Engaging and supporting students in an online environment (OneChannel QCT Webinar)

These are notes from the QCT Webinar on Engaging and supporting students in an online environment . The presentation was made by Paul Hamilton (Using Technology Better) and Linda Pitt (Apple Education) but all notes are my own (I am an independent academic, not a member of QCT):

Watch the webinar here, it features lots of great ideas and resources for how to engage and support students online (which aligns with APST 3.4 and APST3.5):

Notes from Paul

Using any new technology can be a bit disorientating. It’s worth recognising the ‘learning pit’, the idea that you pass through a valley of confusion before getting to understanding.

  • Students being engaged with screens/tech/platforms doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re engaged with learning.
  • Online learning is not just about creating content and sharing it with students
  • Where is the inquiry? Where is the teacher? Where is the ‘teacher modelling’? How does I do, We do, You do work in an online environment?
  • How can we use open-ended tasks to allow for differentiation and scope

A pragmatic example

  • Starting simple: Using seesaw to give really open ended tasks, like “use the microphone and images to tell a story about a cow at the beach”, and scaffolding this with a template and using ‘scratch and reveal’.

Questions teachers are asking

  • How can I see all my students?
  • How can I give my students instant feedback (see Joel’s talk)
  • How can I check in with my students?
  • How can I record my screen with me in it
  • How do I know they are engaged with the content/task?

Creative ideas

  • One idea for engagement when teaching asynchronously: use a hand puppet to act as a student who asks questions and create a dialogue with them.
  • If you used to do things in physical teaching (e.g., playing a guitar) keep using them online for engagement
  • Students can use accessibility tools for learning (speech to text, text to speech, increased font size, dictation, etc) like immersive reader (microsoft), or accessibility tools (ipad)
  • Take small steps, using tools that you know
  • Make yourself visible while teaching online

Notes from Linda

Engagement is situational–it looks different in different places. A key factor is creative intention (echoing Paul’s comments).

Students really want to feel ownership of their work. Things like creating photos, videos, drawings, music (e.g., on iPad).

When considering resources and activities, Linda recommends thinking about four things:

  • Is student voice encouraged and supported?
  • Are students appropriately challenged? Can they go deep if they want to? They do have time for this if they want to.
  • Is there a balance between what is being done online, and what is being done in the physical world (e.g., with their family)?
  • Is there enough variety in what students are being asked to do? Students thrive on a routine that gets mixed up, or giving students choice (e.g., an activity board that students choose from).

Resources that Linda mentioned are:

Apple Clips app: https://apple.co/2VUnzgR
Android alternative is Quik app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.stupeflix.replay&hl=en_AU

Apple is offering 30 minutes of free coaching for teachers who want to register:

Creating Teacher to Student videos (as mentioned by Linda and @danielbbudd )

Additional Links

From the Department of Education

Also, assistive technology:

AITSL Australian Teacher Response: https://www.aitsl.edu.au/secondary/comms/australianteacherresponse


Apply Virtual Coaching: https://bit.ly/coachingaus
Weekly Virtual Conference (Apple): https://apple.co/2VUnzgR
Apple Teacher: https://appleteacher.apple.com/

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