to create their own tests? These questions need answers! Virtual Learning can make all the difference in getting students engaged and inspired to learn.
It all starts with you…you can make a difference in their lives and achieve student engagement virtual learning! Here are some ways to get started:
1) Set up virtual learning experiences where kids can create, not just consume content.
2) Allow students access to technology so they can be producers and not just consumers of information.
3) Collaborate with other educators and share innovative ways to use virtual learning.
Virtual learning, when used effectively, can be a powerful tool for engaging students! What makes it even more exciting is knowing that after getting your students involved in these experiences they’ll want to explore more of these opportunities.
It’s all about providing students with an authentic learning experience…and if you can do it in a fun, exciting way who knows what the future holds! So imagine if you could create an environment where kids are actively engaged at all times and it requires them to think critically while they collaborate with each other…now you can.
Student Engagement Virtual Learning and the 4 Keys
Developing strategies for student engagement virtual learning success isn’t difficult, it just needs to ebb and flow with the students and where they are (physically, mentally, and emotionally). Being flexible is the key to making all of this work. The key is engagement. There are four keys to student engagement that I discuss in my video training challenge that releases twice per year. It is called “Finding Your Student Engagement Formula” and it walks you through those four keys and how to implement them in the classroom.
If you are interested in registering (it’s totally free), visit the Finding Your Student Engagement Formula Challenge registration page and you will be notified the next time the series is available.