Students all over the world have spent the last several months learning from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With approximately 90,000 schools throughout 20 countries using the service for remote classes, the videoconferencing platform Zoom has become a household staple. It's safe to say that online learning isn’t going away anytime soon.
Working through the uncertainty of a global pandemic is a challenge in itself, and trying to maintain some semblance of a normal school day almost seems impossible. Helping children have positive online learning experiences is critical for their success now and in the future.
But, GOOD NEWS, there are already many tried-and-tested strategies that make online learning more effective, enjoyable, and even beneficial for children. We compiled a list of a few Zoom tips and tricks to help you navigate the platform, and to provide a successful online learning experience for your little one.
It’s important that your child learns to distinguish between ‘home’ and ‘school’ - particularly when your home is also your school. To help with this, create a consistent space where schoolwork takes place, such as a desk in a dining room or living area. It is important that this space is available every school day and is also free from distractions.
If you have more than one child doing remote learning from home, try to give each child a dedicated learning space, even if it’s around a shared dining room table. Consider buying a headset with a microphone to block out noise, or using a divider to turn a table into a more focused ‘school area’.
Whether you are using your own device or one issued by your child’s school, having it ready and secure for use will go a long way in ensuring a successful online learning experience for your child. If your child is using your device, make sure to check that your settings and apps are appropriate.
You can also set up parental controls and limit or turn off access to certain apps during the school day. Additionally, make sure you know all websites and log in details that your child will need for their day and that these details are readily available.
An important part of your child's online learning experience is that they have a clear understanding of what their learning journey will look like. A simple, easy-to-read timetable can really help, particularly if students have hybrid schedules or A/B days where the schedule changes. Make sure to involve your child in creating the schedule, and that it includes a mixture of learning time and unstructured time.
Building in breaks throughout the day where your child can step away from their screen and focus on something completely unrelated to school is absolutely vital. When the weather allows, ensure that your child spends time outside for a change of setting and to get some movement.
Now that a lot of school, family, and friend time is happening online, the usual approach to screen time may not be as effective as before. Instead of focusing on how much time your child spends on the device, try to ensure that they’re partaking in a variety of on and offline activities.
We recommend that a child is involved in different online activities, so that the screen is not solely associated with school. Try to incorporate friend facetimes, online extracurricular activities, as well as fun physical movement classes.
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Remember parents, you are part of a team. This time is hard for everyone, and you are doing your best. Don’t hesitate to ask for help from school staff, family members, other parents, or US when you need support.
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