An online classroom gives teachers the unthinkable opportunity to coordinate a synchronous meeting with a very diverse community. These new opportunities do come with some time concerns, too. We are going to be taking a close look at some time management techniques that you can use in your online classroom.
Having enough time is the largest advantage of being an online teacher. Time could be just another limitation of your online teaching. With the right time management skills and communication, these problems can be controlled fairly easily. It doesn’t matter if you have two or 22 students; here are some tips that will help you handle your time.
Never Underestimate Time
If you are an optimistic person, try not to get too optimistic. In the beginning, most teachers think that teaching online is just about delivering the lesson. You might be surprised about how much time you need to run your online classroom. Managing your time is mostly about preparing and delivering knowledge. Hopefully, you will build a community outside of your online classroom. Creating and maintaining relationships involves encouragement, support, and quick responses. Remember that asynchronous communication will take some time.
You Have To Set Boundaries
Normal in-person classrooms, online classrooms don’t get pressured by time. There aren’t any bells ringing or waiting for the next class to begin. This is when setting time boundaries will come into play. If you have a one hour lesson scheduled, tell them that you will be closing the session ten minutes before it actually ends. Encourage your students to pose any final questions for the class to end smoother. Excessive talking and time violations will be unproductive for everyone in an online class. You are ultimately the person who is responsible for keeping everyone on track.
Keep Everything Simple
If you give too much information, it can make students anxious. If you have set your time management rules, you should be just fine. There isn’t any need to share your travel agenda with your students. Flexibility and freedom are among the best benefits for online teachers. Teaching online is portable. This means you get to work from anywhere you want, just as long as you have a stable internet connection, and your environment is appropriate for the age of the students. Your students might begin to worry if you travel frequently. You might get some negative comments like “the teacher was too busy” or “the teacher doesn’t pay enough attention to me.” Because this isn’t the case, manage these perceptions by giving just enough details.
Be Efficient In Your Online Classroom
Research has shown that students can’t concentrate for a long amount of time. The average attention span for an adult is about 14 minutes. It’s essential to put the lessons into manageable pieces. You can do this by using interactive materials that are fun to get your class’ attention. Evaluation and feedback can keep your students interested, too. A good rule of thumb is to give small bits of feedback regularly. There isn’t a point in postponing communication and evaluation. When you can get more involved, it can boost your student’s rate of engagement and level of satisfaction.
Time Management Techniques Can Help
Technology can amplify the human process. If you aren’t effective offline, you probably won’t be good online either. Most of the normal time management skills can help you with your online classes. You can try some of these techniques:
- Make a to-do list of every activity that you need to do for your class online. You probably already have lots of useful materials that you want to introduce to your students. But setting priorities is needed for live sessions that might have time limits. Because of this, you need to be sure that all the essentials get covered, and you are always prepared if a gap in time happens.
- Quantify your to-do list each week by spending time on every activity. Setting aside blocks of time to certain tasks can help you watch a certain activity while staying away from overdoing things. Getting your learning materials in order, practicing, prioritizing, and assembling the templates are the staples in your action plan. If this sounds a bit overwhelming, don’t worry. With some practice, this process can be more effective, and you will optimize your time.
Using Time Management Techniques With An Online Classroom is a Win for Everyone
Both students and teachers need to use time management skills. You have to manage yourself, but you have to hold your students accountable and make sure they stay involved.
- Encourage them to utilize a “raise your hand” button to help organize your conversations. Just a quick caution here: as the teacher, you need to watch for any silent students and get them involved. Some students might lack the confidence needed, or they may feel uncomfortable when getting involved in the classroom.
- If a student can’t be there for a live in-person session, they need to make sure they tell everyone else. Good manners are needed online and in person.
- Students need to use their time in a meaningful manner and stop any and all distractions. You can help control this by stimulating other involvement. Ask questions that will get everyone involved to keep your students focused and interested.
- Make sure your deadlines are reasonable. Students aren’t going to stick to schedules if it doesn’t suit their needs. Let them do their homework when it is good for them. Stop setting firm deadlines. This just might do the trick.
Technology Can Give You More Control
Once you get used to doing things online, there are many time-saving features that could boost your efficiency. Take some time to learn more about all things technology gives you.
Once you have adapted some time management techniques into your online classroom, it will help you keep your classroom organized and managed. Remember that teaching online isn’t just about saving time. It is about allowing you to be the best teacher you can be.
Benefits of Having an Online Classroom Lesson
Most teachers hardly ever agree on practices, but lesson planning is one exception. There are several benefits to organizing your lesson plans in advance, like:
- It allows you time to think about your format and then finds new ideas.
- It makes sure you are using the best structure to help your students ease into the new subject.
- You have the ability to add in songs, games, or other activities that can add to your lessons.
- It gives you time to think about how to present the materials that are the most important.
- When you organize the elements of your lesson, you will be making sure that you aren’t repeating things, but everything is complementing the others.
Teachers don’t always get opportunities to make lesson plans that are thought out well. This is an opportunity that many misses that could help improve their teaching and their students.
The most common mistake with lesson plans is using the same trajectory with various sessions about the same subject. Your plans need to reflect every student’s differences. If you can encourage and help your students to be and do their best, it would be helpful to give them a less that is suited for their needs. Plus, once you teach a child something that interests them, there is a larger chance this will boost their creativity along with their ability to understand it and remember it in the future.
Planning an Online Lesson
Getting ready for an online session might be hard for someone who tutors. They need the structure of a lesson plan. A teacher has to adapt their ideas to their online environment, too.
- Get Creative
Before you begin your lesson plan, take some time, and define in just a few words what you want the goal of your lesson to be. What do you want your students to be able to do once the session has finished? Use these goals as your base for your lesson plan and get to creating.
Before you create an outline of your class, think of some of the craziest or best ideas and write them down. You could use things like mind mapping, brainstorming, or color-coding if you are pressed for time.
After you have written down some of the weirdest ideas, try to:
- Not put two activities that are similar right after each other
- Don’t focus on anything boring but on things that have substance
- Have memorable and strong beginnings and ends
- Leave time for students to talk amongst themselves and to ask questions
Even though this seems relatively simple, you could be surprised by the results you get.
- Find The Best
Once you have planned all the activities and added some craziness into your lesson, it’s time to use your online tools. We will begin with the features that are most obvious and then moving down to the ones that aren’t used that often. Your online classroom gives you a huge variety of activities that can’t be used in a normal classroom setting. This can help you take your lessons to the next level.
Here are some ideas you can use:
- Find some short videos on your subject. An online classroom gives you the ability to play different videos at the same time as a group of students. Once the video has finished, you can let the class talk about them.
- Give them images. It is very easy to add images to your online classroom. You can use them in various ways: to show your idea, to be grouped together based on specific criteria, or as a matching game. Students need to be allowed to post since they will be the ones searching for specific images.
- Show your information sources. Your online classroom lets you share your screen with your students. Rather than giving them a list of websites, show them what you have found. This goes for presentations and other platforms that they can use without having to download something.
- Get colorful. You can color-code your plans. This tool is always there for you to use. It is both useful and simple because it gives the students more information. The online classroom can take color-coding to a whole new level by giving them large amounts of tones.
- Put your plans onto a whiteboard platform. The biggest advantage of an online classroom is able to create your template in advance. By doing this, you can get your lesson ready, not just as a plan but as a presentation.
- Mix and Match New and Old
Just because you are using an online classroom doesn’t mean that you have to forget about all your tried and true methods from a normal classroom. Think about ways you can change your favorite games or exercises so you can use them in an online environment. A game that uses pieces of paper can be changed to using shapes and colors that are given in the online classroom software.
- Give Your Student’s Creativity a Boost
You can use your lesson plans to figure out ways you can give your student’s creativity a boost. If your students are having fun while you are teaching, they are going to learn and then remember a lot more. Find ways to get them involved in the learning process by creating activities that make them participate.
Creating a Lesson Plan
Lesson planning won’t be too terribly different from in-person, but there are some things you will need to take into consideration that you won’t have to otherwise.
- Access Survey
It’s hard to know what types of tools students and parents have access to, and while it would be great if your district has an idea of what parents have, they may not know what devices are available. If you have the time, come up with a short survey to send to the families to help figure out which ones may need some support in setting up an online environment.
Some families may require special assistance, and some internet providers will offer a subsidized program to these families and schools. Another option would be to share wireless hotspots with families through the library.
Some schools may also need to loan out Chromebooks or tablets to some students. This would be something the school or district will have to come up with if they do not already have one.
- Lesson Content
Like we have already talked about, you need to make sure that the content is engaging, aligns with exiting lessons, and easy to navigate. Open Educational Resources are the best options when it comes to remote learning. You want to make this as seamless as possible, and OERs can help. OER is full of techniques, materials, software, tests, streaming videos, textbooks, modules, course materials, and full courses. They also follow the 5R framework.
This means that the content is made to be retained, reused, revised, remixed, and redistributed.
A big part of any plan is how you are going to communicate it to others. The parents need to have clear directions as to what to do to help their children learn, as well as the information on where they should check for additional information.
If you are using a call-out system, make sure that the parents know what time to expect the call and make sure that you are consistent. Any information that you send out via phone message, email, or text should be saved in the parent portal. This would give the parents a chance to find the information if they missed the message.
- What A Day Could Look Like
The following is an example rundown of what a day as a virtual teacher could look like.
- Have your office hours for the weeks set:
- 10 AM – 11:30 AM
- 1 PM – 3:30 PM
- Students and parents will know the best way to communicate with you during your office hours.
- 8:30 AM – post the days schedule for your class, including assignments that need to be finished or alternative lessons for those who can’t come to a live class.
- Provide students with a 72-hour window to finish the course work. You can suggest that they should have the work ready for the live class, but as long as it is turned in within that timeframe, they will be okay.
Students get marked as present if all of the required work is turned in within that 72-hour period.