Flipgrid’s leading educators share ideas for more empathetic remote learning
Time limits, PD and inclusiveness can bridge gaps for those with learning differences
In January, the Accessibility and Inclusive Design Flipgrid Advisory Board met with Liz Maddy and Jessica Ostrow for an honest and intimate conversation on meeting all student needs during remote learning.
As many students around the world are relying more heavily on remote learning technology, new accessibility challenges are emerging, requiring the attention of both teachers and parents alike.
For many on the board who are both parents and educators, bridging the gaps for these students starts with empathy from educators and the willingness to listen and learn from one another’s experiences. As one educator put it, “we must continue to intentionally include so as not to unintentionally exclude students with disabilities.”
Recommendations for Teachers
The discussion brought about evident video call fatigue in both students and educators alike. How can you improve your own virtual teaching experience?
- Amend your schedule. Allow more time for IT management, check-ins with families, and brain breaks for yourself. The schedule as it looked in-person cannot be fully manifested in remote learning.
- Reduce amount of synchronous learning. If possible, strive not to be “on” with your students and talking with them the entire time. If you do have to be synchronous, allow for times of silence the way there would be in the classroom, or play music in your background to muffle the quiet.
- Schedule rest away from screen. One educator on the board sets reminders every 20 minutes to “look 20 meters away for 20 seconds” before returning her eyes to the screen.
- PD events for educators. Find ways to gather groups of educators to address challenges and problem-solve together.
Tips to Support your Students
How can you be there for your students? Recommendations include:
- Emphasis on inclusivity. Adapt plans to ensure participation from all students, and be mindful whether all students have the right tools and or guardian support in the home to do so.
- Mindfulness of too many emails / text-heavy assignments / notifications. Consider a video summary at the end of the week instead of multiple emails, and be mindful of students who are working on their executive functioning skills. Too many pings first-thing Monday morning overwhelm the student without the teacher being there throughout the day to mitigate the stress.
- "Chunking". One educator focuses on the “nutritional elements of a lesson,” which include taking brain breaks during an hour-long lesson or prompting physical activities as an excuse for the learner to move around and step away from the screen.
- Build relationships. In terms of accessibility, teaching is not “one-size-fits-all.” Take time to have one-on-one conversations with students and families so trust can be built, and ask specifically about pain points.