Many of us find ourselves in a position to have to suddenly shift our mindset and shift our instruction to ensure that our children continue to learn while we are not able to be in the same physical location during the COVID-19 crisis of 2020. Remote learning relies on the same foundations as traditional learning, but with a twist that places the teacher firmly in the role of facilitator and the learner in more control of his or her schedule and time involved in learning through tasks.
It should not take a crisis for the necessity of a shift in teacher role and learner role to come into focus nationwide, and worldwide. The change from the role of the teacher as the traditional disseminator of knowledge to the facilitator of learning tasks that support student thinking and opportunities for collaboration is positive. It places the learner in a position to infuse his or her misconceptions, thinking, and existing knowledge into the learning space, giving the teacher an ongoing understanding of where learners stand in their growth toward meeting standards.
The design of instruction during remote learning must maintain its academic focus, its unity in alignment to goals, and its pacing equivalent to individual learner needs. Task cycles and task parallelism with learning outcomes must remain intact, even though task delivery will require a change because the learners and teachers are not in the same physical location, and, may even be adhering to varying schedules. None of these characteristics of remote learning are an obstacle to task alignment to goals, differentiation of curriculum to meet learner needs, or the social aspects of learning that drive scaffolded thinking through collaboration.
Below is a graphic that highlights three common attributes of lesson design and lesson planning, along with a brief notation of what remains untouched in remote learning, and what needs to change because of the location of the learners.
If you are a school administrator looking for ideas for addressing your current remote learning situations, coaching for your teachers, or some collaboration, contact Emily Erickson-Betz here, at strategiclearningsolutions.com or on Twitter @emilybetz.