For many people, online teaching, or elearning, is a choice. They can organize their lessons in digital environments either sporadically or for a longer amount of time, sometimes completely, by creating online academies. Other times, e-learning is something that comes into our lives when we least expect it. In either case, the most important thing to do is to ask ourselves: how we can join this new trend, getting the best results from our own work as well as that of our students? What is the best platform for creating your classes and online training sessions?
In this post we will provide answers to these and other questions as well as discover tips and functionalities such as content integration, digital whiteboard, or recording our own voice. All of this will help us to leverage this situation to take the way that we teach and learn to the next level.
5 Tips for distance learning
Let’s see a few tips to get the most out of online teaching:
Time for yourself:
Let’s start with something that should be obvious, but many times it slips away from us: a good work-life balance. Education is a vocation that can completely absorb us. The time can fly by and we still find ourselves preparing, thinking of ideas, and correcting work or exams. However, we should try to not fall into this excess and try to find a good balance between our work and our personal lives.
Although you may not realize it at first, the act of teaching remotely, elearning, is going to help with this balance. You win time that you previously invested in commuting and traveling, you win a bit of a flexible working schedule, and this, in the end, will be reflected in an improved quality of life.
However, in order to have a real balance, we need to reduce the amount of time that we are dedicating to our work. We’re not saying reduce the number of classes you teach online or work less hours. What we are saying is that you should optimize your time to get the most out of those hours. Work more, but in less time. And, if possible, avoid interruptions in order to reach those objectives.
To do this effectively, get organized, be patient, and develop your assertiveness. You’ll be closer to this balance, and you’ll win time for yourself and your loved ones.
Plan, organize and prioritize
The morning hours are the most productive of the day. Our attitude is more relaxed, which makes us able to concentrate much better. Take advantage of this time to create a list of the tasks you will get done each day. This includes which teaching material you want to cover as well as time for correcting, planning, and designing new activities.
With your list prepared, be sure that you are organizing your tasks based on priorities, in order to reach your objectives. You can look at the Kanban methodology, if you are a fan of organization and order, or, simply, manage your day to day with a good old fashioned “to-do” list.
Now, it’s also important to be realistic when it comes time to planning your day. Don’t overload yourself. Estimate how much time it will take you to complete the task, and this way you can make your day more efficient and you’ll be happier when you see that you have hit all your daily goals within the time you had planned.
Help your students to get organized
With the activities clear, it’s time to pass on that organization to our students. You can give them advice for them to organize their own workspaces or help them with a calendar to set a routine. You can create interactive calendars, like this one, in which you can add your content and syllabus planning.
You can even go a step further and create a PLE, or personalized learning environment in which to add all of your course information.
Or, simply, make the beginning and end of a lesson or task you are going to do with them very clear. Both your students and their families will be grateful.
Collaborate with other educators
Social media makes educating and training tasks easier for us since it allows us to share content that is useful for other educators. Exchange resources, best practices, or educational material to get the best results.
Here at Genially, we are committed to helping the educational community, and we know that, together, we can make online teaching more effective and more accessible. In order to do that, we have created the hashtag #SharingGenially that many educators and trainers are already using on social media to share all kinds of material with the community.
The goal of this action, forming part of a broader collection of initiatives geared towards making distance learning easier, is to create a means through which it’s easy to find and use content for different subjects. If you want to share your own creations, as well as access the large bank of resources provided by the community, remember to use #SharingGenially. It can help you in your role as an educator in these times of online teaching and at the same time, you can also help many other educators and students around the world.
Finally, and this is key for being efficient, surround yourself with tools that make your work easier for you. It’s relevant to bet on technological solutions that are versatile, that help us resolve many of our day to day communication and teaching requirements all in one place. Platforms, like Genially, that in one place and with one sign-on, improve the power of many other platforms.
That way, in the same platform, we can create presentations, learning guides, interactive images, infographics, slideshows with our own audio narration, or gamifications, in a way that is integrated, easy, fast, and simple. On top of that, it allows us to share our creations in an agile way, without needing to download anything, and being able to integrate them directly into our class in Google Classroom or Microsoft Teams, and of course, on our blog, LMS, or our school’s education platform, in just a few clicks.
Regardless of this advice, it’s possible that you still believe that the physical distance keeps us separated. However, technology is helping us to make that distance that separates us also bring us closer together.
Distances that unite
Even though the classroom atmosphere is different when at a distance, we can establish other types of connections that will make the remote teaching-learning experience just as satisfactory.
Let’s start by making sure our students feel accompanied and part of the community, where they can develop and find their own voice.
- We can create spaces for communicating and exchanging messages, just like the spaces that our schools have for creating communities, such as forums or chats.
- We can have video calls with whichever platform we like best
- Or we can create our own online communities in platforms such as Flipgrid which creates secure environments where we can share videos quickly and easily. We can then integrate these videos within our class’s genially.
Aside from creating groups, it’s important to set up or establish sessions for the exchanging of ideas and to give feedback. We can find multiple tools online that can give our students corrections or scores automatically, without needing to intervene ourselves. However, even remotely, we have to maintain that connection with our students. In fact, we can continue giving the corrections and feedback that we do in face-to-face and live teaching environments.
In this sense, digital whiteboards, online, are perfect for explaining, reviewing, or resolving doubts that our students might have. Genially can serve as a digital white board, have you ever tried it? Let’s see this and other awesome functionalities for distance learning.
Awesome tools for distance teaching and elearning
Richard Buckminster Fuller. who some refer to as the man who invented the future once said, “If you want to teach people a new way of thinking, don’t bother trying to teach them. Instead, give them a tool, the use of which will lead to new ways of thinking.”
We like this quote because it reminds us that distance learning and teaching is a wonderful challenge. One that requires certain changes in the way that we see reality, but, thanks in part to digital tools like Genially, that we can overcome in a way that is easy, simple, and effective.
So, it’s time to see how you, those reading us through the screen, can make use of the full potential of Genially to get the most out of remote teaching with three amazing functionalities: audio recording, digital whiteboard, and content integration.
What do you think about adding a voice over to your lessons? Awesome, right? Let’s see how it works
- Within the editor, click on the button Insert.
- After, click on the tab Audio.
- You will see different options for inserting audio into your genially, among them you will find the option for recording audio button.
- Click on the button for the microphone to begin recording.
Remember: Your browser will show you a window asking you for permission to use the microphone, if you don’t allow it then you won’t be able to record your narration.
- Click on the stop button to finish recording.
- Your audio will appear directly on the canvas!
- Adjust the settings of your recording in order to personalize it even further by clicking on the gear icon that appears above the audio file.
With this feature, it’s easy to narrate our content to reach communicative success. We are going to adjust the settings a bit to further personalize it, by clicking on the gear icon which appears above the audio file.
Inserting our audio recording directly within our creation has a double benefit when it comes to teaching. On the one hand, If we create the content, we can record an explanation for some part of it which will play automatically when we get to that page. To do that, we are going to activate the autoplay option, so that the recording begins playing as soon as we access this page, and we are also going to hide the player, so that our audio player is not visible when viewing the presentation.
We could also record a full lesson that plays as background audio while our students learn from and explore all the pages of our genially. We would do this by activating the background audio option.
On the other hand, coming back to the double benefit that I mentioned, our students can also create their own creations and record audio to narrate their work. That way, they can share their doubts with us or they can show us the knowledge they have acquired. We really have a wide range of possibilities open for us.
Let’s see other awesome functionalities for distance learning.
To make our genially a whiteboard, it’s as easy as activating the option “Paint on the Genially” in the display options.
Strengthen your lesson by including diverse content such as videos, 3D models, virtual tours, calendars, …
Here is an awesome example of diverse content integration.
You can learn more about how to integrate content in our Help Center.
If you want to see how these three functionalities work in more detail, we recommend you watch this webinar:
We hope that you have enjoyed this webinar in which we have seen how teaching remotely can be a fantastic opportunity for developing new skills and taking the way that we teach to a new level as well as how Genially can help us to accomplish that by providing us with multiple options for making this situation as positive of an experience as possible.
If you have any questions or suggestions, get in touch with us via social media by using the hashtag #AskGenially or leave a comment on this post.
Warm wishes from the entire Genially Team. See you soon!