How to get the most out of online learning
With the government announcing that schools across England, Wales and Scotland are closing for at least a month, many teachers are opting to deliver classes via remote learning.
All school will have their principal get in touch with the unique approach that the school is taking, however, it is likely that pupils will be learning online via email, platforms such as Google classroom and video calls. Whilst these tools may already be familiar to some, the current circumstances are definitely a novelty. More now than ever, pupils will need to exercise discipline to stay on track and not get distracted at home. Social distancing also means that students will need to be extra creative in order to practise skills in art and foreign languages.
We have prepared an article with useful tips on learning from home to help make the transition to online learning as smooth as possible.
Get to grips with Google classroom
Each teacher will have their own way of delivering lessons online. Be sure to communicate with them to find out what their plan is and what platforms they will be using.
One of the most common platforms is Google classroom. Whilst there is not always a need for it day to day during contact hours, Google classroom becomes extremely valuable in our current situation.
It is worth getting familiar with the lingo:
Google Classroom - This is where your teacher puts announcements, lesson materials and assignments. Files, videos, images and links are all uploaded here.
Google Classroom Stream - Just like a chatroom, Google Stream allows you to post comments and ask questions that your teacher and classmates can all see.
Google Docs - A bit like an online word document, Google Docs allows you to create a file to be shared with others. It’s great for working on a group project, because you can view all each others’ edits and comments.
Google Hangout - An online chat facility where you can speak with or without via your internet browser.
Maintain open communication
No one could have predicted that COVID-19 would cause schools to close - this is new territory for everyone. While some teachers and students may have had previous experience with remote studying, many won’t be as prepared as they would like. Keep that in mind and be open with your questions - teachers will be understanding and happy to provide you with much needed guidance.
Keep a routine going
Studying from home doesn’t mean staying in your pyjamas all day and not doing work until 10pm. Just like at school you should have a routine. You can be a bit more flexible with it and adjust it to fit you perfectly, however, once you write down what your new routine will be, aim to stick to that as best as possible.
Dedicate a study space and hours for studying
Doing your assignments from bed sounds like a dream, but it can have a negative effect on your productivity. Ideally, you want your bed to remain the place for rest and relaxation where you can unwind at the end of the day.
If possible, make sure you have a dedicated workspace - preferably with a comfortable chair that has good back support and a lot of natural light that will help you focus.
Remember to take breaks
At school, you have dedicated time for studying and for relaxing. You are often encouraged to go outside and chat to your classmates during break time. When self-isolating at home your routine will easily be disturbed, causing you to forget to take regular breaks.
One useful tip is to give yourself a set amount of time for completing a task - similar to what you have at school. When the time is up, make a point of standing up, walking around a little and giving your eyes a break from the screen.
Studying is done virtually, but now so is socialising with your friends, reading news updates and relaxing with tv shows. If you don’t consciously give your eyes some time off, you could easily spend all day in front of a screen.
Think outside the box
There are some classes that are easier to continue remotely than others. Your teacher may have given you a lot of work to complete online for your biology class but how do you engage with P.E. or art?
Again, the internet is your resource for educational materials that also happen to be a lot of fun! Many platforms have made their content available for free during this period of social distancing. Keep practising your foreign language skills, learn a new way to express yourself through art and keep moving with the help of professional trainers who guide you through at-home workouts.
Our youngest pupils in Nursery would be used to daily story time, while our teachers make sure that is still happening there are other ways to also engage them with a narrative - audible provide free audio books.
Don’t let stress get to you
We are all facing uncertain times and it can feel stressful having to navigate your school and personal life whilst practising social distancing at home. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed when there are so many unknowns, but stress and anxiety will have a negative impact on your everyday life, and more relevantly your ability to learn.
Take advantage of the many online platforms that offer activities such as yoga and mindfulness. These are great habits to adopt and take away with you long after social distancing is over and you’ve gone back to school.
Try adopting a coping calendar as well, it is another method of adopting positive habits that will help you along the way and long after social distancing is no longer happening.