How do we teach online?
Having said that, we do want to build our capacities and develop preparedness for online learning. Although I am not sure if we can truly feel ready and confident when it happens. In the past, we had sudden school closures because of political unrest, flooding, and air pollution. Based on my observation and experience, students and parents in general hate online learning as many teachers often just create more 'homework' or 'assignments' for students to complete. There were lots of assumption in this situation, such as students can access internet without any issue; caretakers or parents understand the instructions so that they can help; this task will only take students 20 minutes to complete. What if there is a power outage? What if care-takers or parents are negligent or they don't speak English? And the truth is assignments likely take twice as long to complete at home because of different factors.
Our step one is to develop teachers' awareness of the online teaching principles (O.R.E.O) and suggest familiar web-based tools or apps teachers have been used in my school. Teachers are encouraged to explore these tools and find out how to use them through colleagues who had experiences with them.
Our step two is to do more prepping and develop online teaching capabilities. It has been wonderful that there are many educators sharing their experiences and reflections via social media which provided me with many ideas on what online instructors should do and should not do. Of course, just like everything else, we always need to consider our very own school context, environment, polices, and think about how these ideas might impact our school community and the school system. That's why we have decided we will not implement synchronous learning at this stage, although there are many benefits. We consider pastoral care issues, the internet speed, our refugee students' living condition, child protection policy, teacher training, and so on and we, as a school, feel that we are not quite ready for synchronous learning yet. We will only use videoconference to check in and build relationships with students, but not for content delivery.
After reading as much as I can and discussing with my secondary school academic leadership team, we have come up with Online instructors @ KIS: Do this, Not That to provide guidance for our teachers.
One thing that might not be clear in the poster and teachers have questions about is "Be online during office hours to provide support, answer questions, or clarify confusion via a system." What it suggests is to create a system to collect students' questions in advance, such as using Padlet or Google Form, so teachers can have time to consolidate these questions and prepare answers. If you teach 120 students, what you don't want is to have 100 plus emails coming to your inbox!
Combination of asynchronous and synchronous learning
I am very aware of the benefits of conducting synchronous learning. I have mentioned previously, our school is not ready yet. That why the title of the infographic is "Online Teaching @ KIS". We will start our online learning model for two weeks today. I am sure after our two-week pilot, we will reflect on what works well and what does not work, including asynchronous learning vs. synchronous learning. In case your school is ready to implement a combination of asynchronous learning and synchronous learning, here is a modified version of the infographic.
You can Click the image below to download the PDF file.