Remote Teaching: Technology Tools for Engagement and Communication

Dr. Mirta Espinola

Teacher helping student with ipad and accessing their class information

As we approach possible remote learning for K-12 public and private schools we want to provide additional tips to support our teachers and keep communication and engagement possible throughout this critical time.

Remind

The application (or app) Remind has been very helpful to bridge the communication between parents or students and teachers. This app allows teachers to make announcements and place videos or resources for students and it also allows parents to be abreast of what resources can support students. Even if a household does not have a laptop or a personal computer, Remind can be downloaded on a tablet or a smartphone. Teachers can record “How To” videos or take a picture of directions or resources and upload this information to support students. Remind allows the teacher to make an account and send a code to all parents. At that point parents can download the free app, input the code, and begin communicating with their child’s teacher.

ClassDojo

ClassDojo is also another app that allows teachers to communicate with students and parents. This app can upload videos, messages, various types of images and attachments. It is similar to Remind in that it allows students and teachers to communicate especially when students may not have access to a PC, thus ClassDojo can be used on a smart phone and tablet.

Parents can also upload assignments to teachers on ClassDojo. Similar to Remind, there is a code that is applied to connect to a specific teacher. ClassDojo and Remind are apps that can be used to support students, specifically students who may need additional support. It may be a way that teachers can differentiate instruction by providing visual aids and modeling through these apps.

Alternative Approaches

If technology is not an option, then students and teachers should be able to communicate via a home phone or cell phone. Depending on what area students live in, Wi-Fi service may be minimal, so a phone call to parents may be necessary. A phone call a day or a couple of times a week may be necessary to support students as they learn remotely.

Teachers should plan an outline and discuss any recommendations or directions over the phone to the student or parent. Additionally, speaking in a slow and clear pace is beneficial. Sometimes breaking up an assignment in parts is necessary and if packets are offered to students in lieu of remote access, then packets should include rubrics. This helps students know their expectations regarding special projects. Through telephone conversations, reviewing rubrics or step by step instructions can be beneficial. However, as educators, we all hope that some technology is available for most students.

Note: It is a good idea to brainstorm several ways to keeping the lines of communication open between students and teachers. There are additional apps available that can also support students, and some include the availability of technology. Some of the following apps or media resources have been a support and continue to be a support to educators. Those include Pinterest, TeachersPayTeachers, Poll Everywhere, FlipGrid, Padlet, TeacherTube, and other educational sites and blogs to name a few. There are many resources available to teachers and parents.

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