Fostering Engagement Online

This blog was written in Jan. 17, 2021

How are you doing with engaging students in learning these days?

For more than two decades, I’ve provided professional development and coaching support to teachers to expand their effectiveness with learner engagement in face-to-face environments. As a former special ed teacher and professor, I’m steeped in evidence-based and research-based practices. I’ve accumulated lots of specific strategies from my reading, my teaching, and from watching delightfully creative teachers in their classrooms. I’ve curated the best and embedded them into my publications and professional development packages.

And then the COVID pandemic changed everything!

  • Teachers needed to adjust to teaching online. They grappled with questions like “What should I teach now?” and “How do I present new concepts and skills?” and “How do I get to know my students?” and “How do I give students opportun-ities to practice?” and “How will I know if they are getting it?” 
  • Students needed to adjust to learning from home. They wondered, “When can I see my friends again?” and “Will my teacher notice if I turn off my camera?” and “Why should I do schoolwork when my toys & games are more fun?” and “What should I do if I’m feeling lost and alone?”
  • Families needed to juggle new working conditions and new parenting roles. Their looming dilemmas included, “How do I support my child’s education AND work from home?” or “Who will supervise my children when I work overtime at the hospital?” and “What am I supposed to do when my child doesn’t want to login?”

The good news is that we don’t have to solve these problems alone! Each one of you reading this post has some great ideas. Right?

How could we collaborate?

What if we pooled our ideas and shared with each other? I had seen Padlet used by conference presenters as a collection of resources. I was recently excited to learn that it can be used for collaboration too, so I just had to try it out. I found it quite user friendly and had lots of fun experimenting with the graphic features. I’m pretty proud of my color coding for the column categories.

Then I started thinking of all the teachers who are trying to solve the student engagement puzzle on their own. I decided to share my Padlet through this blog so you can access the resources I’ve posted and provide feedback about how we could use the strategies with our students. I hope you will also post resources that you’ve found valuable. The more resources we have, the better for everybody, right?  You can access my Padlet by clicking on the QR code or the link below.

How Fostering Online Engagement is organized:

Column 1: Problem of Practice – an overview of the problem.

Column 2: Whole Group Synchronous – about engagement during teacher led whole group teaching online.

Column 3: Small Group Synchronous – about engagement during student collaborative learning groups online. 

Column 4: Asynchronous Collaboration – about engagement when students collaborate on projects on their own schedule.

Column 5: Asynchronous Solo – about engagement for students working independently on their own learning tasks.  

Column 5: Face2face – about engagement when students and teachers are physically together. (Just for comparison)

I’ve launched this Padlet with a starter collection of resources. The first column includes a text overview and a “Start here” voice recording inviting you to explore and contribute to this collection. You’ll find that some of the posts will link you to tools, articles, Google documents, and videos.  By the time you see this, I hope there will be additional resources added by educators who read my blog. Let these inspire you to add some of your own.

 

The Best Part

And here’s the best part! Padlet provides an opportunity for you to make comments beneath each resource. Please accept my invitation to add your thoughts. Did that resource remind you of something you’ve done previously — or prompt you to think of something you could do? Tell us about it!  Who knows what will happen when another teacher reads your comments?

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