Adapting to the Ever-Changing World: Tips for Virtual Learning during Pandemics and Beyond

Being a teacher requires the mindset of adaptability. Differentiating instruction, using behavior management techniques, answering questions, conducting small groups for re-teaches, and so many more things require teachers to adapt on a daily basis. School being forced to shift to online learning, such as during the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic, has further highlighted the importance of having a winning system. In Chapter 2,1 discuss the benefits of shortterm and long-term planning. If your school needs to move to online teaching, maintaining your system of short-term and long-term planning is even more important. Having all of your resources available digitally, through the cloud or on your computer, allows for you to more easily shift your classroom online. Looking up specific lesson plans based on the unit and day allows you to be more organized than a teacher who does not have most (or any) of their lesson plans saved online.

Allow Technology to Work for You

Using technology efficiently is another important aspect of teaching virtually. As the old saying goes, "have technology work for you, not you for it." There is a possibility that is not an old saying and I made it up recently. Nonetheless, make sure you are aware of all of the online websites, browser extensions, and programs that your school district pays for. Typically, your administrator or school librarian will have a list of all the online resources your district has access to. It is worth exploring and playing around with the available educational websites and programs so that you are able to lesson plan to the best extent possible. Many times, these online programs, websites, and browser extensions enhance our teaching and objectives. For example, there is currently a program that is considered a browser extension that allows for teachers to make their online class more interactive. Students can type their answers to questions that teachers develop, and teachers then have the choice to show student answers as well. This allows teachers to use a mix of verbal and nonverbal participation online. In theory, teachers can continually unmute students each time they ask a question. However, this is a huge waste of time and not every student will want to participate online. Having an interactive program to add to lessons allows all students to participate in some way. When a teacher has this mindset, they are allowing technology to "work for them," and not the other way around.

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