In the past 12 months, the role of online teaching has been brought into sharp focus. It has been a crucial factor in continuing the education of millions of students worldwide in the current situation. While it will, in the main, be discontinued as life returns to normal, several benefits have emerged.
While online teaching continues, however, the role of an educator has changed somewhat from being somebody who is physically present (something that can often be reassuring to both student and teacher) to a presence on a screen. The question for many educators is how to be an effective teacher when the classroom environment is replaced by somewhere a child would normally associate with leisure and play.
Tools for teaching online
This challenge is addressed in courses like FPU Technology Tools for Teaching Online, which provides the training required for an educator to use technology to their advantage in such situations, where the physical separation from a normal teaching environment could be considered a barrier.
The first thing to be considered is the cost-benefit ratio of a course like this. While this term would normally be used in business environments, the relevance here is obvious. With online lessons often taking much longer to set up and plan, the already precious time of the educator needs to be spent very carefully.
As with the rest of society, teachers are finding that new tools such as video conferencing platforms all come with their own challenges, and overcoming those can be time-consuming. This is a situation where the technical knowledge of the student outstrips that of the teacher, which will have obvious effects on the teacher-student relationship. Also, the reduction in non-academic issues caused by easily avoidable technical issues will allow more time for teaching.
Minimum time pressure
This means that the financial cost could be considered small by most educators when considering the benefits provided as a whole. Once enrolled, the educator would have a year of online access to complete the training, although the immediate relevance of this course means that the majority of students may elect to complete it in the minimum three-week timescale.
Being online in nature, this course does not mean the educator has to attend any classes themselves, so can complete this at their convenience, which can be a key factor with the additional time pressures currently placed on educators. The ability to fit this training around current commitments is a factor that should not be overlooked.
The skills learned in this training and gaining an online teaching certificate, will be useful in creating additional online resources for students in the future to assist with homework or to provide primers so that lessons can be more productive by not having to explain basic principles to students.
Additionally, students who do not respond well to conventional teaching methods using books and blackboards may react more positively to lessons in video format.
Though classrooms are not a thing of the past, online education is here to stay. And now you’re armed with the knowledge to become the best online educator you can be.
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