In most places across the US, virtual learning is the new normal in public schools and higher education. Shifting entire curriculums to remote classrooms has been quite the challenge for teachers and students alike. Everyone has a different learning style, and some students may find it more difficult than others. Luckily, countless online learning tools can make this transition easier for everyone.
1. Remote Communication
Communication can be messy, especially when it comes to group projects. Digging through emails and texts to find ideas or attachments is a huge waste of time, not to mention frustrating. Peer-to-peer messaging apps like Slack take collaboration to a whole new level by creating channels of communication and integrating other programs.
You can share Google docs, Trello task lists, connect your calendar, and much more. Using Slack is also an easy way for teachers to send announcements and communicate with their students, as well as host Zoom classes. Group projects are a breeze, with every attachment and message being searchable so you can easily find what you’re looking for.
2. Writing and Grammar
Researching, outlining, and avoiding grammatical mistakes are challenging tasks — but help is available. Online tools like The Word Counter check your spelling and grammar in real-time while counting your words, sentences, and paragraphs. Aside from that, you can also find excellent information on their blog, where they break down confusing grammar rules.
You’ll also find answers about common phrases and word choices, like when to use concave vs convex. Their thorough explanation describes how these opposite terms pertain to the shapes of mirrors, lenses, graphs, or slopes. Concave means the shape’s hollow and slopes at a downward angle, while convex means it’s raised like a dome and has an upward curve. Both words can be used as a noun or an adjective. The article goes into much more detail and is essentially a grammar and geometry lesson in one!
3. Organization and Productivity
Organized and self-motivated students tend to do better in virtual learning environments. Using productivity apps like Evernote and Google Drive helps to keep all of your notes and files in one place. Evernote is one of the most popular note-taking apps because it has a wide range of features and is compatible with all devices and operating systems. You can even use Evernote on your smartwatch to quickly add items to your to-do lists or create voice notes and reminders — which is helpful for everyday life as well as school.
4. Math Practice and Tutoring
From fractions to calculus, teachers and students can find excellent online math resources for just about any topic. For younger students, math games like Moose Math and Prodigy are a great way to get arithmetic practice. Desmos is a popular math help tool among educators. The website, also available on the app store, features interactive exercises and a free graphing calculator. Math applets are also widely available and allow students to visualize and manipulate graph data.
Online math tutoring is another fantastic resource for students who need more focused math help — whether it’s elementary math or high school trigonometry. Math tutors at Thinkster have years of experience creating customized lesson plans and feedback for all ages and math concepts. Tutors cover everything from the basics to differential equations. By giving personalized feedback, tutors help their students understand difficult concepts and the nature of any errors. Thinkster’s one-on-one whiteboard sessions are incredibly valuable and give students the opportunity to get help with their math homework and prep for tests.
5. Presentations and Projects
Even though you may not be physically standing in front of the class, odds are you’ll probably have to give a presentation or two this school year. PowerPoints are rapidly being replaced with more interactive, integrative tools like Prezi and Adobe Spark. Better for visual effects and collaboration, these tools allow you to create more dynamic and interesting presentations than a standard slideshow. Create infographics, animations, and 3D visuals to convey your information in a more interesting way.
While it certainly poses its own challenges, virtual learning is seemingly the best option for education at the moment. It may be difficult to adapt initially, but teachers and students can make this school year a little easier by utilizing online tools and resources.