A wise man adapts himself to circumstances,
as water shapes itself to the vessel that contains it.

— Chinese Proverb

One year ago, your continuing education plan most likely did not include developing confidence and competency with distance learning tools. But as they say, change is inevitable. And it’s how we choose to embrace change and evolve that will help set a positive tone for the next school year.

As we approach the fall, teachers are facing uncertainty about what their school’s education model will look like as the nation continues to battle COVID-19. As of today, many school districts have announced plans to reopen in the fall. Yet, as of the date of posting this article (July 2020), only 8 states have the green light to open (Source: BallotPedia.com).

There are many red flags which indicate that despite parent and educators’ hopes for students to attend in-person classes, at some point, teachers may again be facing remote learning requirements. With uncertainty as to whether schools will transition to remote learning, spend time before the summer ends familiarizing yourself with the following proven remote learning and communication platforms, and consider how you might leverage them if you find yourself physically distanced from your students.

  1. Google Classroom. Classroom “helps students and teachers organize assignments, boost collaboration, and foster better communication.” The interface was designed with input from teachers and allows you to create classes, distribute assignments, and grade and send feedback from a single system. Classroom is free for schools and included when you sign up for G Suite for Education. Learn more>>
  2. Pear Deck. Founded by educators, Pear Deck fosters “active learning and formative assessment.” It allows for the creation of interactive lessons, website content, flashcards, drawing tools, testing, maps, and quantitative quizzes. Pear Deck integrates with such software solutions as Gmail, Teams, Outlook, and Powerpoint. The basic plan is free. Learn more>>
  3. Blackboard. The Blackboard suite of education technology solutions includes a comprehensive learning management system (LMS), data and analytics tools, an accessibility solution, and collaboration features. The latest version of the Blackboard Learn LMS reflects a mobile-friendly, intuitive, and accessible interface enhanced in direct response to the needs of teachers, administrators, and students during the COVID-19 crisis. You can sign up for a 30-day free trial to experience Blackboard’s solutions. Learn more>>
  4. EDpuzzle. EDpuzzle allows teachers to turn any course or lesson into a highly engaging video and then track students’ comprehension of the subject matter. Its built-in analytics will enable you to analyze if students have watched the assigned content and how many times. If you cannot provide lectures and course instruction in person, EDpuzzle videos can help fill in the gaps and reinforce homeschooling instruction. The Basic Plan is available for free. Learn more>>
  5. Khan Academy. The vision of this non-profit is to provide “free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere.” For teachers, Khan Academy offers free standards-aligned content, practice exercises, videos, and articles. Use it to supplement additional lessons and coursework, and track student progress. Courses are available in Math, Science, the Arts and Humanities, Reading, and Language Arts for pre-K through college. Learn more>>
  6. Edmodo. This comprehensive suite of remote learning tools allows teachers to send messages to students and share classroom materials. Edmodo also helps parents to stay engaged with their child’s progress and engage with you. Parents can get class updates, including grades, chat with teachers, and support remote classroom learning with at-home instruction and concept reinforcement. Edmodo is CARES Act Eligible. Packages are available at the school level. Learn more>>

What are your thoughts?

We found the above to be very helpful platforms for teachers and students. Give yourself time to go into one or two and play around with the features. Please share your feedback with our community of teachers by responding in the comments below. We are all in this together!

Photo Credit: Photo by Allison Shelley for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action

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