Creativity. Patience. Critical thinking. These are but a few crucial skills every educator must possess to navigate the jungle that is the classroom. We have mastered these skills and more after years of experience and continuing education. But being an educator in the age of COVID-19 beyond entails new skills that we need to learn — maybe even unlearn or relearn.
Here are skills and mindsets that we recommend educators — ourselves included — to start developing in 2022.
Insanity, Albert Einstein says, is doing the same things over and over and expecting different results. This saying is most relevant today. Everyday, we face new challenges in the virtual classroom: students not participating, not learning as much, cheating, not able to catch up, and much more. While there are ways to address these issues in a face-to-face classroom setting, we must acknowledge that we are treading new ground in the remote learning environment. We may have tried executing the same practices online, but to no avail. It may be time to acknowledge that this is a puzzle to all of us, even to veteran educators. That even after teaching thousands of students, advising hundreds of classes, and acquiring our Master’s and PhD’s, there are still things left for us to improve. When we have a growth mindset, we take every opportunity to be better, regardless of how good we already are in our paths. In a world that keeps getting disrupted by science, technology, and globalization, this is important.
There was a time when refusing to incorporate online activities in classes just meant you were “traditional”, “classic”, or “retro”. But today, online teaching is simply a given, like your good old fashioned blackboard and chalk. You better get on with the program or be left behind in the dust.
But don’t be disheartened. Anyone who has a smartphone nowadays will quickly learn the ropes of new education technologies and tools. These technologies, such as the Xepto Learning Management System (LMS), are designed and engineered to be intuitive, helpful, and easily adopted by users. You just have to be open to try.
Virtual classroom management
For years, you have masterfully controlled classrooms and guided students all the way to graduation. But instilling discipline in a virtual classroom attended by the same rowdy high school students figuring their way through puberty is a whole different ball game. You have to establish new routines, execute a communication plan, and put in place a feedback loop. You have to implement a different strategy when managing an asynchronous and a synchronous class. It is new and challenging, but with the right information and tools, it can be done.
Creating digital content
The new era of digital consumption has required us educators to compete for the attention of students. They are exposed all day, everyday to exciting content from Tiktok, YouTube, Netflix, and a dozen other platforms. Suddenly, lectures and reading materials are not enough. We too have to level up.
Imagine how even more exciting a science concept can be if we can serve them the lesson in a mix of audio, video, and tactile experiences. The advantage we have today is that the technology to make this happen is within reach. To create a powerful instructional video, all the equipment you need are a smart phone, a simple microphone, and a ring light. There are readily available and free editing software online. Beyond the creation process, acquire the foundations that will help you sustain the activity — leverage digital storytelling, scriptwriting, and vocal power.
Handle emerging issues
Cheating and plagiarism have long been problems in the traditional classroom. In a virtual one, it has taken new and creative forms. Without proctors present in a testing environment, on top of students experiencing challenges in learning online, there is very little stopping them from setting up chat groups and other mechanisms to copy other people’s works. Plagiarizing text takes only a few keystrokes. The educator must be able to spot signs of dishonesty, know how to prevent cheating from happening, and address the issue after it happened. Established universities have already studied ways to mitigate online cheating. We can start with learning from best practices.
Learn from Xepto Academy
All these skills are new, but the information you need to learn them are available in Xepto Academy, a resource platform for educators, parents, and students. Subject matter experts in education, audio, video, and writing created online courses that will help the educator in the old, new, and future normal. Sign up for an account FOR FREE at academy.xeptoeducation.com.