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Lessons from the Field: Remote Learning Guidance

Part of the COVID-19 Guidance for K-12 Schools published on March 17, 2020.

Response to COVID-19

CDE/HHS Guidance – Distance Learning
March 17, 2020
DL Appendix 2, v1

Appendix 2: Lessons from the Field: Remote Learning Guidance

Contents:

Acknowledgments

All educators share the primary goal of high-quality continuity of education for each student. The purpose of this document is to support teachers and administrators as they work toward moving their teaching and learning online. Many individuals from several county offices of education and school districts in California contributed to this document.

The lead authors are from the Riverside County Office of Education, Dennis Large, Ed.D., Eric Calderon, Heidi Baynes, Steve Hickman, Ed.D., Mike Leffin.

Introduction

It is important to understand that taking teaching and learning online involves more than just uploading files and video links to a learning management system (LMS External link opens in new window or tab. ). Teaching remotely requires a different approach. It is a skill to be learned. Educators who have taught online know that there are some specific pedagogies and practices that help make online learning effective.

This document attempts to support the move to remote learning by examining five major categories of online teaching and learning: a) Pedagogy and Practices, b) Accessibility, c) Content, d) Tools and Resources, and e) Infrastructure and Devices.

The Pedagogy and Practices section covers several considerations for effective online teaching and learning. Specific strategies are noted with links to further information and resources. This is the best starting place for any teacher who is planning to teach online for the first time.

The Accessibility section addresses the accessibility needs of English learners, students with disabilities, and other students who need support in accessing content when learning remotely.

The Content section shares some free- and low-cost courses and materials available to teachers. Some of these are stand-alone courses and others are designed to supplement the online teaching. This section is divided into two subsections: a) content for students, and b) content for educators.

The Tools and Resources section provides examples of the many sites and apps that support remote learning. These tools are not content-specific, rather, they offer affordances that can make learning online more engaging and effective.

The Infrastructure and Devices section examines the technology needed for a successful transition to remote learning. The section also emphasizes the importance of having the educational services staff working closely with the information technology services staff in order to realize the goal of high-quality continuity of education for each student.

Finally, Albert Einstein is credited with saying, “In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity.” We should not forget to look at the opportunity in front of us. We know that after our students graduate from high school, they will live in a world that will frequently require them to learn and work online. As we explore options for teaching and learning online, we are also providing opportunities for our students to learn vital skills such as self-regulation, time management, and organization. For many of our students, this will be their first experience having to manage their own learning in such a way. Part of a quality online program during this time is supporting students in developing the skills and habits necessary in order to be successful in the global digital society they will enter as adults.

Pedagogy and Practices

While remote learning offers many positives (time-shifting, pace-shifting, personalization, etc.), student engagement can easily be compromised by the lack of face-to-face interaction. It is important to note that the affordances of technology and of online learning overlap in many ways with the needs of English learners and students with disabilities. Fortunately, there are several strategies that can help teachers keep all students engaged while learning remotely.

  • Be present as the instructor
    • Instructor presence is a critical factor in the success of online learning.
      • A weekly video posted by the teacher allows students to connect with the teacher’s image and voice. The video can be short, 3 minutes or less. In that amount of time, the teacher can review highlights of the previous week, and do a quick introduction of what is coming in the current week. Simple videos can be recorded by using any number of screen-casting apps External link opens in new window or tab. such as Screencastify External link opens in new window or tab..
      • Instructors should also be present by engaging students through asking questions and responding to questions. There are many online tools that can help teachers such as discussion boards, replying to questions, and asking probing questions of the whole class, groups, and individual students.
      • Use frequent formative assessments. While present with students, it can be much easier to determine which students may be struggling with new learning. When teaching online, use free and “freemium” tools such as Google Forms External link opens in new window or tab., Microsoft Forms External link opens in new window or tab., Poll Everywhere External link opens in new window or tab., Mentimeter External link opens in new window or tab. and your learning management system to gauge student learning and plan instructional moves and personalization that helps to keep all students on track. Here is a list of more formative assessment tools External link opens in new window or tab..
  • Work as a group
    • Setting up an effective online learning environment can be overwhelming. It can also be isolating. Teachers should remember that they can work together to create engaging lessons and activities for students. Sharing with colleagues will reduce stress and the workload. When working with colleagues, remember you can share classes and resources through your LMS or Google Classroom External link opens in new window or tab.. This could enable teachers to assign activities in one class from other shared classes.
  • Focus on active learning
    • Over the last decade, K-12 education has been slowly moving away from the lecture model. All of the reasons that make movement toward active learning in the face-to-face classroom a good idea also apply to the virtual classroom. To engage students who are not in the room during a lesson, teachers should consider creating a mix of:
      • Robust discussions
      • Collaborative work
      • Video and audio clips
      • Hands-on exercises
      • Individual work time
  • Chunk content into smaller pieces
  • Hold “Office Hours”
    • Consider setting specific times during the day that you would be available via a web-conferencing tool. Students could check in if they have questions about assignments - or if they just need to see and hear their teacher. Here are a few free or low-cost tools:
  • Create smaller groups
    • Students who are learning virtually still need to make connections with others. When teachers create some of their assignments as group work, students are able to experience the continuity of their relationships. It can be more meaningful to assign students to smaller groups to review and comment upon each others’ work. Smaller groups are also more effective at ensuring that all students participate equitably.
  • Be careful with your time
    • As mentioned previously, teaching online can be very time-consuming for teachers. In a face-to-face classroom, when a question is asked by the instructor, one or two students might answer. When a teacher uses a discussion board online, the expectation is that all students will respond. At that point, a teacher can get lost in trying to respond to each student's response. A better strategy is to respond directly to some of the student responses. Some online teachers keep a tally to make sure that they respond to each student at least weekly, but not for every discussion assignment. Grade levels and specific needs of students will help drive how frequently to respond to each student.
  • Give multimedia options for assignments
  • Stay flexible with pacing
    • In the face-to-face classroom it is relatively easy to keep students working at the same pace. The teacher can assign a task and collect the work at the end of the period. Individual learning styles, particularly when it comes to pace, will be evident in the remote learning environment. Consider these strategies:
      • Have all work for the week posted by the start of the week and due at the end of the week (or even over the weekend).
      • Try working with “windows of time” instead of specific due dates for some assignments.
      • Be prepared to differentiate due dates for students who struggle with the rigor or style of remote learning.
  • Other tips:

Accessibility

It is critical to ensure the accessibility of resources for all students. In particular, when considering students with individualized education programs (IEPs) or 504 plans, first consult with your district office regarding federal, state, and local guidelines for these students as related to needs for remote learning.

  • Below are some general strategies for helping to ensure equity and accessibility for all students. It is important to note that this does not constitute legal advice. This section is designed to share some best practices regarding accessibility of content when designing remote learning environments.
    • Take advantage of the accessibility features built into most LMS systems:
      • Use heading styles which will allow screen reader software to navigate from section to section.
      • Use font, size, and text formatting to distinguish between items or to navigate. Ensure no information is conveyed solely by color or sound.
      • Use Alt-Text to allow users with screen readers or with slow connection to identify your images, graphs and charts.
      • Enable tool tips so that descriptions appear when users hover over images, graphs, and charts.
    • Provide transcripts of video or audio External link opens in new window or tab. announcements made by teachers. If you read from a script, your script should be posted as the transcript.
    • If linking to external videos, make sure the videos have closed captioning External link opens in new window or tab. available.
    • Use descriptive titles, headers and subtitles to provide added context.
    • Use meaningful text in links to make it easier for users to predict where navigation will take them. For example, avoid “click here” or “read more.”
    • Provide a balance of text, image, video and audio. Instruction and resources provided in more than one format provides broader support for the greatest number of users.
    • Teachers should verify that the external resources they link to have the accessibility features.

Content

Students: This section lists resources for delivering content to students. Best practice would be to start by leveraging some of the resources that you already use in your face-to-face instruction. Additionally, you should check with your district to see what is already available to you and supported by your district’s IT department.

*Disclaimer: Some apps collect a certain amount of user data. It is imperative that you check with your IT department before using apps that require student accounts. Find out more by visiting the website for the CA Student Data Privacy Alliance External link opens in new window or tab..

Content Annotation Notes

California State Library K-12 Online Content Project

This free resource supports learning and research opportunities with free access to Encyclopedia Britannica, Teaching Books.net, and ProQuest.

May need to use single sign-on login information. Otherwise, contact your site or district library staff for more information.

CK-12

This resource offers a host of online textbooks, simulations, and study guides that are free to teachers and students. Many can be linked to learning management systems and tools such as Google Classroom.

Free

Gooru

A collection of free online resources for almost any content area.

Free

EdX

An online collection of courses designed largely for secondary and adult learning, but provides useful resources and learning opportunities for advanced learners.

Free

Project Gutenberg

A free collection of 61,000 downloadable classic texts.

Free

OER Commons

OER Commons is a public digital library of open educational resources. Explore, create, and collaborate with educators around the world to improve curriculum.

Free

Scholastic Learn at Home

Every day includes four separate learning experiences, each built around a thrilling, meaningful story or video. Kids can do them on their own, with their families, or with their teachers.

Free

Epic Books

Massive resources for online reading of all text types. Free to parents right now.

N/A

Virtual Gifted and Talented Enrichment Support Materials (from Kentucky)

Grades K-12.

Critical thinking, creativity, leadership, visual arts, drama, dance, music, language arts, math, science, and social studies

Florida Virtual Schools

Available to schools outside of Florida. A wealth of courses available to be delivered through LMS.

Paid

Discovery Education

A host of video and lessons for most content areas as well as lesson plans and professional learning for effective 21st century instructional practices.

Requires an account

Edmentum

K-12 content for delivery through LMS. Multiple options for content, remediation and assessment.

Paid

kids.nationalgeographic.com

Books, articles, photos, science experiments, etc.

Free

Common Sense Media

Resources for parents for apps, games, and other media.

Free

Klein ISD

Dual Language (Spanish) resources.

Dual Language Target Language Spanish

Storyplace

Website where students can hear digital storybooks (option to change to Spanish).

Dual Language Target Language Spanish

PBSKids.org Games in Spanish

Website where kids can practice language through games (Spanish available).

Dual Language Target Language Spanish

Bartolo

Website for hearing Spanish readings with comprehension and games.

Dual Language Target Language Spanish

DreamBox Learning

An adaptive, online K-8 math program proven to raise student achievement while supporting informed decision making; 90-day free trial now.

Requires students to create free account

Available in Spanish

New Perspectives on Learning

K-6 math online platform modules and teacher PD.

Contact Cathy Fosnot for free access to online platform @ctfosnot [https://www.newperspectives
online.net/contact]

Desmos Classroom Activities

Desmos Main website

A collection of free and engaging digital activities for teachers and students to help every student learn math and love learning math.

N/A

illustrativemathematics.org

Explore the growing library of free resources, designed to help educators understand and implement the standards. You'll find instructional and assessment tasks, blog posts, curriculum blueprints, videos, downloadable documents, and more.

Math tasks that need to be downloaded to use with students at home.

Mathematics Assessment Project

Grade 6 - HS free downloadable lessons and tasks focused on developing math concepts and problem-solving of non-routine problems.

N/A

Inside Mathematics

Grade 2-12 resources such as math tasks, re-engagement lessons and videos, including connections of the math standards and social and emotional learning.

Linked to Tools for Educators Page, resources are free to download and print

Zearn.org

K-8 Math with lessons and practice online. Teacher needs to setup classroom and add students. Students join with classroom code.

Math - Aligned to Eureka Math for K-8th Grade

Khan Academy

A wide variety of topics, content areas, and lessons for all grade levels.

Math - This is aligned directly with Illustrative Math/Open Up for 6th-8th Grade

Squiggle Park | Level up your early readers.

Reading.

N/A

Storyline Online

Virtual storybook site.

N/A

Mystery Science

Virtual Science lessons organized by grade level.

N/A

History for Kids - Fun Facts and Social Studies

Free online history network with games, quizzes and worksheets.

N/A

Typing Club

Free virtual typing lessons.

N/A

12 Museums that offer virtual tours

Page with links to virtual tours of some of the world’s best museums.

N/A

AP English Writing Clinic

A free 3-week AP English Writing clinic.

N/A

Melbourne Symphony

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Is live-streaming Concerts for free.

N/A

Paris Museums

Paris Musées, a collection of 14 museums in Paris have recently made high-res digital copies of 100,000 artworks freely available to the public.

N/A

Global Goals

Free lessons and resources for PBL.

“These goals have the power to create a better world by 2030, by ending poverty, fighting inequality and addressing the urgency of climate change. “

Home schedule for Elementary, Middle School, and High School

Elementary [https://drive.google.com/file
/d/16uDWJ2ogTOnKnvHtjXhSnmmF0uTDEXII/view]

Middle [https://drive.google.com/file
/d/149ByiG6OWVeblkiXmgw5UmAmQJU-3Cv-/view]

High School [https://drive.google.com/file
/d/1W0zB88Z-TmpXBLG7qgOApFH2fU_6XkLo/]

Developed by a Val Verde Unified School district.

Educators: This section lists resources for online professional learning. As with the section above, best practice would be to check with your district to see what is already available to you and supported by your district’s IT department.

Online Teaching and Learning

Content Annotation Notes

Microsoft Educator Community

This free resource not only supports teaching with Microsoft tools, but also has much pedagogical support for online and blended learning.

N/A

Google for Education; Teacher Training Center

This free resource not only supports teaching with Google tools, but also has much pedagogical support for online and blended learning.

N/A

Alludo

This free resource offered by Alludo Learning provides resources and strategies for distance teaching and learning.

N/A

Future Ready: Personalized Professional Learning

What does effective professional learning with technology for educators look like? Future Ready offers guidance and resources toward improving teacher capacity.

N/A

Battelle for Kids: Learning Hub

Offers a host of free exemplars, videos, and articles on effective online and personalized teaching.

N/A

Leading Edge Online & Blended Teacher

Leading Edge Online and Blended Learning is typically a facilitated online course, but the course content and activities found here could provide useful guidance for teachers new to online and blended learning.

Free

Leading Edge Flex

Leading Edge Flex offers educators self-guided professional learning pathways and opportunities to engage anytime and anywhere through our certification program. Experience online professional learning and earn certification backed by a national alliance of nonprofits, universities and educational agencies.

N/A

Online Professional Learning Catalog

Free professional learning modules from the Santa Clara Office of Education. Includes digital badges.

Free

Free Subscriptions during closings

List of educational companies offering free subscriptions during closures.

N/A

Free Yoga courses

Free yoga app until April 1st.

N/A

Yoga and Meditation

12 free yoga and meditation classes.

N/A

FutureLearn course on Covid 19

Course for educators on Covid-19.

N/A

Newsela

Complimentary access to Newsela during closures.

N/A

Publisher Textbook Resources

Most of these resources require district adoption of the content area textbook. Check with your librarian for more information on accessing these textbook resources.

Content Annotation Notes

Pearson Textbook Resources External link opens in new window or tab.

Offers online curriculum support for students and teachers using Prentice Hall texts including self-tests, Internet activities, reference materials, and teaching links.

Requires district adoption

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Textbook Resources External link opens in new window or tab.

Support for all content areas depending on your district’s textbook adoption.

Requires district adoption

McGraw Hill Textbook Resources External link opens in new window or tab.

Support for all content areas depending on your district’s textbook adoption.

Requires district adoption

Scholastic Teaching Tools External link opens in new window or tab.

Free and paid resources for using Scholastic products.

N/A

Follett External link opens in new window or tab.

Paid provider of education technology, services and print and digital content.

N/A

Tools and Resources

The table below lists online resources that can help teachers supplement lessons and activities, construct engaging tasks, and follow some best practices for remote learning. Best practice would be to start by leveraging some of the resources that you already use in your face-to-face instruction. Additionally, you should check with your district to see what is already available to you and supported by your district’s IT department.

*Disclaimer: Some apps collect a certain amount of user data. It is imperative that you check with your IT department before using apps that require student accounts. Find out more by visiting the website for the CA Student Data Privacy Alliance.
Tool Annotation Notes

Free Online Teaching Support Group External link opens in new window or tab.

Virtual professional learning community to support educators (PreK-16) in this transition to online education.

N/A

National Standards for Quality Online Teaching External link opens in new window or tab.

These are the most current national standards for teaching online.

N/A

ISTE Standards for Teachers External link opens in new window or tab.

Provides guidance for effective digital teaching and learning both in class and in a blended environment.

N/A

ISTE Standards for Students External link opens in new window or tab.

Provides standards for the types of activities and thinking that can be effective in digital teaching and learning environments.

N/A

BrainPOP External link opens in new window or tab.

Variety of short animated video lessons on multiple topics.

Free and paid content

Flipgrid External link opens in new window or tab.

Record and share short videos.

Free

Quizizz External link opens in new window or tab.

Self-paced, gamified quizzes for student assessment. Library of

Free

Kahoot External link opens in new window or tab.

Gamified quizzes for assessment.

Free

Gimkit External link opens in new window or tab.

Gamified quizzes and assessment. Adds a collaborative element.

Free and paid features

Screencastify External link opens in new window or tab.

Capture video with webcam or video of computer screen/tabs.

Free and paid features

WeVideo External link opens in new window or tab.

Edit video and create movies.

Free and paid features

Scratch/Scratch Jr. External link opens in new window or tab.

Block coding software allows students to create multimedia presentations.

Free

Code.org External link opens in new window or tab.

Implement the computer science standards. Set up classes, track progress and deliver self-paced lessons to students.

Free

Makecode External link opens in new window or tab.

Coding activities and tutorials in both block based coding and javascript.

Free

Google Classroom External link opens in new window or tab.

Learning management system.

Free

Microsoft Teams External link opens in new window or tab.

Learning management system.

Free with Microsoft account

Zoom Conferencing External link opens in new window or tab.

Video conference software. Share screens, files, record meeting.

Free and paid tools

Read&Write for Google Chrome External link opens in new window or tab.

Google Chrome extension adds accessibility features for reading and writing. Also supports language learners with translation features.

Free and paid

Google Translate External link opens in new window or tab.

Translate words, documents, websites in real time.

Free

Microsoft Translator External link opens in new window or tab.

Translate words, documents, websites in real time.

Free

Khan Academy External link opens in new window or tab.

A wide variety of topics and lessons for all grade levels.

Free

MathVisuals External link opens in new window or tab.

Visualizes math concepts to be more easily understood.

N/A

Canvas External link opens in new window or tab.

Learning management system.

Free for teachers

Powerschool External link opens in new window or tab.

Learning management system.

Paid

Jamboard External link opens in new window or tab.

Easily collaborate using Google Tools.

App is free. No Jamboard necessary to use the app and collaborative tools

Microsoft Whiteboard External link opens in new window or tab.

Collaborate, explain, draw, share online.

Requires an Office 365 account

Piktochart External link opens in new window or tab.

Infographics creator.

N/A

Adobe Spark External link opens in new window or tab.

Create short videos, and graphics.

Free and paid features

Edpuzzle External link opens in new window or tab.

Resources of math videos by topic External link opens in new window or tab.

Make videos interactive. Track students understanding of the material in the video.

Use premade lessons or create your own. Free and paid options

Pear Deck External link opens in new window or tab.

Make slideshows interactive and check for students’ understanding.

Add-on for Google Slides

Nearpod External link opens in new window or tab.

Make slideshows interactive and check for students’ understanding.

Use premade lessons or create your own. Free and paid content

Google Hangouts Meet External link opens in new window or tab.

Chat, or hold video conference with groups.

Free with some paid features like the ability to record

Typing.com External link opens in new window or tab.

Typing practice for kids.

Requires student to create a free account

iMovie External link opens in new window or tab.

Create and edit videos on Mac or iPad, iPhone.

Free on Apple devices

Keynote External link opens in new window or tab.

Create slideshow presentations on Mac, iPad, iPhone.

Free on Apple devices

Immersive Reader

Immersive Reader, included in OneNote Learning Tools External link opens in new window or tab., is a full screen reading experience to increase readability of content in OneNote documents. Learning Tools is designed to support students with dyslexia and dysgraphia in the classroom, but can support anyone who wants to make reading on their device easier.

N/A

Swift Playgrounds External link opens in new window or tab.

Full curriculum to teach computer science. Available for free on Mac or iPad.

Free on Apple devices

Online and Distance Learning External link opens in new window or tab.

A synthesis of various county office support documents for online and remote learning from CISC/ELA Subcommittee.

N/A

Photomath App External link opens in new window or tab.

This is a resource that helps students and parents with solving calculation math problems.

N/A

Dallas Museum of Art External link opens in new window or tab.

Dallas Museum of Art - Collection Online.

Arts resource

Google Arts and Culture External link opens in new window or tab.

Google Arts and Culture.

Arts resource

MoMA External link opens in new window or tab.

Museum of Modern Art - Teaching Resources.

Arts resource

PBS Great Performances External link opens in new window or tab.

PBS - Great Performances on Public Broadcasting.

Performing and Media Arts resource

The Getty Museum External link opens in new window or tab.

The Getty Museum - Resources for the Classroom.

Arts resource

The Kennedy Center External link opens in new window or tab.

The Kennedy Center - Lessons and Activities.

Performing Arts resource

Met Kids External link opens in new window or tab.

Metropolitan Museum of Art - MetKids Online.

Arts resource

Metropolitan Opera External link opens in new window or tab.

Metropolitan Opera - live streaming HD performances nightly.

Performing arts resource

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art External link opens in new window or tab.

San Francisco Museum of Art - Teacher Resources.

Arts resource

Smart History

Smart History - Art History online learning.

Arts resource

Poetry 4 Kids External link opens in new window or tab.

Poetry Writing - Elementary Lesson Plans

Literary arts resource

Scholastic - Poetry Workshop External link opens in new window or tab.

Poetry Works: Grades 6 -8.

Literary arts resource

Poetry Out Loud External link opens in new window or tab.

Poetry Out Loud - High School Lesson Plans.

Literary arts resource

Infrastructure and Devices

Considerations for Students:
  • Content filter on device to meet CIPA (Child Internet Protection Act)
  • Adequate network connectivity at home or designated location
  • Ensure that provided device is able to accomplish desired outcomes
    • Chromebooks
    • iPad
    • Tablets
    • Windows/Mac
  • If technical issues arise, LEA should have resources to assist.
  • Consideration for students with IEP.
  • Consideration for language learners.
  • Consideration for Williams Act and equitable access to students.
Considerations for Educators:
  • Adequate network connectivity at home or designated location.
  • Access to curriculum or district distance learning platforms offsite.
  • Support on the use of technology and platform offsite
    • LEA should also consider how to support educators and staff.
Considerations for Parents:

Parents’ guide to Google Classroom External link opens in new window or tab.

Questions:  
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, March 17, 2020
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