Online lessons

Many of you will be attending lessons delivered through video conferencing tools such as Zoom or Google Meet. In education speak, this is synchronous learning. In order to get the most out of this vital time with your classmates and teacher, you need to create and stick to a routine; stay focused in lessons, and make sure you participate!

Punctuality 🕗

Above all else, be punctual for lessons. Joining a lesson late, even by just a few minutes, means you are always playing catch up, and you don't have the luxury of a classmate next to you to bring you up to speed. In the morning, before school begins, make sure you have everything set up on your internet browser so you are ready to go, and then follow these three tips:

Join the video call in advance. Even if your school's security settings prevent you from joining a video call before the teacher, you should find that you are kept 'on hold' until the teacher joins. What this means in practice is that you join the next lesson as soon as it starts.

Even if you need to go to the toilet or get a drink between lessons, join the call first!

Think about the process of joining calls and take positive steps to prevent 'hiccups'. For example, if you need to register for a call before you can join it, do that first thing in the morning and not just before the lesson is due to start. Or, if your laptop takes a little while to turn on, press the 'on' button well in advance.

Staying focused

Source: Pablò. Unsplash, 2019.

It is pretty obvious that you need to focus during lessons. This is harder when you are at home, so follow these do's and don'ts...

DO
DON'T
DO
DON'T
DO

Find an appropriate place to sit. It should be a desk or table with a proper chair to sit on, and it should be quiet. Take advantage of the remote learning if you can - attending lessons while outside in the fresh air is... well, refreshing! ☀️🌷

DON'T

Have any music on, even if you're muted at your end. Make sure you can hear everything going on in the lesson.

DO

Ask your family for help staying focused. Your parents might really want to use the vacuum cleaner today... but ask them to wait until later (or even better, volunteer to do it for them)!

DON'T

Eating during lessons isn't allowed in normal school, because it distracts you (and others!). Keep to the same rule when learning remotely 🍌

Participating

It is one of the things that frustrates teachers the most - they work hard to create an online lesson, and then find some students don't participate. Video screens turned off (sometimes this is school policy, other times necessary at your end, but do reflect on this) and radio silence when a question is asked; or work handed in that is not of a high standard; or 'technical issues' that led to students not attending or leaving a lesson. 🤯

But seriously, participating means you get so much more out of remote learning. You WILL learn more (research backs it up, for example this) and you will also get more satisfaction out of lessons. Trust me, when you go to university and start sitting through lectures, you'll long for the days when you were asked to take part in lessons! So participate - volunteer answers to questions, ask questions of your own, and complete the work to the very best of your ability.

You can use shortcuts to quickly unmute your microphone and participate. For instance, ⌘/CTRL+SHIFT+A for Zoom, or ⌘/CTRL+D for Meet.