TIPS 'N' TRICKS
As the world is still plagued by the virus, educators and students will have to adapt to a new norm. This year, protecting student’s health and incorporating technology will be an emphasis in all guidelines for going back to school.
The 2021 year will be unlike any school year before. Many school events will be cancelled, and the traditional classroom setting is gone. Here is a compilation of some tips for students preparing for the academic year 2021:
Prepare for a smooth transition from traditional to digital
Having digital lessons will be a huge focal point in 2021. Some schools are using Google for everything, such as Google Classroom for their lesson plans. Some teachers may have students use Canva to turn physical art into digital art. Social and collaboration will be done primarily through digital means like instant messaging, emails, shared documents, project management apps, and more.
Prepare for staggered start times
Staggered schedules, social distancing, and other precautions will be the norm his year as well. Ideally you may want to consider staggering your schedule to prevent physical congregation. This can be staggering recess time, lunch hours, and breaks so that students leave in small clusters rather than big groups. Schools and collegeas have already a half-day model or alternate days which is quite confusing for the students. But students will have to get used to it.
Mask and hand sanitizer are your friends
With any in-door public setting, people are advised to wear face coverings that cover both their mouth and nose. This helps to protect people around you in the event that you are infected but do not have any symptoms. Additionally, the alcohol-based hand sanitizers help to limit the spread of COVID-19. Ideally you want to purchase a hand sanitizer that is at minimum 60% alcohol.
Studies have found that the virus can live on surfaces. Make sure to sanitize your classroom, and advise students to wipe down their devices like their laptop after each use.
Bring your multi-port USB chargers and laptop chargers
Most educational institutions will opt for blended learning days where class will be converted from an in-person setting to online. Prepare yourself to bring all chargers necessary like USB and computer chargers to keep laptop and tablets fully charged.
Use noise-cancelling headphones or focus tracks
Get some good quality noise-cancelling headphones to drown out background noises from your home. This is especially important when attending webinars as it can also prevent others hearing noises in your background like chatty siblings, air conditioner, street noise, etc. There are always ways to improve mental focus, such as playing white-noise tracks or classic music playlists on Spotify. Learning at home is a new norm for most students. Have a quiet area, or a work station away from the TV and distractions, for learning.
Address learning loss
Because the 2020 school year did not go as planned, you will see gaps in knowledge. It’s crucial to seek additional help from teachers to address the learning loss and create an instructional plan for moving to the grade-level requirement.
There may be a wider variation of the academic knowledge gap than previous years. Educators should work closely with students’ previous teachers and use administering assessments to evaluate their academic understanding on a subject. There may be individualized academic support needed, such as extended school days, tutoring, technology, and support personnel.
Students must sign up for tutoring programmes, do some additional reading and get into group studies online to cover up the learning loss.
Utilize learning management tools
Learning management systems, such as Google Classroom, help to organize all course material into one centralized location. No need to spend money on physical textbooks or physical paper copies. LMS tools have tracking and reporting features to gauge the progress of students in terms of who finished the course and their level of understanding based on tests. Videos, texts, and audio can be easily shared through these platforms.
Preparing for 2021 to meet our educational goals is crucial this time. Educators must provide students with all the tools, habits, and mindset to get ready for their upcoming academic year. Now that we know what to expect, we can utilize technology to our advantage and give them the support needed to succeed.
Compiled by SG