5 Tips For Adjusting to the New Realities of Teaching From Home


If you are now teaching from home you may find it challenging to be both creative in how you can engage your students in an online environment as well finding the time to research different resources that many teachers were not normally using in their classroom setting.

For this post, we’ll mention a few tools, offer some best practices, and provide some tutorials to help you get started with incorporating a few possible ideas into your lessons.

1. Using Videos and Webcasts

If you aren’t familiar with what Screencasting is, it basically means recording what you are doing on a computer screen, typically with voice-over narration and often with some form of visual capture of you via webcam or other video capture device. Screencasting is a commonly used approach that teachers use to create video lessons. There are many variations on how to approach this and even more tools.

Here are a few of the more widely used Screen Casting application you can find on the web:

Screencast-o-matic: This is a robust screen capture application has been around for a long time, and working on PCs and Macs. You get a lot of functionality for free, and more for the very affordable price of $15 per year. This “3 Minute TOOL-torial” provides a quick overview of Screencast-o-matic.

YouTube Live Stream Screencast: If you would like to broadcast your lesson live or record it for students to access later, YouTube LIVE Streaming might be exactly what you need. Using YouTube Live Streaming is free. Here are two video tutorials you can review.

1. How to use YouTube Live Streaming
2. How to create a screencast in 3-Easy Steps.

Screenpresson in another screen capture application that you may want to consider. There is an option to download this application free to get started. Here is a video that provides a tutorial for teaching with this application.

2. Making Your Videos Available to Students

Of course, once you create a video, you need to be able to deliver it to students. Some of you may already know how you wish to approach this, but some may be brand new to this idea. One approach that can help is to upload your video to YouTube, and then deliver it either directly in YouTube, or through another interface where you might just provide a link, embed it, or use another technology. This video walks you through uploading your video to YouTube.

Once the video is on YouTube, you can provide the link in advance of any group chats or sessions which you might have arranged with your students.

NOTE: Being able to let students watch the video in advance of setting up a conference call is a great way of engaging your students more deeply during group conversations. In this way, you can use your group time more effectively to go deeper into the content and respond to questions which students might have regarding the video content.

3. Delivery of Lesson Assignments

One method that many teachers and districts are using to deliver their lessons to students is Google Classrooms.

Teachers can use Google Classroom in a variety of ways—to deliver assignments to students and to provide effective and efficient feedback, for example—and it can be a great landing page for students as they navigate assignments.

There are a few requirements that need to be in place in your school district to use Google classroom. Please make sure to watch the following video which shows how to use Google Classroom.

4. Opportunities for Collaboration

Padlet.com is a virtual tool that allows teachers to collaborate in a digital online space with their students. Padlet provides a space for digital collaboration and interactivity. Students will be able to share ideas, images, and other digital media. It can serve as a visual representation for a group learning activity. Students will be able to build off of each others’ ideas and work samples.

Here is a quick video which focuses on “How to use Padlet with Students”.

An example for using Padlet is to have students view the lesson videos that you have created, followed by providing them with an opportunity to reflect on the content. Padlet provides teachers with a way to have students not only review and reflect on the content, but also collaborate with their peers.

Teachers can create a new Padlet wall for each video or unit and encourage students to ask questions and answer their peers’ questions about content as a review for unit assessments. Using an extension such as Screencastify, teachers can create screencasts of the Padlet wall for their students to use as a study aid.

5. Creating Assessments

Creating Formative assessments is extremely important in any classroom setting and online learning environments are no exception. Online Learning puts more responsibility for viewing and interacting with content on the students, and formative assessment is therefore needed after every video.

Teachers can create gamified formative assessment activities for their students using Quizizz and assign these activities as homework, which allows the students to play the games individually. Quizizz activities can also be used as a whole-class formative assessment—students enjoy Quizizz because of the gamified component of the activity and the memes that greet them when they respond to each question.

With the help of these tools, teachers can implement a wonderful online learning experience for your students working on their own at home and provide a more individualized learning experience.

Many of the strategies will continue to be effective in creating a blended learning environment once schools re-open and we may enjoy interacting with our students in a classroom setting.