In the midst of a Global Pandemic, educators everywhere have been faced with the enormous task of managing classes online. This requires us to connect with a whole new skill set in a very short period of time. As educators, we always keep our students in mind, above all else. Teaching a generation of children that are digital natives proves to be an exciting opportunity for us to discover new means of conducting our interactive sessions, tailoring them to be engaging and energizing.
Here are a few observations that may help you in your sessions!
- New Platforms, New Possibilities
Don’t be afraid of the Medium!
To the uninitiated, the thought of taking a class online sounds uncomfortable. For those of us that are not used to video conferencing, you’re not wrong. However, this shouldn’t be something that stops you from using it. Far from complicated, these new mediums are optimised for us to use them smoothly – We just need to give ourselves the time to understand them. Spend time working through the ins and outs of the application being used, explore it with a friend, have a fun online interaction – whatever you find makes you most comfortable.
- Practise makes Perfect
Familiarise yourself as much as you can.
We know that right now isn’t the best time to plunge into the unknown, but the best way to overcome your nerves is to use the medium as much as you can. Take your time with it, even if it is ten minutes a day – soon you’ll know the ins and outs of the video conferencing system, or learning managing systems that have been assigned to you.
- Short is sweet
Plan classes ahead of time; keeping your classes short, sweet and engaging
Taking classes online come with many restrictions – time being one of them. Students may be tired from other lessons, or just not in the mood, Therefore, how you conduct your session is key. Our mentors explore the possibilities of storytelling and interaction, using hand puppets and vibrant art and even humour in their sessions. Perhaps you could also wear bright, colourful outfits while taking your classes. Your students will respond in kind!
- Play with New Technologies
Use Technology to your advantage
Once you’re familiar with the platform, it’ll be easier for you to work your way through its features. Many programs have a whiteboard function, where you and your students can co-create, draw and create fun exercises. Don’t forget to involve all your students with the features you explore. Studying in isolation can be alienating, and even the tiniest push in this direction can help your student.
- Get More Creative with Fewer Resources
Know the strengths and limitations of the resources.
Remember, you are working from home in the middle of a very difficult time. You may not have the material requirements necessary to facilitate a class. Your students may not have access to these materials either. Try to be mindful of the situation at home, and in the world. Try to use easy-to-access materials, like notebook paper, pencils and pens, old newspapers – reuse and recycle materials to come up with a sustainable series of explorations for your class.
The Art1st Team wishes you good luck! Write to us with your experiences teaching from home. We would love to hear more about your challenges and solutions that you have come up with in these times.