The global pandemic has forced all of us into the digital space where teaching and learning are currently taking place for many. But how is this sudden change being handled by school leaders who are saddled with the responsibility of leading schools in an era where many are ill-prepared for. Leading physical schools is challenging enough and leading a digital school, without adequate preparation can be understandably confusing.
In these times of crisis, schools need brave people to take on the leadership roles this new context presents. Over the next couple of days, I’d like to share key steps an administrator can take in creating and leading a dynamic digital learning environment for your school.
This is a natural first step and every school leader should start here. Since a foundation is being laid, a thorough job consisting of a complete review of your school’s online learning tools and the content for your proposed online learning program is the starting point.
Your learning tools refers to the learning platforms available to you. It is vital to choose a platform that allows you to bring all your resources together, making for easy accessibility, thus eliminating the problem and frustration of remembering multiple login passwords for a variety of platforms. Finding material to teach should be as easy as searching on Google if you use the right platform. However, we all know the ideal is not always possible. A more important consideration, therefore, is to review your content, start with what you have and scale up as quickly as you can. With a little creativity and proper planning, WhatsApp can serve as your launch platform.
When reviewing learning content, you should consider the resources you have immediate access to-
- Think about the content that is already prepared and is readily and commercially available. There is a plethora of them in the market.
- Think about content creation. The right resources embedded in the right platform should make it easy for your staff to create content. Look for tools like digital whiteboards and screen sharing technology. Again, this is ideal. At the start of the digital journey, videos produced with any of the video apps can be uploaded to your learning platform.
- Thinking about activity creation is a final consideration when preparing for distance learning. A range of resources that enable teachers to create activities (worksheets, quizzes, interactive videos) is important.
Once you have completed the review of your learning content and resources, then you must consider how to share the learning resources and the category of people ( students, teachers, parents ) that you will be sharing them with.