Millions of students worldwide are experiencing disruption to their education because of COVID-19. Hong Kong students are no exception to this experience as the city braces itself for potential aftershocks of the virus outbreak. Fortunately, with the help of technology and the internet, we have the capability to continue education virtually in the face of uncertainties. We have shared some ideas and tools below for staying connected with students and enhancing their learning experiences.
Online teaching beyond Zoom
A lot of people already know about Zoom, a go-to teleconferencing platform for many schools around the world during the pandemic. However, Zoom is not the only tool out there for delivering online lessons. It is always beneficial that educators are aware of a variety of options in addition to Zoom, so that they can better decide which tools to use in different situations, catering for their students’ unique learning needs. Here are some examples:
Google Classroom is a free and collaboration-friendly tool that allows streamlined management and assessment of students’ learning progress, accessible to anyone with a Google account. Integrated with other familiar Google software, such as Google Drive, Google Docs and much more, teachers can distribute teaching materials (e.g. YouTube videos) and offer real-time feedback to their students in one setting. This latter feature is especially ideal for engaging students in written assignments, where the provision of editorial suggestions would be helpful.
EDpuzzle enables you to customise your video lessons for students. Teachers may use videos from various sources, including their own pre-recorded videos, videos from YouTube, Ted Talks, Khan Academy, CrashCourse, etc. One special feature of EDpuzzle is that it allows teachers to add multiple-choice or open-ended questions within the video lessons, which will have to be answered by students in order for them to move on. This feature is a great way to check students’ understanding. In a language-learning context, this also allows training in listening skills.
Flipgrid is a free video discussion platform which helps educators see and hear from every student in class. On Flipgrid, students can access lesson contents and respond to prompts by creating videos of themselves. Teachers and students are able to interact with each other by replying to any shared content within the ‘grid’ (i.e. virtual classroom). It can be an excellent tool for teachers who want to design video-based activities (e.g. book sharing) that allow students to practise their speaking and presentation skills.
Preparing for change
As language educators, we believe that online teaching is more than just a knee-jerk response to the pandemic or other changes in society. Instead, it is a gateway to a more diverse range of learning activities and teacher-student interactions that even face-to-face teaching may not be able to offer on its own. There is more to online teaching than live-streaming a lecture online. Eureka is constantly looking for innovative ways to incorporate technology into our teaching methodologies as well as engagement with students, whether it is via our courses, materials or teachers.