K12 Language Education, Remote Language Learning

Be Ready to Pivot: Preparing for Remote Education In Uncertain Times

As students are heading back to school, many educators are preparing for the possibility of once again shifting to some form of remote or hybrid instruction in the year ahead. 

To help plan in this time of uncertainty, experts recommend that educators stick to what works. 

Rely on proven frameworks

Although it may be appealing to start fresh, experts caution against it, arguing that it’s important to rely on proven frameworks and instructional strategies to create effective remote learning plans.

In their white paper, How to Develop Scalable Remote Learning Plans: Using Familiar Frameworks to Sustain Instruction in Unfamiliar Circumstances, Liz Brooke and Suzanne Carreker recommend the following approach.  

Put a high-level plan in place

1. Continue

In response to changing educational landscapes, keep providing continuity to students with established routines and expectations.

Even though teaching and learning are ever-changing in response to continued interruptions to education, there are many frameworks that can remain the same. Providing a degree of stability and predictability to students can be key in helping them stay connected to their work. 

This can be achieved by striving for open and clear lines of communication, and maintaining connections with students via those channels.

2. Adapt

When researching solutions for a hybrid learning plan, first consider the question, “What do my students need from a hybrid learning plan?” It is imperative that student-focused adaptability is built into any form of blended learning. Educators should accept that they may have less control over where and when students engage while learning occurs outside of the classroom 

In Ten Simple Rules for Supporting a Temporary Online Pivot in Higher Education, university researchers provide a few questions designed to help modern educators think about repackaging classroom content for more effective remote learning:

  • What content can/should only be delivered in a “normal” teacher-directed format?
  • What content is foundational? How might it be shifted to self-paced learning?
  • What content might be better consolidated as readings or extension materials, self-paced formative activities, peer-to-peer discussions, or Q&A sessions?
  • How long are you expecting students to spend on each activity? Can this be changed? Should it be?

Acknowledge both your own and your students’ needs for flexibility. Adjust plans as you go.

3. Preserve

Even as you work toward flexibility in how you provide education, maintain high expectations for learning in your remote or hybrid environment.

It’s vital that expectations for engagement are communicated, both at the beginning of a semester and throughout the school year.

4. Monitor

Use data to inform your decision-making and to help you gauge progress toward classroom goals. Especially in a hybrid or remote learning environment, student engagement is considered an extremely important aspect of learning. 

Consider how you’ll monitor progress (even outside of established methods such as quiz/test scores or assignment grades), communicate it to your students, and have a plan to guide them, since flexible learning doesn’t mean unsupervised learning.

Striving for educational equity

As schools, districts, and teachers create remote learning plans, equity is at the center of the discussion, whether it relates to digital access or to opportunities to learn.

Remote learning plans can also incorporate cultural responsiveness. In his paper, Guidance on Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Remote Education, David E. Kirkland suggests that culturally responsive education should do the following:

  • Make education accessible to all students
  • Be co-constructed by students, families, communities, and schools
  • Affirm identities to foster positive academic outcomes
  • Develop students’ abilities to connect across cultures
  • Empower students as agents in their own teaching and learning
  • Anticipate and design the education experience around social and cultural differences
  • Contribute to a student’s engagement, learning, growth, and achievement through the cultivation of meaningfully relevant conversations and activities

Culturally responsive-sustaining remote education, according to Kirkland, should also allow for flexibility and understanding, acknowledging the many challenges families are currently experiencing—more than one student on a laptop, unstable internet connection, and so on.

Pivoting to remote learning presents unique challenges and opportunities for educators and schools. The need for resources that offer greater flexibility and adaptable technology continues to grow as learning moves from home to school…and back home again. Find out how Rosetta Stone solutions can support both your students and your school’s remote learning plan today.

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