Summer is wrapping up. You’ve put away the inflatable pool, put the cover on the grill and you’re getting ready to retire your t-shirts and shorts: school is about to begin again. Back-to-school season is the perfect time to prepare for new online students and take into consideration how to engage active learners.
We’ve put together our top three ways to prepare for online higher-education students, as they return to the digital classroom:
At Blackboard Collaborate, we pride ourselves on the fact that our products are designed for education, by educators. We’ve found that the best way to make sure our customers love our platform is to partner with them throughout the development process, from requirements to release. In particular, we work closely with the Blackboard Collaborate Product Advisory Council and our Accessibility Taskforce, and also hear directly from users through firstname.lastname@example.org.
I was fortunate to attend an excellent panel discussion at Bbworld a few weeks ago entitled, “How to Build a Virtual School.” The panel was made of up five virtual learning experts, including Tambre Tondryk of Clark County Public Schools’ Virtual High School, Jack Hawkins and Doug Renfro of Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools’ Virtual School, and Linda Schriver and Ruth Paine of Clay County Public Schools’ Clay Virtual Academy.
While each virtual school represented came about for unique reasons and through various state legislation, they all have a common denominator: “It always starts from the top.” Every panelist agreed that in order for a virtual school to be successful, the first step is to get buy-in from executive administration. From there, you’ll receive the financial, technological and institutional support required to get your program off the ground and running.
Last week we shared a few different ideas for some activities to keep your classroom of digital natives engaged – like encouraging them to take control with their own lesson plan or challenging them to work together to build a game. Here are a few more ideas to inspire your lesson plans with material to keep learning active.
- Crowdsource Your Quiz. Quizzes are considered a great way to get a quick measurement of what your students are getting from your lessons – but an even better way may be to get them to write the quiz themselves! Have your students get linked into Collaborate and ask them to work together to ask what questions they think they should be quizzed on. This kind of activity is an excellent way to build critical thinking skills while also moving them towards seeing the importance of self-assessment and analytics.
It’s hard to believe – but summer is winding down! Still planning how you’ll go active in your classroom? Laying the groundwork for a great new year is important for any age group – but keeping active learners engaged after a summer outside the classroom can be a challenge. Activities that emphasize social learning and other engaging tactics can help keep things moving. Just in case you need some help- here are some lesson plan ideas for digital natives to get you started this fall:
- Make Your Own Lesson Plan. Easing students back into the classroom groove is always a challenge – why not start the year off by showing them that their education is in their hands? Ask them to make a lesson plan that would help show their peers what they learned over the summer. Showing the active learner that you know that their education doesn’t end in the classroom is a great way to encourage them to continue learning from life.
- Focused Small Group Discussion. Since active learners have the world at their fingertips they often have a lot to say about a lot of topics. Break your students into small groups when discussing a topic that is content rich and ask them to brain storm together to identify key points. Encourage them to work together while using mobile devices to provide some supporting material – a perfect way to integrate mobility into the learning framework.