Recently, distance learning has become the normal way of instruction rather than the exception. Previously, it was common to have university students pursuing a degree via distance learning. But lately, students and teachers of elementary and high schools have found themselves in this unique online learning environment. Even preschoolers and kindergartners have found themselves in a distance learning set-up.
Since brick and mortar classrooms are not the only way to attend school and learn, there needs to be a change in learning. Learning via video conferencing apps and WiFi-enabled gadgets requires a different approach for successful learning to take place. While distance learning has become a necessary and reliable way to keep students in school, it does get monotonous. Keeping students engaged and teachers motivated has been quite a task for most schools.
As a teacher, you may wonder what activities you can incorporate into your distance learning lessons to make them more effective. Thinking outside the box is vital to getting this right. Remember, these activities do not necessarily have to be in line with academics. Use activities as an ice breaker, a way to capture the attention of bored students, and are a way to get more interaction from the class.
Here are our top 5 picks of activities to incorporate in your lessons for more effective distance learning to happen in your online classroom;
Traditional lessons in school classrooms last anywhere between 35 to 45 minutes. Instead of having a full-on 45-minute class online followed by a break, consider incorporating breaks every 15 minutes or so. These breaks should be a class activity that will be something for the students to look forward to.
For instance, you could have activities centered around the content that has just been taught, like a quickfire segment with a reward. Students could also use a break for dance battles. You would assign a student a popular dance routine to do on the fly. Either have the students compete with each other, or you can join in on the dance battle.
The goal is to make these breaks as fun as possible and have students want to participate rather than shy away. Getting the students up and moving an excellent way to keep them engaged and prevent them from zoning out.
Other fun activities to consider for your fun breaks could be playing charades, a quick stretching routine, or a kid's YouTube sing-along for younger children. Or many zoos and aquariums have live-cams available; you can let your students take a break to peek in on their favorite animals.
If ever there was a time that social media apps had taken the world by storm, it's now. Tiktok especially has many short, creative video challenges that would be fun for students to try. You can use any of these social media platforms to make distance learning more effective and fun. For instance, ask students to create a video challenge that connects with what they're learning and share their video with the class.
Not only does this make distance learning more effective, but it also stimulates learners to participate. You could have the students create hashtags to use on platforms such as Twitter to generate discussions on important topics.
Using social media to make distance learning more effective is largely untapped and can be very effective, especially for young, tech-savvy learners. You will also teach the students using something they are already familiar and comfortable with, increasing participation.
Instead of giving students assignments turned in to the teacher for grading, turn them into class presentations. Encouraging a class presentation either by individuals or group leaders will make for a more interactive and exciting lesson.
By asking students to research a topic and prepare a presentation individually or in groups, you can ensure all students participate. Of course, you will grade these presentations as well, making them compulsory. But when each student gets an opportunity to make their presentation, they will use their creativity to stand out. This would be a great opportunity to share the videos created in the activity mentioned above.
For younger students, you could have them create a drawing of a character in a book that they are studying in class, or they can dress up as their favorite scientist, then have them share a few sentences about the scientist. Simple presentations encourage creativity and a more robust and efficient learning environment.
You can involve students in the learning process by the use of experiential learning. Instead of focusing on note-taking and comprehension alone, look for creative ways to have your learners immerse themselves in a topic. Say, for instance, you take a science lesson on germination a notch higher by asking students to create a time-lapse video of a seed germinating.
Experiential learning helps the students to immerse themselves in the content and make observations by themselves. This method helps in the retention of the subject matter and bolstering the student's creativity. Experiential learning encourages analysis rather than memorization of facts.
Gaming is a huge part of how students spend their time outside the classroom. Why not bring this aspect into your lessons? You can turn the content of a lesson into different game levels. For each level the student accesses and finishes successfully, they get a set number of points depending on their performance.
You can include bonus points that a student will get through regular class attendance, participation, and completion of assignments on time. By doing this, you will turn a lesson into a game where the students will work hard to accumulate the highest scores possible.
There are dozens of websites that you can use to create interactive games for your students. A popular game website is Kahoot!. Turning your content into a fun digital game will quickly become a student favorite.
So there you have it, five fun activities that are bound to make distance learning more effective. These are just a few of the tons of ideas that are out there. You can turn distance learning into an activity that students will look forward to by tweaking the daily lessons. Try any one of these methods in your distance learning lessons, and you may be surprised just how effective your lessons will become.