Online Class Time
ONLINE CLASS TIME: On the heels of our first portrait from the DILO series diving deeper into everyday routine of "techie" teachers, TIME magazine presents a thought-provoking read on Mrs. Jane Good, a full-time online K-12 teacher. Mrs. Good isn't green behind the ears-- she has spent over a decade in physical classrooms, including a stint teaching science to at-risk students -- but she admits she cried a lot in the early days from a lack of training. While she feels much more comfortable now after three years at JeffCo Virtual Academy and some time at K12-powered Colorado Virtual Academy, she understands that some physical classroom methods just aren't possible in a virtual space. Two of the simplest ways to gauge student interest and understanding, listening to the inflections in their voice and watching their body language, never reach her ears or eyes.
There is some upside to the stunted interaction, however: most students choose to type questions and thoughts in place of using a microphone, letting "questions and comments pile up faster than Good can field them." That's the type of feedback most teachers can only have nightma... eh dreams about! Supporting evidence for quality online teaching is scarce, but there does seem to be some benefit for students; especially those with special health needs or who need supplemental or remedial instruction. If you've had any experience teaching online classes, drop us a note, and we'll share!