As many schools, including our own, utilize distance learning, you may be wondering how to know for sure that your student is continuing to make gains in their educational journey. Distance learning certainly presents its own sets of challenges, however, there are a few questions you can explore to help you gauge how effective your child’s distance learning really is.
Assessment tools are critical to ensure that students are developing and progressing in their pursuit of knowledge from their kitchen tables. As teachers continue to gather a greater understanding of their students’ capabilities in a virtual environment, their assessment strategies will continue to evolve.
Technology allows students the ability to showcase their knowledge and understanding of topics by creating presentations for peers. This lets teachers observe and gauge how deeply each student understands the topic at hand. It also gives teachers an opportunity to identify learning deficits and strategize new ways to teach the next lesson.
It’s crucial that distance learning doesn’t ignore the need of each individual student. Teachers have the ability to meet with students in small groups or one-on-one in order to have a closer period of observation to check for students’ application and understanding. These more personalized times also open up communication among students and teachers, allowing students the opportunity to air any concerns or freely express their needs.
The learning environment may change but the root of the curriculum should remain constant. Our school’s pedagogy – and the principles of any school – should remain at the forefront of each lesson. The richness of each lesson shouldn’t falter and the desired outcomes should remain the same as they would in a traditional learning environment.
Setting goals is an important part of our students’ learning as it enables them to strive for something greater while also giving them a baseline from which they can measure their progress. This helps to increase their self-esteem and sense of accomplishment, ultimately fueling their educational, social, and emotional growth. Each student should be encouraged to review their progress and self-reflect. This gives them the chance to become more aware of their own thoughts and learning processes and adjust their strategies as needed to achieve their goals.
As we continue to evolve the way our students learn, it’s normal to expect some growing pains. However, the power of distance learning continues to grow more powerful when it comes to providing children with the same rigor, richness, and holistic learning opportunities as traditional learning methods.