Unstuck Your Virtual Student
September 10, 2020 by Jon O'Keefe

There are two simple truths when it comes to online learning:

  1.  Most teachers have years of experience in the classroom, but only a few months of experience teaching virtually.
  2.  Most students have never had to learn virtually, and they have no idea how to do so.

We’ve spent a lot of time focusing on point number one but point number two is just as impactful to the learning experience.

Students are stuck right now. They’re stuck in a global pandemic; their lives uprooted several months ago from the rhythms and routines they’ve grown used to. Sports, social lives, and family activities have all changed. As they’ve tried to settle into the “new normal”, nothing feels familiar.

On top of this, most students have never used technology as a learning device. They’ve spent years in brick and mortar classrooms, learning the social norms and cadences of the learning experience. They’re used to seeing their classmates, raising their hands to ask questions, taking notes, and feeling safe in the school environment. So as learning is shifting to online classrooms, and almost all the skills they’ve acquired over the years are no longer useful, students are having to learn how to learn all over again.

It is under these conditions we are asking our students to try to learn in an environment they’ve never used. We are expecting them to already be experts at online learning because of the connectedness their generation shares with technology, but the experiences they have on their phones and tablets are very different from the traditional norms of a classroom. Students are used to micro-engagements with compartmentalized information as opposed to sitting for long stretches of time listening to only one voice. Online learning bears little to no resemblance to how students are used to using technology, but also is completely different than a traditional classroom experience.

So, how can we get them unstuck? The first step is to get educators to understand the differences between the learning experience in the classroom versus the learning experience using technology. While there are many challenges facing educators right now, the student experience needs to be top of mind when designing curriculum for the online learner. How can an online classroom create a sense of community that is so important to the educational experience? How can an online classroom feel more like a traditional interaction with technology so students can be more comfortable? How can we effectively help our students to get “unstuck” during the new normal?

Certified Virtual Educator places an emphasis on the student experience during its 4-hour delivery. Educators will learn how to build effective virtual classrooms that can help get students unstuck. CVE emphasizes pre-class planning, designing curriculum for the virtual classroom, how the student experiences online learning, as well as non-verbal and verbal engagement techniques that will work on any online learning platform. This class goes well beyond the simple “how to’s” of most online teaching courses and digs into using the best tools and techniques to keep students engaged and learning in a virtual environment. The best way to unstuck a virtual student is to become an excellent virtual teacher. Click here to learn more about CVE.