In this episode Dan interviews Eleni Kyritsis to discuss how she creates engaging and rich lessons for her students during COVID lockdown in Melbourne.
Episode 53 Remote Learning with Eleni Kyritsis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
The COVID-19 pandemic has completely changed the way the whole world works, especially education. Since face-to-face classes are out of the question during this time, we see a rapid shift towards remote learning. However, it has been proven extra challenging, especially for young kids who need higher levels of engagement. So how can teachers make remote learning fun while still ensuring that kids are learning essential concepts in their year level?
In this episode, Eleni Kyritsis joins us to discuss how teachers can navigate remote teaching during the lockdown. She shares the concept of virtual tours as a tool and other resources in engaging students’ learning during this time. She also talks about the changes that remote teaching has introduced and how parents and teachers can adapt to it.
If you want to know strategies on how you make remote learning fun for your students, stay tuned to this episode!
Here are three reasons why you should listen to the full podcast:
- Find out how you can make remote teaching fun through virtual excursions.
- Learn how parents and kids can smoothly navigate remote learning.
- Discover Eleni’s advice for teachers who are struggling with the remote teaching set-up.
Rethinking Remote Teaching
- Eleni has been living in lockdown in Melbourne. She’s a full-time mum and goes to work two days a week as their school’s curriculum and innovation leader.
- The first round of lockdown was survival for teachers and a novelty for students.
- The stage two of lockdown may be a great time for teachers to rethink their remote teaching strategy.
- Just doing worksheets and listening to teachers reading stories is not enough to engage students to learn.
- As a part of Eleni’s role in their school, she creates engaging activities for the whole school each week.
- Going on virtual excursions around the world is a fun and memorable experience in students’ remote learning.
- Each virtual excursion ties down to the curriculum areas of different year levels.
- Students have related tasks to do each week that they have to submit. It may include advertisements and holiday reflections.
- They’ve also done tinkering activities using recycled materials to create the New Wonders of the World.
- Learning can happen in many different ways. Through distance education, students can utilise other means that are not present in the classroom.
- One of Eleni’s students baked a cake to create the elephant they saw on an African safari during their virtual tour.
Tools for Conducting Virtual Tours
- Google Expeditions
- Google Tour Creator
- Google Maps
- Online safari website and cams
Using Virtual Tours to Give Hope
- Not only students but parents have also started looking forward to these weekly tours as a family.
- It gets everyone to see life and everything in a different way.
- It also gives hope to students that they’ll be able to go to all these places around the world one day.
Navigating Science Week Remotely
- Usually, they run lunchtime sessions in the preparation of the Science Week celebration. The challenge now is to still create those experiences for the students when they’re not at schools.
- Wednesday is their Hump Day Science Day. These days are memorable days that kids will remember.
- Eleni creates interactive PowerPoint slides on different activities that she embeds on their class pages.
- They have a set of nine activities that kids can pick, and that also encourages parents to get involved.
- Having a set of tasks boosts students’ competitiveness. Sharing their creation is also an exciting experience.
- Their teachers have small groups which they check in to make sure they understand the key concepts they need to teach.
- Remote learning provides an opportunity for children to explore, create and do things independently. It’s also about finding the balance of how much time they spend online and offline.
- A lot of parents are also working from home, so childcare has been cut for many families. Hence, it is essential to provide kids with tasks that they can do on their own.
- Play scenarios are crucial avenues for young kids in grasping various concepts.
- Teachers have to be creative in online teaching both for themselves and for the students.
A Word for Parents
- In the classroom, teachers are not with every kid every second of the day; they have independence in doing things for themselves.
- Teachers will not give out lessons and tasks that kids won’t be able to do at home.
- There are many resources that kids can explore. You don’t even need kits; you can use simple things in introducing mathematical concepts.
- Remember, before a kid can understand math concepts, they have to play it with their hands.
- Teachers can send parents templates or videos on how to make these creative learning resources.
Making Remote Teaching Fun for Kids
- Prioritise your time as a teacher when you are teaching remotely.
- The lessons take longer to organise, but it is worth it when the kids are enjoying it.
- We don’t want kids to lose their love of learning just because of the current situation.
- It’s okay for kids to take a mental health day. We need balance in this remote situation.
- A lot of teachers are struggling, so it’s important to share ideas that work for you.
Eleni Kyritsis is an award-winning teacher with an outstanding contribution to the Australian education community. She is a Year 3 Teacher and is currently Leader of Curriculum & Innovation in their institution. She is a Google-certified innovator and trainer, Apple teacher, Microsoft Innovative Education Expert, and a Hapara-certified educator.
Eleni was awarded the DLTV Victorian Educator of the Year in 2016 and the ACCE Australian Educator of the Year in 2017.
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