Remote learning strategies to replace in-person class activities

Schools across the globe are heavily affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, with 105 countries closing schools and educational institutions. Approximately 897.1 million children are impacted by these decisions. Younger children are being homeschooled by their parents, and older students are being moved to online classes. While online learning is not new, many teachers and students are not used to this new method of teaching.

Being a teacher is already incredibly difficult, but to swiftly transition to online classes while unprepared and worried about your personal well-being is even more stressful. To help educators who may be overwhelmed, we’ve compiled a list of tech tools that can easily replace in-person teaching activities. Interested in using Poll Everywhere in your classroom? Download our free remote learning toolkit to learn more.

Taking attendance

Attendance is based around the student’s physical presence in the classroom, but how do you take attendance for an online class? If you’re using video conferencing software like Zoom, you can see the number of participants that are in your meeting room. However, if you don’t use Zoom or prefer recorded lectures, how can you be sure your students are attending class? Poll Everywhere’s education plan gives instructors the option to mark an answer as correct and records each student’s response. The answers can be exported as a grading report, which tells instructors who and how many students responded, which can be used to track attendance. Check out our template library for examples of how Poll Everywhere is used to monitor student attendance.

Proctoring quizzes and tests

Perhaps the most complicated in-person activities to replace are quizzes and tests. Cheating in any scenario is hard to catch but monitoring students virtually is complex. One way to minimize cheating is to set time limits for the quiz timeframe. If you use Canvas, you can administer quizzes with a set time limit. Once a student opens the quiz, they must complete it within that time frame. If you set the time frame to be very short, the student will not have time to search for answers. You may also withhold the correct answers to be shown until after every student has completed the quiz.

If you’re administering a final exam, this gets even more complicated. One method that a few universities are currently implementing is live proctoring. Students are required to download video conferencing software and show their faces for the duration of the test. A teaching assistant can monitor multiple students and watch for any fraudulent behavior.

Practice tests and sample questions

Administering in-class practice tests can be difficult when remote. To conduct this remotely, use a direct messaging platform like Slack or GroupMe and divide your students into groups. Students can create small group chats within these platforms and work on the assigned questions. Once students finish their question, have students submit their answers through an open-response poll and break down each answer or highlight the best ones. Doing this will simulate in-class collaboration and help students review important material before the exam.

The whiteboard

The whiteboard is a classroom staple. Great for breaking down math problems or illustrating complex problems for visual learners. Even the due dates or class schedule in the corner of the board is critical. One of the biggest challenges of remote classes is losing the ease of a whiteboard. Fear not, there are digital tools in place to help. Companies like InVision, Sketchboard, and Explain Everything have online whiteboards that teachers can use to replicate the whiteboard for their online classes.

Pro-tip: Use a word cloud to quickly share ideas and create a lively brainstorming session with your students.

Class resources and materials

To replace print-outs, share all documents and important resources by creating a class Google Drive or Dropbox. This is a great place to share lecture slides, the syllabus, additional readings, and more. You can easily create new documents into shared folders and manage who can edit, view, or comment on the documents. This prevents students from changing due dates on the syllabus or grading curves. If your school doesn’t have a learning management system like Canvas, try Google Classroom, a free web service for creating, distributing, and grading assignments in a paperless way.

A cloud-based drive allows students to upload files and submit assignments. Students can also share their own lecture notes or study guides with their peers for a collaborative learning experience. You can also assign a designated note-taker and have them share their notes after every class.

(Read more: Best apps for teachers)

More than ever, it is important to support educators in their transition to online classes. As our way of helping educators, Poll Everywhere is offering a free 90-day trial of our premium education features. Sign-up now to start the trial and access grading, reporting, and more.

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