Starting the School Year Right On-Point: Preparing for Virtual and In-Person Instruction
The Fordham University - PDRC started the school year 2020-2021, hosting two webinars to help teachers enhance their repertoire of teaching strategies to engage students either virtually or in-person. These two webinars focused on language arts - Top-notch Virtual Literacy and Language Lessons and mathematics - Delivering Math Lessons That Integrate User-Friendly Technology.
Both sessions' approach demonstrated the use of different tools to engage students during virtual learning or in-person lessons effectively. The webinars' design allowed all teachers, regardless of the subject they teach, to learn how to use online platforms to enhance their lessons. Presenters shared some best practices on how to use the most common functionalities of virtual learning platforms for the benefit of creating engaging interactions that will enhance student's learning, motivation, and retention.
In the mathematics webinar, teachers discovered how to use a LightBoard, the presenter, Dr. Joseph Ferrantelli, demo a math lesson using a LightBoard, which was an eye-opener for many of the attendees who experienced for the first time the use of that type of tool for virtual lessons.
Throughout the language arts webinar with Wei Gou, participants showed high motivation to learn how to broaden their scope of effectively using virtual learning tools to include in their teaching craft. During the webinar, participants engaged in ice-breaking activities using Padlet, Mentimeter, and Flipgrid.
These interactive webinars provided opportunities for teachers to interact with the presenters and among themselves. Several teachers had a chance to share their experiences using online virtual learning platforms and share, discuss, and receive actionable tips, strategies, and resource suggestions to ensure that teaching virtually is an engaging experience for all students.
Participants also experienced the use of formative assessments by using Kahoot! Where the presented posed math questions, and participants responded using their mobile devices. These interactions were not only rigorous but engaged teachers in a fun activity.
Furthermore, participants learned PowerPoint features such as the Spotlight Effect that allowed teachers to prepare lessons to ensure students focus their attention on specific aspects of the task hence learn and retain information by using the feature.
Another common purpose in the PDRC webinars design is to promote professional growth and collegiality among participants and their school communities. By disseminating and sharing the strategies learned with colleagues, a broader range of students will benefit from higher-quality instruction, hence helping them meet their academic goals.
All platforms presented in these webinars have their basic version available free of cost for anyone who wants to enhance their lessons. Fordham University is not advertising or requiring anyone to use them.
The PDRC team understands the challenges that the school communities are facing during these difficult times. To provide teachers with the opportunity to watch these webinars, we invite you to visit the PDRC webpage and look for the on-demand webinars. You will find there the September webinars and other we offered since April 2020. By visiting our webpage, you will be able to review our upcoming webinars where you can register. PDRC Webpage