Insights to Help Students Feel Connected Online
Titan tech educators Loretta Donovan and Tim Green offer insights on how teachers and parents can help students feel connected:
- Communicate with students when they can reach out for help. This does not mean that an instructor needs to be available 24/7. It does mean being available at various times, letting students know your schedule and being flexible. If you are not willing to be available on weekends or in the evenings, you will struggle with connecting with your students.
- In a traditional teaching and learning environment, a teacher needs to be purposeful in connecting students in meaningful ways. The approach is no different in a virtual environment. A well-designed virtual learning experience should include meaningful opportunities for students to work together, share ideas and engage in discussions.
- Nurture relationships among the students from the start to virtually meet and get to know each other. For example, use Zoom so students can see each other and connect live. This makes a huge difference in helping them form bonds and a sense of belonging.
- Direct students to form groups based on interest. We have found that these groups grow into support systems more than study groups and work groups. Purposefully design opportunities for them to connect.
- The transition to virtual teaching doesn’t mean putting online exactly what takes place in a classroom. Green addresses this in his award-winning podcast available online.
- Follow Green on Twitter @theedtechdoctor and his podcast; and Donovan on Twitter @csuf_edtech.