What are online classes all about? Online classes are classes conducted over the internet. They allow teachers and students to meet online and learn like they would in a normal brick and mortar classroom. Online classes can be either synchronous or asynchronous. Synchronous means that the teacher and students are in the classroom at the same time. Asynchronous means that the student can follow a study path that is not tied to being in the classroom at the same time as a teacher.
In Broward County most schools, if not all, are currently teaching students in a synchronous class environment.
Before I was a Realtor®, I completed my doctoral studies in educational technology. What that means is that I know quite a bit about online learning. Below I have compiled 5 tips that will help parents and students find their groove as they learn to adapt to this new model of learning.
Choose the Right Place to Learn
Set up a physical area that is devoted to online learning. Ensure it is quiet and free from interruptions or distractions. Make sure that there is a good and secure web connection. Your family’s normal learning space for intermittent or casual schoolwork is probably not the best space unless it can be adapted accordingly.
There is a great need to stay focused during synchronous learning. Without being in the same physical space is as the student, classroom management is a whole new ball game for educators. Students can be easily distracted and this can detract from learning.
Electronic devices and the computer itself are a ready distraction for students, especially younger, less mature students. In order to keep your child or children focused, limit access to these distractive devices and consider using a software which allows you to monitor your child’s online activity while in class.
Take Brain Breaks and Stretch
More significant screen time levels can be detrimental. There is evidence to suggest long term exposure can affect a child’s brain and eyesight. Incorporate “mind breaks” in the middle of learning as many as are needed in order to keep the digital interaction as healthy as possible.
During those brain breaks encourage your child to stretch and do a little physical activity. It will break up the time sitting in front of the computer and activate their bodies. In some cases sitting for an entire day may be too long. To remedy the sedentary nature of online learning considering using a stand up desk for your child’s/children’s computer/s. This will give them the option to stand or sit throughout the day.
Proper Time Management
Most children in Broward County are on a synchronous learning schedule, parents can maximize children’s breaks by encouraging them to get physical and disconnect from the digital world even if for just a few minutes at a time. These breaks should be planned and regular in order to maintain the structure and consistency of the day.
Before creating a schedule, there are some necessary things to consider:
- Study your kids to see what works best for them.
- Keep the breaks consistent.
- Be flexible if necessary. Give kids a break if they are stressed-out, anxious, frustrated, or distracted.
Teacher vs. the Tools for Online Learning
Having the right tools for online learning can optimize the experience, however technology makes no significant difference in learning. That means that paper and pencil are as effective as a laptop.
So whatever technology your child’s school has chosen learn how to use it but don’t stress out about it. Knowing how it works will insure that the online experience is as smooth as it can be but it won’t make or break the learning experience. Their teacher is the key to effective learning and the technology is just a tool. Keep that in mind and keep the focus where it should be, on the learning.
Every student is unique, and it will take some time to find your child’s groove. Take it one day at a time, tweak it as needed and before you know it online schooling will become second nature.