1. Teacher Life

8 Ideas to Consider for Remote Learning (Part 2)

In my newly released, self-paced course, “Developing the Innovator’s Mindset Through Remote, Face-to-Face, and Blended Learning,” I have been sharing ideas and strategies that you can use in a remote, blended, or face-to-face setting. As a preview of the course, I have written the following posts over the past month:

1. Ideas for building relationships with students in a remote learning setting.

2. Empowering students in a remote learning setting.

3. Meeting the social-emotional needs of our students in a remote learning environment.

4. 8 Ideas to Consider for Remote Learning (Part 1)

In this post, I want to share the second part of the last post and discuss ideas for self-assessment, connected learning, critical thinkers, and problem-finders/solvers.

If you want to learn more about the course, check out the preview page here.

As mentioned in part 1 of this post, relationships need to be at the center of the work that we do to make any of these ideas happen. I love this reminder on the needs of students as they enter the classroom this year:

As a response and important reminder, Al Smith shares the need for building relationships is essential before, during, and after this time as well.

With that being said, let’s get to the final four ideas in part two of this post.


Questions and context:

Do students have a deep understanding of their learning or have they only memorized and regurgitated information?  Do learners have a meaningful opportunity to show their growth and learning over time to see their progress?

Ideas for implementation

For years, I have been a massive advocate of students having their own digital portfolio. I think there are fantastic opportunities to showcase your learning and create something that is beyond “grades” and getting a diploma and provides students actual ownership over the process. I appreciate this quote from Alan November:

Today, very little of the work we give students in school provides them with a sense that they are making a contribution to anything other than their own educational progress toward graduation.

One of the reasons I love digital portfolios is that it provides students an opportunity to share their learning in different mediums to show both the product and process of learning. Here is an incredible example of a student discussing the concept of “pitch, roll, and yaw” using “paper slides”:

To be able to share your learning with the world, you need to know it on a profound level.  As Joseph Joubert shared, “to teach is to learn twice.”

If you are interested in learning more about digital portfolios, you can check out this free webinar I led on the topic, or take a look at my course on educators creating their digital portfolio for their professional learning.

Critical Thinkers

Questions and context:

The following question is inspired by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) article on the “Definition of Literacy in a Digital Age” (I suggest reading the whole thing).

Do students have the ability to consume, analyze, and create information using different forms of multimedia? 

Ideas for implementation:

I appreciate this quote from Tony Wagner on the importance of critical thinking skills in and beyond school:

“Thus, work, learning, and citizenship in the twenty-first century demand that we all know how to think—to reason, analyze, weigh evidence, problem-solve—and to communicate effectively.” Tony Wagner, The Global Achievement Gap

A great way to display these skills (and more) would be through student podcasting. Christopher J. Nesi reached out to me when I started my own podcast, and he shares this great TikTok on why students should participate in this process. 

@cjnesi##teachersoftiktok ##fyp ##podcasting ##podcastingtips ##justhitrecord ##education ##teacherhypehouse ##schoolhousetok ##teachertechtok♬ Motivational – Martin E. Insaurgarat

One of my favorite podcasts that I have been interviewed for was by a student group (led by educator Hans Appel and team) titled “Award Winning Culture.” The students spent time doing research about my work and then engaging in conversations about the ideas I have shared. It was an excellent experience to be a part of this with students.  

Problem-Finders Solvers

Questions and context:

Do we provide students the opportunity to identify and solve problems that are meaningful to them? How can our students help solve problems in our school, local and global communities, and how do we connect this to our curriculum?

Ideas for implementation:

I first heard of the idea of “problem finders” from this TedX talk by Ewan McIntosh, and it just made so much sense to me!

Instead of writing a bunch of ideas, I wanted to share this image created by Vicki Davis after a conversation we had on this topic:

8 ways to spark problem finders

Connected Learning

Questions and context:

Being in a Zoom session doesn’t make you “connected.” How do we create a space where students feel their contributions are necessary to the success of the classroom? How do we not only focus on bringing experts into our classrooms but sharing our and our students’ expertise with the world?

Ideas for implementation

I have spent years discussing the idea of “Digital Leadership,” which I defined in 2013 as the following:

Using the vast reach of technology (especially the use of social media) to improve the lives, well-being, and circumstances of others.

Also, in 2013, I created this “Digital Leadership Continuum for Schools” to help with discussions on how schools are using social media in their context. I am wondering if this still applies in our current context (I will be updating this shortly as I hate the “grades” portion).

There are many ways that educators across the world are doing this themselves, as they see the power of connecting to a global audience.  I love this example of a school in Brazil connecting with a retirement home in Chicago.  Watch the impact the adults have on the students, and vice versa.

The ability to connect outside the community for learning can have an impact on all of those involved!

This is also a great video to show the power of social media to improve the lives of others as well as school culture.

Creating opportunities for students to have a positive impact on the lives of others in their local and global community, is a great way to use social media, and has been embraced by educators and students all over the world.

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In this part and part one of these posts, I hope that you can find some of these ideas useful, although they will need to be modified to your context. When I share these ideas, I hope that we don’t do “old learning” in a new way, but create something new and better through this process. None of these things work in isolation, but they can go beyond any curriculum and can be adapted to any learning environment, whether it is remote, face-to-face, or a hybrid of the two.

Thanks for reading and for all that you do for students and educators around the world!

If you want to learn more about these ideas and many, many more, check out the “Developing the Innovator’s Mindset Through Remote, Face-to-Face, and Blended Learning” course that is currently on sale for a limited time!

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