Instilling engagement in kids is a significant task that teachers love doing. But how do you keep kids engaged in remote learning? In these most challenging times, where schools have adopted online learning to manage the accessibility of quality education, teachers need to keep abreast of the teaching pedagogies that highly support remote learning.
As cited in Hanover Research, the National Standards for Quality Online Teaching highlighted strategies that can guide teachers in maintaining high levels of student engagement in an online environment.
Student engagement, in particular, has been a challenge among educators around the globe even in face-to-face interactions. Therefore, keeping kids engaged in remote learning should be a top priority to promote interactive online classes. It’s a feat if teachers know exactly what activities to utilize in the virtual classroom to heighten student engagement.
By ensuring that all students in your virtual classroom are learning means student engagement is very well managed. But let’s go into detail more specifically so we are certain that no child will be left behind. Right now, more and more kids are still in the adjustment period in their new learning environment during these unique times.
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How Do You Keep Kids Engaged in Remote Learning?
Remote learning isn’t second nature to us yet nor to the children. Therefore, as facilitators of learning, we have to support the programs of the schools to provide our students with quality education. Here are some effective tips to keep kids engaged in remote learning and to show them that there can be extraordinary opportunities for productive learning amidst the COVID 19 pandemic
1. Utilize interactive digital learning tools
One of the best things that happens during the pandemic is that educators in the world are able to produce online learning materials that can increase student’s participation in online instruction. At the click of a mouse, your students can enjoy the use of interactive digital learning tools so they can make the best of remote learning. Identify which are closely knit to the learning competencies and lesson content.
However, with the myriad of choices we have online, we should choose the most appropriate and relevant online learning tool to boost student performance in distance learning. Think of the big picture in remote learning for this challenging school year. Aside from using the most reliable online platforms, you should equip yourself with the different learning portals that host multitudinous teaching tools.
The proper integration of technology as it should be expected during this time should encourage collaboration and teamwork among young minds while exercising freedom for students to own their own learning. Make sure that the materials you choose are accessible to the kids at home and make them comfortable learning.
When I used Edmodo in my virtual learning space, I made assessments really exciting and fun. Moreover, using this teaching tool can help you reach out to parents and involve them apparently in their kid’s education. Interestingly, this is an incredible tool that allows you to share learning materials easily and exercise equitable access for your students. You can instantly send messages which is a great way to maintain open communication. Check out this teacher guide to help you get started.
2. Make “Getting to know” exciting
Calling them by their first names makes them feel their valuable presence in the virtual classroom. Therefore, it’s always good to have a sensible prep time of how you begin your virtual class on the very first day of classes.
Figure out fun activities for self-introduction where students tell something about themselves and get to know their peers on the first day. The more you recognize them the better. Plus, the “getting to know you” stage is a way of fostering community in online learning. Make it fun and interactive. You can tell the kids to mention their favorites, pets, likes, and dislikes when they introduce themselves.
How about you? How can you make an impression on the first day? How will the kids remember your name on the second day? Well, you can create a video of your self-introduction giving them clues of what their teacher can offer to them and how the whole class proceeds.
I remembered the first day in my virtual class, that I included images in my self-introduction that kept my students excited more and more. I used Animoto Video Maker and enjoyed using the featured styles and formats that made my self-introduction fun and exciting. So, with that, my students were able to catch a glimpse of me and they were able to remember the next day onwards!
3. Incorporate fun learning
When kids have fun, they will become more interested to attend your classes. Therefore, you should think of what to include and design a prep time for this. By making learning fun and engaging, kids will be more pleased to join in the different learning tasks and will never feel the alienation impact of remote learning.
I know that kids this time are having a hard time adjusting to Zoom classes and to their virtual classrooms. I’m sure they are missing their endless conversations in the physical classroom. By letting them feel that it can also be done in a virtual space, they’ll realize that remote learning can be fun after all.
Fun via a screen can keep kindergartners motivated and enjoy their learning experiences with you. Deeply, I know that it’s really a challenge for both parents and teachers. Make them feel excited each day and let them feel the ambiance of a happy learning environment in a distance.
4. Amplify individualized learning
When learning is individualized, students take notice of their strengths and enrich their weaknesses. Fostering individualized learning in your virtual classroom will make students feel that their needs are accommodated and that they are in a good learning environment.
Utilizing appropriate activities and online learning tools is a great way to keep track of your student’s progress while taking care of the areas where they need the most assistance. Moreover, there are learning apps that can assist your students and allow them to work on tasks in their own space; thus. owning their learning and getting them ready during class interactions.
After carefully analyzing the results of assessments, for example, you can then craft individualized activities that boost student performance. Hence, individualized instruction and remediation in remote learning can keep your kids engaged and motivated.
I had an instance in my virtual class when my students were given specialized learning activities that essentially helped them improve their specific skills. It was interesting to note that some had the same learning activities because they had parallel needs, so I used the breakout rooms for them to collaborate and to work on their own.
And one of them said, ” It was really fun, teacher. And the exchange of ideas and the brainstorming were really productive. Thank you.” As I see it, using breakout rooms is a great way to increase personalized instruction in a collaborative manner. I just love the thought and you can try it too.
5. Provide immediate constructive feedback
How do you integrate immediate feedback into remote learning? Acquainting yourself to giving intentional feedback when students are performing behind screens and submitting their work online is one great way to keep your kids engaged in remote learning.
Will this really increase student engagement? Well, let’s catch the scenario. Imagine you were giving your best suggestions to the school administration as to how to best engage students in learning and your proposal stayed on the table for days and no feedback was given. Or, if it did gain attention, it carried comments weeks after it was laid on the table for approval. How would you feel? How would you take it?
Feedback is an important aspect of student learning. It should be given immediately and constructively. We can’t just keep on requiring our students to do different tasks without any feedback at all of how they are. You can send a private message or give the student a call and give your assessment of his or her work.
Our feedback should be explicit otherwise our students will get the feeling of being ignored which eventually impacts their interests. We can’t just allow it from happening because it can hamper effective student learning. Think of the best ways to reach out. On my end, I usually do it through FB messenger and Whatsapp or whatever is accessible to your learners.
Not extending a great effort to make students informed of their performance, you won’t also know what went wrong and what went well. Most importantly, you should be able to analyze and interpret learning results very carefully to arrive at the best decision. Should you proceed to the next lesson? Or should you extend the time for learning a certain competency?
6. Modify and simplify
When your students are caught in a dilemma of giving varied interpretations to a certain task because it’s vague or complex, most probably, their enthusiasm fades.
Modifying and simplifying concepts and tasks make students feel eager to solve problems in math, or more interested to analyze and to dissect stories of long ago. Think of the best ways to simplify lesson context and eradicate complications along the way.
In your efforts to increase student engagement, you should not overlook lesson content and the framework of performance tasks. Just make them so real and achievable. Because even though your virtual classrooms are filled with brilliant minds, if the hardest concepts are not modified, students get confused and feel like falling out of love for learning.
The best track to its implementation is to use the best teaching strategy that makes successful student learning really visible and not just remain a plan. Just simplify things and make them happen in remote learning.
7. Decorate your workspace
What happens when your background appears clearly on the other end? Yes, it captures one’s attention! So, grab it as an opportunity to engage your young learners. They should be able to make an impression after seeing your background. And the impression should bear more interest for the succeeding days until the class ends.
Here’s the best support for your intention of motivating your students in distance learning. Update your background and don’t just rely on the available backgrounds in Zoom. Although they look cool, there’s more to that.
Prepare cutouts just like what you’re doing on your bulletin boards in your physical classroom. The vibrant colors on your background walls should pull your students inwards rather than pushing them out because of distractions. Hence, decorate your workspace intelligibly and sensibly.
Getting curious about how to make the best of remote learning with young minds? Check out the video below to see how it goes in a virtual classroom where young kids take center stage.
I know we are all looking forward to teaching again in our physical classrooms, but we should always extend our best efforts to give our students extraordinary learning experiences online. Engaging them in learning calls for our all-inclusive teaching strategies.
Moreover, when young learners get more adaptive to remote learning through our help and with their parent’s support, it’s always possible that education continues no matter what.
Easier said than done. However, our passion to teach and to make a difference will help us get through when school closures are extended to an uncertain date! Our practical and realistic interventions in student learning are our best response to the new normal setting in education and maintaining student engagement.
How do you adapt your teaching strategies to remote learning to increase student engagement? Get in touch below and let’s explore more effective ways to achieve distinctive student engagement.