Remote Learning involves various modes of communication between the teacher and the students. Synchronous refers to live or occurring at the same time. Asynchronous learning does not occur live or at the same time. There are times to communicate with students synchronously and times when it is more effective to communicate or deliver instruction asynchronously.
Teachers across the world are meeting online with video conference tools like Google Meet. These meetings are not intended to be used to deliver instruction to students. The deliver of the instruction occurs asynchronously for a variety of reasons. Live/synchronous meetings with students are intended to be utilized to check in with students, facilitate discussions, answer questions students may have about the instruction that was delivered asynchronously, and provide students with feedback.
Best Practices for Live Meetings
The Wake County Public School System has created a collection of best practices for video meetings. I would recommend you read through their resource. I would like to highlight and elaborate on a few best practices they recommend teachers implement.
- Preparing Resources – Anticipating that students will have questions, need clarification, or request additional resources and support, I would recommend that you create a hyper doc a head of time that houses the resources you may refer to. If you add your hyper doc to the chat, students may not capture them during your meeting. Instead you can house you hyper doc in your LMS along with the invitation and link to the meeting. Students can then easily access your resources.
- Establish Meeting Guidelines – You use protocols and guidelines in your classroom to maintain order and this approach will also be beneficial in an online environment. For example, have everyone mute their microphone and raise their hand, using the Nod extension, if they would like to speak. Students can also add to the chat when they have a question or comment.
- Visual Content – Use visuals like slide shows, graphic organizers, images, and digital whiteboards. These will help engage the students and keep the meeting on topic. If you have audio issues with videos, check out these solutions.
- Equitable Awareness – Not all students can attend a live meeting for a variety or reasons. They may not have a device, they may not have internet access, they may not have data to spare, they may have to share a device, they may have family obligations, or there can be other circumstances that prevent them from being able to attend. These are also reasons why you want to deliver instruction asynchronously.