A copy of the original page while I was sorting out the URL
Teaching online. Don't!
If teaching means delivering information, leading discussions and helping students do exercises, it is time to rethink teaching in the online environment.
The ideas on this page are an alternative to teaching classes online. They can be applied to any subject in any language.
Instead of being a sage on the stage who provides students with information about a topic, the idea is to guide them to find the information themselves. They then process the information in creative ways that involve higher order thinking skills (HOTS). And the internet.
The teacher can meet the requirements of the curriculum and syllabus as a guide on the side and in the process, replace the stress level of dealing with multiple students at one time in an online class. Guided discovery tasks and projects are enjoyable, creative and stimulating for teachers and students. The participation rate of the students might improve if they have got a clear task to fulfil and if the teacher is working with fewer students at a time.
A. Teacher sets a task
The students should know what they are required to learn and experience from the task.
B. Teachers provide information
C. Teacher recommends sources of information
The choice of site is likely to be part of creating the task in the first place.
E. Get to work
F. Submitting and presenting work
Depending on the type of task, the students submit their work:
G. Students teach
Access to the course material
The resources that the teacher provides as well as the material that the students produce needs to be readily accessible. This is important if the content is going to be developed or tested formally.
The class website
Google sites was not designed for educational purposes. But it is easy to create the site and add pages galore. And into those pages, Google Slides, Docs, Forms, Sheets, Calendar, Maps and YouTube can easily be embedded. Other file types can be uploaded as well.
The projects and tasks suggested below assume that everyone involved is online and that they have decent ICT Skills.
It assumed that the students already know each other and the teacher. Or that they quickly will.
Teachers are mostly meeting the requirements of their curriculum and syllabus. And every topic has aspects and angles that students can explore once the demands are made on them. The following list contains a few examples from various subjects that could be pursued using the Processes described below.
Products, processes and outputs
The following task types are best done by small groups of students – study buddies. The teacher needs to establish the groups and keep a record of who is doing what with whom.
Many students are familiar with making presentations. They can do so at a distance using Google Slides. Making a presentation requires considerable reprocessing of several sources of information. And working with a study buddy requires considerable negotiation.
Students can read a text or watch an informative video and write their own quiz questions. Once the teacher has vetted them, the quizzes can be shared with other students. Google forms can be used for quizzes.
This process starts with a research question. To design a questionnaire, students require background information which they will get from ... ? They need to understand the information well. Writing good survey questions is a skill and an art, for which plenty of guides are available on the web for the teacher to recommend.
The questionnaire can be made in Google Forms. It can be distributed to relevant respondents via social media.
The students then need to process the results, which Google Sheets may help with. The results must be interpreted in the light of their research question. The researchers then present their findings. This is an extensive project.
Write a review
Some students can co-author a review of a novel, a poem, a film, a song, a sports match, a game, an app, some software or hardware. This can be done in Google docs, for example.
Demonstrate how ... (1)
Using their mobile phones, students can make a video that teaches someone how to do something, or show others how they do something.
They might demonstrate how they practise the clarinet, how they make an omelette, how they tie a tie, how they bathe their dog.
Demonstrate how ... (2)
Students can make a screencast of their use of Wolframalpha to perform various calculations in maths, chemistry and physics. By talking through the process, they demonstrate to their teacher their understanding of the specific topic, its terminology and the use of the software.
Students can make short videos of themselves at various stages of getting better at something. For example,
Two groups of three students could prepare for a debate. If the students are not familiar with the structure of debate, they will need instruction in this. The two teams can plan their arguments in advance. The debate can take place in front of the whole class using Zoom.
Students can script an interview with someone who has made an important contribution in any field. The students need to research their subject thoroughly to do this.
They can perform this on video, or provide the 'transcript' in written form as we see in magazines.
Solve the world's problems
Identify a major problem. Come up with as many questions as possible that have to be answered to solve this problem. What information and skills do you need to solve them? What do you need to know of history, geography, maths, physics, chemistry and philosophy to answer them?
This is a good group activity for students with different strengths.
A webquest is a specific type of activity in which students use the internet to solve or work something out. For example, a group of students might be planning to go to a music festival: Student A has to look into transport, B into accommodation options, C into the festival program, D into nearby attractions, E into budgeting it all. The group must then agree on the offers of each aspect of the plan. They will arrive at a complete itinerary. A shared spreadsheet is indispensable.
To ensure that students have correctly processed a presentation or a recorded lecture such as TED talk or a podcast that is part of the course material, they can be tasked with taking notes. They can email this or share it on Google Docs.
Alternatively, the students can be tasked with submitting a set of questions whose answers are in the talk.
A learning journal
A course-long task is writing a learning journal. Students write day by day or week by week about what they have learnt and experienced, how this happened, how they feel about it, and what contribution knowing or experiencing this has on their lives. Learning journals is big topic in education and many references to it can be found on the web.
The students can write an online document and link and embed and annotate the 'souvenirs' of their learning experiences.