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Remote Learning: Increased Communication
By Mark Heintz
Nov 18, 2020

There are successes in a full remote setting. While I miss in-person learning and I’m looking forward to seeing my students when it’s safe, I want to highlight remote learning successes for me to remember to implement when we are fully in person in the future. A major success of remote learning is the increased use of discrete modes of communication, which has increased total participation.

Everyone at the same time

One feature that increased the ability for every student to participate is the chat in Zoom. When I ask a question to the class, I ask my students to type their answers in the chat without hitting send right away. After a few moments, I will tell them all to share at the same time. This has stopped a few students from monopolizing the conversation.

When I use this method in class, it allows for rich answers from all students. I get to move the conversation from just a few students to the whole class. I need to do this more often, and when we return to full in-person learning, I need to keep up this practice. Everyone has something to contribute. 

Increase in communication

Students have increased the number of ways they are communicating with me. Students are using the private chat feature, e-mail, remind, and individual break out rooms to connect with me in ways that didn’t happen before.  I have students who I have known for multiple years, and they are sharing things with me this year that they haven’t in the past. The private communication gives the students an opportunity to tell me something without the entire class hearing it. They don’t need to come early or stay late. I don’t need to give them a pass or take them into the hallway. They can just shoot me a quick message and I know. There is always an opportunity for them to share with me.

For example, I had a student who was struggling with something we were doing in class. It was causing the student great distress, and they finally sent me an email. I was able to send the student a Zoom link. We met within minutes and solved the issue. If this was during a full in-person school year, the student and I would have had to find a time to meet. It might have taken several days, and the anxiety would have persisted. 

These are two simple methods that I need to remember and that helped student learning. They have helped solve several problems that would have persisted in a classroom full of people. Remote learning has its successes and as we learn from these successes, we can better improve our in-person learning in the future.

This will be a series of posts that document what I have learned and want to remember. 

Thank you to Kim Miklusak for reading through and providing guidance in my writing.

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