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January 11, 2021
Tips & Tricks / Tips For E-Learning

Expert Tips to Help Ease Virtual and Hybrid Learning

frankenberger associates

We asked local professionals at Frankenberger Associates Learning Solutions Center for advice for parents and caregivers to moderate at-home and hybrid learning. Here’s what they had to say:

In the world of COVID, few aspects of life have been as deeply impacted as our children’s educations and their ability to learn. The transition to virtual and hybrid learning has upended so many of the daily routines that we took for granted with in-person schooling. The traditional school day necessitated and provided routines and structure that helped keep students glued, socially, emotionally, and academically.

In the virtual, at home world of learning, so many parents have been thrust into the position of being responsible for helping their children develop healthy routines and habits that support their continued progress, without the inherent structure of the school day and in-person learning. Many parents have done an exceptional job, while others have struggled, through no fault of their own. As learning experts, we would like to provide some of our insights into planning for success.

Structure and Routine

First and foremost, students need structure that is provided by creating habits and routines. A designated study time, as well as time to have fun and relax, can be built into your child’s daily routine. Students also benefit from dedicated workspaces where there are minimal distractions, and the requisite tools are available. Ultimately, it is about creating consistent habits and routines.

Good Sleep Habits

Healthy daily routines start with good sleep habits. Children who do not get a full night’s sleep have a harder time paying attention, compromising their memory, and making them more prone to anxiety. To ensure a good night’s sleep, children need consistent bedtimes and wake up times, and they will benefit from regular pre-bedtime routines. Because children’s brains are activated by light, especially the blue light from computer screens, phones, and the TV, they will benefit from ending screen time at least an hour or two before bedtime. 

Exercise

Exercise is also critical, which is why it is built into the school curriculum. Students who get regular exercise have better attention and memory, along with lower levels of anxiety. Consider building exercise into your child’s daily routine, ideally doing activities that they love. Finally, let’s not forget about food. There is nothing more important than what children put into their bodies. There is a reason why many “junk” foods have been eliminated at school!

Listening In

Listen to them read. Having your child at home gives you an opportunity to observe them as they work virtually and to gain insight about how they learn. Are they fluent and automatic readers? How fluent are they with basic math facts and multiplication tables? Can they recite them automatically?

How quickly does your child think? How much time do they need to process language and respond? Are they understanding the material on the first pass? Many bright students who, when given adequate time, will get the right answer. Yet, when put on the spot to respond or when stressed to quickly process too much information, they may become overloaded which can create anxiety.

Screen Capturing

Using screen-capturing tools to record lessons and assignments allows students to relisten for clarity and understanding. The Livescribe Pen is especially helpful for students who have difficulty writing quickly and taking accurate notes, as it contains an audio recorder and allows students to take cursory notes. Then, they are able to go back, and touch on the note, and listen to the material that has been presented from that point on.

Memory Focus

Memory is one of the key predicators of success in school and in life. Is your child able to follow multi-step directions? Doing so relies upon working memory, which is the ability to hold and manipulate information in mind. Working memory is a critical component in reading, especially reading comprehension, the ability to do conceptual math, and the fundamental ability to think, plan and organize. One way to gain insight into your child’s working memory, is to give them a multi-step direction with three, four or five tasks that they need to do sequentially and see how they perform. Try having them read a short story, paragraph, or passage, and have them repeat as much of the story as possible. You might even give them a series of random numbers and ask them to repeat them back to you in reverse order. Each of these tasks will provide you with valuable information about your child’s memory and/or language comprehension abilities.

Language Processing

Consider your student’s ability to process spoken language. Students with language processing difficulties struggle in classes where dense amounts of spoken information are given, especially without visual supports. It may be that they have the ability to comprehend concepts and ideas and still struggle with the base-line ability to process language. These are the students who really struggle in an on-line class without visual cues and repetition of instruction. Listen along with them as a class or homework assignment is presented, and then have a conversation about the content. Do they understand what was presented and can they explain the assignment?

Writing Observation

Observe your student’s writing. Writing relies upon significant executive function skills. It demands attention and, again, one of the first questions is, does your child understand the assignment? Can they initiate the process? If it is a complex assignment, do they have the ability to break it down into individual parts. Is your child able to hold their thoughts in mind long enough to then sequence the words into logical order and write the assignment. Take a look at what your child has written. Have they answered the question that was posed? Is their writing organized and sequential? How is their spelling and punctuation? Is the vocabulary used commensurate with their word knowledge and grade level?

With virtual learning, we have to inspect what we expect. While parenting in the current circumstances is a significant challenge, it affords wonderful opportunities to engage with and learn about your child’s learning profile. Sometimes just observing your child to see what they can and cannot do is a first step to understanding their needs and how to help them become better learners.

Frankenberger Associates is a Learning Solutions Center that specializes in the evaluation of students, along with providing interventions that support the academic, cognitive, executive, and social emotional needs of children, adolescents, and young adults. We provide families with the knowledge and resources they need in order to maximize their child’s learning potential.

www.frankenbergerassociates.com

Join Frankenberger Associates every Wednesday @ 7:00 on Facebook Live for “All Things Education.” 


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