Even under the best circumstances, teaching is a juggling act, with all of the responsibilities that come with managing in-person as well as virtual and hybrid classrooms in this day and age.
There can be a lot of switching back and forth between online and in-person educational environments, sometimes with little to no training on the platforms designed to facilitate virtual and hybrid learning. Teachers might find themselves struggling with these platforms, or wrestling with ways to use them most effectively or integrate them fully with their lesson plans and teaching style.
Online learning platforms offer powerful and effective tools for helping both students and teachers – and sometimes it’s only a matter of incorporating a few tricks to take full advantage of the technology, frustration-free.
Here are nine tips to help you get the most out of an online learning platform to create an effective and efficient classroom:
Consistently utilize the platform. The only way to wring the most value out of the learning platform is to use it — regularly. Becoming familiar with the platform and its capabilities is by far the best way to understand how it can streamline online classroom management.
Segment classes by attendance, test grades, etc. Online learning platforms provide a plethora of data, and it can be extremely useful when trying to break down classes into separate groups. Leverage that data to discover where to focus your energy – whether it’s on the students who aren’t attending regularly, those who received a sub-par score in the latest quiz, or some other segment.
Tailor supplemental assignments or small group sessions. The platform’s data and analytics tools can help you to create targeted assignments to meet the needs of students who need a boost, or for specific groups of students who may be exploring more difficult topics. You can also lean on the system to help you customize lessons with supplemental materials.
Hide content that doesn’t apply. With some online learning systems, you can also hide the content that doesn’t apply to groups of students. This helps to keep your content targeted, and may also help students from feeling overwhelmed by what’s coming down the pike.
Let the platform grade quizzes/take attendance/monitor homework. Save valuable time by letting the platform handle some of the classroom administrative tasks. Instead of manually calculating grades on quizzes, let the platform do it, along with attendance and homework monitoring.
Set up actions that can be triggered automatically. Provide assignments to students if they reach pre-designated targets (percentage of work completed, and so on). If students’ scores drop to a certain level, they can automatically receive additional materials to help them improve their scores.
Streamline communication. Use the online learning system to automatically schedule small groups for catch up/intervention sessions, or build community and a positive culture through communications to students who are on track. Most platforms have rules that can permit easier, automatic communications.
Make the most of calendar tools within the platform. Set up due dates that take students directly to their work for the day, along with overdue work or upcoming live class sessions. This helps students to better understand their progress in a course as soon as they log in.
Enable feedback. An online learning platform can be a powerful tool for providing feedback to students. Students can click on feedback and be taken directly to the relevant assignment, or receive links to additional resources/materials to help them better understand key concepts.
Not all online learning platforms are the same – some will include more robust and useful features than others. But regardless of the specific bells and whistles, these tools can be an integral part of your classroom management. Dive in, try out some of these tips, and let technology streamline your classroom management.
Kristen Williams is a veteran educator with over a decade of experience teaching in brick-and-mortar and virtual schools. She currently serves as a talent development specialist for Stride, coaching teachers on best practices in online learning.
To learn more visit www.stridelearning.com/learning-solutions.html