It's a new term but not as we know it...
We wish you all the best as you connect with your students through online and remote learning tools and resources. There is so much to consider, not only course design and students' individual learning styles but also issues around equity and access and the vagaries of technology.
Many of you working in the Victorian education system will have logged in to the helpful WebEx webinars, some will be newly expert in the possibilities of Microsoft’s online education tools, while others will be persisting with the user-friendly Zoom (but follow these tips to ensure security). Regardless of the delivery mode you choose, stick with it, as consistency and predictability are a priority during this period.
It is likely you will be suffering from resource and information overload – we are feeling it too, and we make resources for a living! That said, the breadth, quality and originality of the online resources, activities and excursions being shared are impressive. We will continue to share enticing and timely discoveries via our social media channels.
Keep it simple
For the most part, teachers want simple and effective solutions to remote and online program delivery. We have years of experience in this form of delivery, and can assure you: ‘less is more’, particularly when it comes to connecting with learners via videoconference. Keep your sessions short and sharp, with a clear learning goal. Give participants time for some form of interactive response, or send them offline to do an activity which they can share when you re-connect as a group. And remember to hit ‘record’ in case someone misses a session, or their connection drops out.
It can also be helpful to pre-record some of your classes. This will make access much easier for families with multiple learners vying for time, attention and computers or iPads. And you don’t always have to be the teacher. Why not program a class from Khan Academy, a video from ABC Education, or a beautiful short film? If you are teaching English or Media, try tapping into the screen and media texts your students are already engaging with by encouraging critique and analysis.
Collaboration and connection
Group work is good pedagogy and a staple of online collaboration in the world of work. In the remote classroom context, effectively using this option depends on the age of learners, their compliance and a range of other factors (including internet reliability). You may find it simpler to encourage students to connect by sharing their work or collaborating on an offline project, where each participant is given a distinct role, a clear goal and a tangible outcome.
If you have decided to build a unit around a project or an enquiry question, check out ACMI’s Film It or Game Builder toolkits, built to support learners through the development and production process of making a film or building a game. Each of these creative projects can be undertaken collaboratively or by individual learners – depending on what works best for you and your students.
How can we help?
At ACMI, we haven’t rushed to build a whole set of new resources, as we already have a great selection to share, but we are keen to find out how else we can support you. For instance, we are recording our VCE English and Media lectures to share with students and teachers, as we know this is fulfilling a need. And we have reconfigured The Queen and Ransom VCE professional learning program as a two-part videoconference. Accordingly, we have put together a survey (below) to offer you the opportunity to let us know if we can help you out with online resources and programs around specific texts you are teaching or, more generally, in relation to screen, media and digital literacy.