By Stacy Zeiger
As most educators will agree, technology has changed the way teachers teach and students learn. While, in many cases, the actual content has not changed, the method of delivery has. This is particularly true when it comes to online learning. Online lessons offer a new way to help students learn both in the classroom and at home.
Consider how you can use online learning in and out of your traditional classroom setting.
1. Whole Group Instruction
Online lessons can provide ready-made content for teachers. Rather than creating your own lessons and slideshows, look for online lessons from places like:
The implementation is easy: simply display the lesson on an interactive whiteboard or other presentation device and work through it with students. In a 1:1 classroom, have students watch the same lesson on their screens while you facilitate discussion around that lesson.
At the end, students take an accompanying quiz as a class or individually to help check for understanding.
Teachers can also use online lessons to add a bit of fun to their lessons. For example, you may opt to share a read-aloud lesson with students instead of reading the book yourself or share a video story about angles to spice up a math lesson.
2. Small Group Instruction
Online learning allows teachers to present personalized lessons to smaller groups of students. Split the class in half and have one group work its way through an online lesson while you complete a hands-on activity or discussion with the other group.
Online lessons are great for learning centers and stations, providing more of a customized learning experience for groups of students at different levels.
3. Flipped Classrooms
In a flipped classroom, students complete traditional assignments at home and work with hands-on and interactive activities in class. Online, self-paced lessons work well with this concept.
Assign students an online, self-paced lesson and accompanying worksheet to complete for homework. When in class, have them complete an activity related to the lesson. The online lesson gives students a shared experience to draw from as they complete the activity in the classroom.
For example, assign students a Lab Safety Symbols lesson, with information that they’ll use while completing an experiment in class the next day.
4. Homework Assignments
Online lessons make great homework assignments—instead of sending home worksheets or asking students to read and answer questions in their textbooks, assign online lessons and related online worksheets for students to complete. For example, you may have students watch a lesson on constellations, and then have them go outside and look for constellations in the night sky.
Not only does this method save paper, but with self-paced lessons, you can easily give homework assignments based on students’ needs. In many cases, an online lesson is a lot more engaging than a standard worksheet.
5. Test Prep and Review
Provide students with links to relevant lessons for reviewing for exams. Through self-directed learning, students can then review the lessons at their own pace.
Re-share lessons that students have already worked through as a class or new lessons that summarize what students have learned throughout a grading period. Using this method, you can tailor the content to meet individual students’ needs.
6. Advanced Learning
By the same token, when students have already mastered the content in the classroom and need to be challenged, you can use online lessons to give them access to more advanced content. Rather than completing lessons with the entire class, have more advanced students take on self-directed learning. This allows you to meet advanced students’ needs without taking time away from the rest of the class.
7. Makeup Work
When using online lessons, students don’t have to be physically present in the classroom to benefit. As long as they have an Internet connection, they can access any lessons online. If students are absent, send them a link to the lesson to be watched and completed on their own.
Similarly, if a teacher is going to be absent, the class can stay on track with online lessons facilitated by the substitute teacher.
8. Holidays and Snow Days
While teachers often look forward to snow days and holidays as much as students, sometimes you need extra instruction to ensure student understanding. Some school districts send home “blizzard bags” for students to complete during snow days, but you may opt to use online lessons instead.
If the majority of students have Internet access at home, assign them a lesson or two to complete while out of the classroom. Remember to plan for students who don’t have Internet access—sending worksheets or assignments home in anticipation of a snow day.
Online lessons are a great way for students learn at their own pace. But that’s not all they’re good for. They also serve as a time-saving method for teachers, providing them with ready-made, engaging content that they can present to all of their students, whether they’re in school or not.