It can feel like a challenge to make distance learning lessons interesting. Distance learning doesn’t lend itself to practical activities, and group discussions and activities can also be challenges. But by using the right tools and the right content, you can keep challenging your students with engaging distance learning lessons.
We’ve put together some tips to help you out…
- Use video content to encourage engagement
Videos are perfect for introducing some variety into distance learning lessons. They can be used to kickstart discussion, to connect concepts to the real world and to tie up a topic at the end of a lesson.
Twig and Tigtag’s curriculum films are best used for explaining key ideas and concepts. Incorporate these in the first half of your lesson, ideally after an introductory discussion where you assess what students already know.
Twig’s glossary films are perfect for older students to learn scientific terms with the help of visual cues. They are ideally used in correlation with curriculum films to cement students’ knowledge of scientific terms.
TIP: Remember to ask questions that are open ended, as this will allow you to more fully understand how much your students are learning.
- Use videos to check understanding
Certain types of videos can also be used effectively to check learning. Twig and Tigtag’s context films help to anchor concepts in the real world. Once you have watched and discussed the curriculum film (and perhaps done some other activities), move on to the context film. This will open up further discussion and allow you to check if students really understand how concepts apply in real life.
Tigtag’s Tidbit films are ideally used toward the end of a topic, with interactive games and activities that help you assess what students have understood, such as “True or False” and “Odd one out”.
TIP: To make sure that all students get the chance to talk, use a system such as a digital “raise your hand”. If some students never raise their hands, make sure to address them directly so they are not left out – just like you would in a normal classroom!
- Share your screen to present content with your students
Instead of trying to time 30 students watching the same video at the same time, a good way to bring your whole class together is to share your screen. This can be easily done through programs such as Zoom and Google Teams.
Both Twig and Tigtag have a “Present this lesson” function which allows you to easily share the contents of a lesson with your class, allowing you to watch videos or other content together.
- Set practical activities as homework
While practical activities are difficult to do together in a distance learning classroom, they can be used effectively as homework. Many of the practical activities available through Twig and Tigtag are already suitable for doing at home, or can be adapted.
Ask your students to try these activities at home and come back to the next lesson ready to share their results. This is a great way to engage your students and make them feel more involved in what they’re learning, while also giving you a chance to assess their understanding.
- Make use of quizzes and review questions
Tigtag and Twig content comes with ready-made quizzes and review questions that are designed to assess and extend learning. Either use these with the whole class, using the “raise your hand” system as above, or you can ask students to split up into groups to discuss and come back to report their answers.
- Use key learning points for self-assessment
At the end of a lesson or session, ask your students to assess their own learning. This can be done efficiently with a traffic light system. Give your students the key learning points available for each Twig or Tigtag topic, and let your students rate their understanding using green, yellow or red. This allows you to easily see what areas your students are struggling in.