While doing this virtually requires many of the same skills, there are also several new skills that you will need to establish. You will need to plan ahead, pre-teach expectations, and clearly communicate expectations and outcomes with students and/or families.
What online live virtual teaching platform should I use and which ones are available and acceptable for me and my students?
If your district and/or school has a live virtual teaching platform designated for use with students, then use that one.
When deciding on which tool to use, consider the following questions:
- How do families access this tool (phone, tablet, computer, etc.)?
- Is this tool easy for students and families to access (sign-up, sign-on, etc.)?
- What modes of communication does this tool allow for besides video (chat, translation, reactions, whiteboard, etc.)?
- Can this tool record live sessions, and how might those recordings be used/shared?
- How does/can this tool engage non-English speakers?
- Does this tool have a cost?
Some common platforms include Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and Zoom.
Do all of my students and families have access to the internet or a phone?
This is an important question and will determine if you can provide one consistent platform for all students or if you will need to provide multiple options. One of your goals will be to provide the most equitable access possible to all students.
If the answer is yes, you can likely conduct all of your virtual teaching and learning through your chosen digital platform. This will allow you to streamline your process and focus your efforts.
A paper mailing may also be considered as a way to initially direct families to the online resources and introduce the digital process to be used during live virtual learning sessions.
If the answer is no, you might still offer live virtual learning sessions for those families with internet access or the ability to call in by phone.
However, you will need to provide an alternative system for those who do not have that access. Some common alternatives include the following:
- Record the live learning session and post it in an asynchronous (self-paced) learning environment for students and/or families to access at a later time.
- Provide students and/or families with any of the resources used or shared during the session. These resources could be shared in an analog format.