The instructional process has been a major adjustment for many educators this 2020 year. From designing virtual lessons to managing a hybrid classroom, the shift to virtual and hybrid learning has had a major impact on many teachers and their instructional practices. There are so many educators who are challenged with adapting to a digital modality that may lack foundational skills for designing lessons for synchronous and asynchronous, online instruction. Therefore, additional support may be needed in developing digital skills to support their transition to a digital world and enhance their technological pedagogy. Here are 6 digital skills teachers should develop to support virtual and hybrid instruction:

Digital Skill # 1: Video Capturing

Teacher-student interactions have been an important component of face-to-face instruction to support creating an effective learning environment through classroom culture, classroom systems and management, and the ease of supporting social emotional learning during the instructional process. Although virtual instruction may have reduced the flexibility of teacher and student interactions to support student learning, teachers can leverage video capture to continue to support those same strategies and practices to support virtual learning.

Video Recording

Record chunked videos to support setting the context and expectations throughout asynchronous lessons. This will allow you to continue to be present throughout the student’s learning process. Your presence and voice can continue to set the tone to support student success similar to how you would support them in a face-to-face classroom environment.

Tech Tools: webcam, tablet or mobile phone camera

Digital Skill Tips for Video Recording: 

  1. Upload videos to YouTube or Vimeo. This will allow you to share your videos with students via a link or embed code which can be easily used with your school’s learning management system (LMS) such as Schoology, itsLearning, or Google Classroom. Save the video as “Unlisted”  instead of “Public” to add a layer of privacy from public access.
  2. Use applications like Microsoft Powerpoint, Google Forms, Nearpod, or Peardeck to sequence chunked videos within lesson content and checks for understandings (CFU’s) of an asynchronous lesson. 

Screencasting

Use a screencasting application to model or explain a concept. Screencasting allows you to record your screen and capture the process into a video with the option of you being on or off camera. You could record yourself presenting Powerpoint or Google Slide presentation or even record yourself modeling a problem with a digital whiteboard like Jamboard, Microsoft Paint, or Microsoft Whiteboard

Tech Tools: Screencastify, Loom, or Screencast-o-Matic

Digital Skill Tips for Screencasting:

  1. Add the Chrome extension for the screencasting app. This will allow you to easily access the application from your browser and start recording in seconds.
  2. Try to keep screencasting videos short, targeted, and concise within 5 minutes. If necessary, create a targeted sequence of videos that are chunked based on the learning objective.
  3. Some applications will allow you to share a link directly from their platform.  However, you can still leverage YouTube and Vimeo to host your screencasting videos. Either way, you are still able to easily share videos with students via a link or embed code with an LMS such as Schoology, itsLearning, or Google Classroom. Save the video as “Unlisted” instead of “Public” to add a layer of privacy from public access.
  4. Use applications like Microsoft Powerpoint, Google Forms, Nearpod, or Peardeck to sequence chunked screencasting videos within lesson content and CFU’s of an asynchronous lesson. 
  5. EdPuzzle is another great application that will allow you to insert CFU’s at specific times in a video. This will allow them to apply their knowledge or answer questions before continuing the rest of the video. 

Digital Skill # 2: Screen Capture

When working virtually or in a concurrent, hybrid mode, there are many moments when capturing evidence on a screen can showcase an issue, error, or even evidence of work or completed task. Screen capture tools allow you to capture an image of your screen in which you can save as an image or quickly copy and paste when needed. 

Snip & Sketch (Snipping Tool): This free tool may already be installed on your windows device. It can be used to capture a selected area of your screen and has an option to markup a screenshot with drawing tools.

Nimbus: This free tool can be added as a Chrome extension on your browser. It allows you to screenshot selected areas or capture pages. 

You can also use screen capture tools that will take a screenshot of any part of the web and capture content such as articles, images, or videos and save them directly to an application for notes or later use.  Check out these Google Chrome extensions that will help you curate and annotate your web content into an organized space.

OneNote Web Clipper: Whether you are using OneNote for you personal notes or OneNote Class Notebooks for your students, this chrome extension is great for capturing web content and quickly adding to your OneNote Notebook.

Google Keep: With the Google Keep extension, you can easily capture website links, text, and images.

Weava: It is a great tool for online research in which you can highlight websites and PDFs, make annotations, and organize them into folders and sub-folders

Digital Skill # 3: Hyperlinking

Hyperlinking is a great way to connect resources to a document or presentation. This digital skill allows you to highlight selected text and link it to a specific URL address. Many applications have a toolbar option for inserting links such as the Office 365 and Google Drive productivity suites. The icon typically looks like a chain and can be found in programs like Microsoft Word, Google Docs, your LMS, or websites.

Digital Skill # 4: Embedding with Embed Codes

Embedding third-party applications into your LMS or website is a great way to enhance student interactivity, organizing resources into one location, and it also improves the look and feel of your instruction.  Instead of sending your students to different locations to access resources and complete tasks in other programs,  embedding those applications into your LMS streamlines your lessons and provides structure for your students and even your parents who may be supporting them at home. The great thing is that you do not need to be a master computer scientist to use embed codes.  Most often, it is just as simple as Copying or Pasting. There are many applications like YouTube, FlipGrid, Quizlet and other educational platforms that offer embedding through their Share feature. 

You’ll find that most LMS platforms offer the ability to embed. The universal symbol typically looks like a greater than and less than sign together (</>).  And if you are using a website to support your class or campus,  you can also embed applications there as well.  Here are some ideas for embedding third-party applications to support instruction.

Embed Google Slide Presentations: This is a great option for students to navigate content.  Since you are able to add audio and video to your Google Slides, it can enhance your instruction for your students who are virtual or may be working asynchronously.  By embedding it into your assignments or other instructional components in your LMS, an extra layer of support is added to support better student outcomes. To access the embed code you will need to publish your slides, copy the embed code, and paste into your LMS or website.

Embed Video via YouTube Video or Vimeo: Teachers often use YouTube and Vimeo videos for instruction. Student’s typically access these videos through a link which directs them to the YouTube or Vimeo platform.  By embedding YouTube or Vimeo videos, students are able to remain in the LMS platform with the lesson and instruction  you have designed for them to complete.

Embed for Student Interactivity: Applications like FlipGrid, EdPuzzle, Quizlet, and Padlet offer embed codes through their Share feature.  Embedding applications like these allows you to easily increase student engagement within a lesson you are designing. Instead of students having to link out to these sites, you can structure and organize content and activities in one location for you students.

Digital Skill # 5: Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts are great ways to support efficiency as educators and can even help support your students in being more efficient as well. Quick access while working online is an advantage that can support the various tasks you may be working on.  Not all devices have the same keyboard shortcuts but may be similar.  Although there are many keyboard shortcuts, here are some must have keyboard shortcuts that every educator should have in their digital toolbox:

Digital Skill # 6: Google Apps Tips and Tricks

Share Google Doc Links:  

Using the Share button, you can easily share your documents with specific people, your organization (Google Edu accounts), or with anyone that has access to the link. This is great for quick access, collaboration, or feedback.

Adjust Sharing Permissions:  

When sharing Google Docs, you can decide whether you want someone to have access to edit the document, only view the documents, or allow for comments by setting the permission role to editor, viewer, or commenter.

Force Copy of Google Applications (Docs, Slides, or Drawings):

This is a quick trick that will allow you to easily force a copy of a Google Doc to your students google drive for them to have their own copy of the file.  Just change the end of the URL text to “copy”.

Share Google Slide Link in Presentation Mode: 

This trick allows  you to share a presentation link in full screen mode without seeing the slide deck.  When your students click on the link, the Google Slide presentation will open in presentation mode which gives a more crisp look and feel.  Students will be able to navigate the presentation using the navigation bar.  So this is great for students who may be working asynchronously to navigate presentations that may include your audio and embedded video. Just change the end of the URL text to “present”.

Publish Google Slide Presentation for Embedding:  

As discussed above, embedding your Google Slide presentation is a great way to insert your presentation into the platform or your LMS or website without having to share a link.

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