There is an English proverb, “necessity is the mother of invention,” that fits in education today as teachers are forced to become digitally innovative in the face of immediate, and possibly an extended, period of need during the COVID-19 lockdown. These are indeed challenging times.
But what if it’s an opportunity too? If I could wave my magic wand and offer a little peace of mind to teachers today, I’d offer this support:
Trust your expertise. You’ve got your content down.
Trust your students. Many of them are natives to the digital world. Step back and let them lead the way when it comes to how best to accomplish the learning at hand.
Tap into the real-world problems that have emerged today. Engage teams of learners in inquiry-based projects that help them be solution-oriented as they generate ideas to address the borderless, timeless, and multidisciplinary concerns that erupted almost overnight.
Create a system of organized chaos:
- Select a few key standards.
- Outline what those standards mean.
- Invite students to think about the best ways to demonstrate those integrated standards in meaningful and digital ways.
- Post your agreements on what that assessment system will be.
- Create/post your criteria for success.
- Put students into intentionally structured teams.
- Point them toward possible resources.
Agree to assess less, but assess better, with focused check-for-understanding moments. Use the readily available online editing tools (in almost every platform) to offer strategic feedback.
Allow students the opportunity to showcase their learning in new ways.
Lean on your collaborative team members for insights, ideas, and collective problem solving.
Document all that you have tried and learned in order to inform future curricular decisions.
Most importantly, grant yourself gentleness. Remember, less is more when it comes to learning. Free yourself up a little from the extensive heavy content and support students with critical skills and important ways to navigate lifelong learning experiences.
Know that in the end, you always have the power to make a difference in the lives of kids, whether you are virtually or physically present. So, in the meantime, let’s make the most of this “proble-tunity” to rethink how we prepare our students for modern times. You got this!