by Christopher Bradman
As we first entered March and early mutterings of COVID-19 became rumblings, few Australians would likely have anticipated how big a lifestyle change was to come. Schools quickly cleared out and in the interest of safety, many parents found themselves unexpectedly sharing additional responsibilities and adopting new technologies typically reserved for their child’s schoolteacher.
To allow parents to step into the role of educator in a home-based setting, educators quickly adapted their classrooms and teaching styles to provide them with the best tools to continue their children’s education. But with a return to classroom, parents and teachers can still use the information and learnings from this period of remote education. Using these newfound technology skills, educators can develop a personalised pedagogy tailored to each child’s learning to maximise their academic potential, supported both in the home and the classroom.
The main aim of e-learning is to provide a learning route and curriculum where activities are tailored to individual necessities can be delivered by parents in an at-home setting. In contrast to teacher-directed curricula, personalised e-learning environments are learner-centric, providing timely and relevant learning opportunities by enabling students to select, integrate and construct knowledge from the various technology platforms and services available.
Whilst teachers adapted quickly to provide classes, curriculum and instructions to parents, there are key environmental factors parents and educators can reflect on to build greater engagement as children continue back in the classroom this term.
- Reflect on where your child excels and what they struggle with
It is useful to develop an understanding of where your child is at within the curriculum. While they were at home, did you notice what they struggled with, did they excel in a particular area or were they slightly behind and needed to persevere through certain sections? If your child uses a Learning Management System (LMS) like Canvas, you can continue to track your child’s performance live, to determine which areas you can provide additional support in at home. This also means you can target troubling areas before they become a problem, supporting your child’s learning with online resources where they need it most. This knowledge will enable you to make more informed decisions on your child’s learning as the term continues.
- Understand your child’s learning style
Think back to your time in the classroom or lecture hall. Did you learn more effectively through visual illustrations, physical models, and aids, by repeat practicing or by listening? According to child psychologists, children can typically focus on a task for two to five minutes per year of life, meaning younger children need shorter instructions and work periods (for example, 16-40 minutes for an eight year old).
In addition, every individual learns differently, and we can harness education technology to best accommodate your children’s learning style. If your child is a visual learner, you can support their learning, homework and assessments by setting them up with a multimedia programme or video, keeping a printer handy for those who still prefer physical paper and hands-on activities, online quizzes and flashcards are excellent for repeat practicing and with a phone and a pair of headphones oral listeners can flourish right from the dining room table. By appealing to your child’s learning style, you are much more likely to get higher levels of engagement and achieve better learning outcomes overall.
2. Find out what motivates your child
Did you find that your child is an independent worker, did they require a timetable to keep on task, someone to notify them when they got distracted or praise when all milestones were met? Like adults, children are motivated by different factors, and discerning what drives them can be the difference between productive learning and chaos in the kitchen.
3. Be realistic
As parents, it is important you are realistic about your child’s abilities. It was a tough period for many stepping into the role of home educator while also maintaining their own full-time responsibilities at home. Try using this opportunity to understand how to meet their learning habits and needs in the future and to set them up for success so they emerge with a better grasp of the technology that scaffolds their everyday learning.
Most importantly be honest with your child and yourself and be unafraid to ask for help from the teacher moving forward. Don’t hesitate to reach out with questions or to offer support and appreciation for all of their work during this time.
The shift to online learning was an opportunity to experiment. This mentality is encouraged as we continue back in the classroom, with education technology being designed to be user-friendly and open new possibilities and pathways. Your child might have discovered a newfound love for e-books, cooperative learning games, or even built on their organisational skills with the self-management of digital timetables. Use this knowledge to help set them up for success for their ongoing learning now, and into the future.
5. Reflect on the move to remote learning
The shift to remote learning may not have made sense to them at the time, but at whatever age you have, talk to them, listen, and ensure you empathise with how they felt and are still feeling throughout this situation.
Christopher Bradman, General Manager of Instructure, Asia Pacific
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- Reflecting on Remote Learning for Personalised Pedagogy - June 16, 2020