Virtual Learning Tips for Successful Students

We are entering a new era. This year our children are being taught by screens…

With a pandemic raging, educators throughout the world assessed the possibilities of how to move forward educating our youth in such an uncertain time. A variety of solutions have been implemented throughout the US. many schools opened only to close their doors a week later.

In my Kansas school district, we were given the option to choose; virtual vs. in-person; however, the public school system is following the advice from the health department and we are currently in the ‘virtual only’ phase.

I chose this option with the intent of homeschooling when and if virtual learning becomes a bigger problem than teaching my child myself. (Which has it’s own unique set of problems.)

An experiment in the making, virtual learning; it’s the wave most of us are currently riding.

Yesterday my daughter runs upstairs crying out my name. Outside my office I hear a mix of sad angry stomps, running down the hallway.

“I’m locked out of art. The video won’t work… I don’t know how to do the project!! I WANTED to do the project!!”

I think back to the scene in the movie Office Space.

It’s one we can all relate to, where they use sledgehammers to smash the fax machine?

Emotions run high when technology fails us. It’s frustrating feeling helpless in our ability to solve the problem. Infuriating… ‘make you want to give up’-

It requires daily evaluation and constant problem solving.

Children learn by exploring the world around them. Screen time is a relatively new phenomena, so we must continue to ask what effect does screen time have on developing brains’?

‘Recent studies have found that excessive screen time can harm children’s health, like increasing obesity and disrupting sleep.

Earlier research focused on television and console videos games, because that’s what was around at the time. But since the iPhone was introduced in 2007, the screen time landscape has changed drastically.’ *Healthline

How to make virtual learning the best of a bad situation?

Set your child up for success by created a space JUST for learning. And no, that’s not their bed. Your child needs 1 or 2 dedicated work areas.

Here are a few things I’ve found helpful:

  1. Flex Space Balance Ball or Yoga Ball to help with posture and restlessness.
  2. An Alexa for setting timer and reminders. I have one Echo Dot Downstairs in my daughter’s workspace and another in my workspace upstairs. If you say ‘Alexa make announcement‘, it records & repeats your message on all other units.
  3. Daylight bulbs to help emulate outdoor light. Mimicking outdoor light can help people feel more comfortable and positive. It can also lessen eye strain.

Setting Digital Boundaries

As I work from home, I get the privilege of listening to the entire day. And for the first week, that is exactly what I did.

I was encouraged by our teacher’s efforts to establish some digital boundaries & setting some standards for proper use. While they’ve promised children won’t actually be on the screen ALL day… they are on the screen MOST of the day. Six hours is far too much for my daughter’s developing brain.

Things teachers should implement to simplify their virtual classroom:

  • Chatting between students should be disabled. Microphones need to be turned off. Background noise should be at a minimum when speaking.
  • Kids need a break from the screen every 30-45 minutes. Don’t trade one screen for another!
  • Mobile doesn’t mean it’s mobile! They hold in their tiny hands an expensive piece of equipment. It shouldn’t travel from room to room UNLESS it’s in between meeting times.

I hope this sets you all up for success! Please share what you’re learning along this journey.

view of downtown kansas city
xoxo adrienne signing off

About

the Photographer

Adrienne Maples

 

Kansas City photographer, Adrienne Maples, weaves together powerful narratives with her photographs to create mood and evoke emotion.

 

She's an AI enthusiast, passionate about teaching others how to use technology responsibly for the greater good. Known for her 'spunk & pizazz', she directs from behind her camera, finding impromptu designing to transform mediocrity into the extraordinary.

 

She a board member of AIGA and KCAC. As a committee member of KCDW, she organized the 2024 talks: The A.I. Asset, Creator as Curator.

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*bw photo by Sara Brennen-Harrell

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