Distance learning has caught us off-guard, and even if our schools are 1:1, we’ve found ourselves unprepared for this. It has us scrambling. In my last two posts, I offered advice to simplify and then to organize distance learning.
This week, I want to discuss why we don’t need to scramble for resources. We use our existing resources for distance learning by making some simple adjustments. Be sure to check out the video at the bottom of this post along with this accompanying CHEAT SHEET for additional help.
If you have a few basic tools, you already have the resources you need to provide students with quality distance learning opportunities. So we can end the resource scramble.
The second part of the equation is more complicated. Not every student has the basic tools they need for an ideal digital/distance learning experience. We have students with no WiFi, students who need one on one support, and students who are the primary care-givers for younger siblings and cousins while their parents work. But we can work around some of these obstacles. So here are…
3 Ways to Use Existing Resources for Distance Learning
1. Print to PDF to Grab the Pages You Need
Many of you have giant resources in PDF format complete with answer keys. These are not ideal to assign digitally. If you’ve ever tried to separate the pages into smaller documents, you may have found that the document is password protected. That’s an immediate roadblock.
But it doesn’t have to be with the Print to PDF option. You can easily adapt the resource for distance learning with this method. Here’s how it works:
1. Open Your PDF.
2. Figure out which page you need, and then click “File.”
3. Select “Print.”
4. Select “Microsoft PDF.”
5. Select “Print.”
***Be sure to name your PDF and save it to a location where you can easily find it.***
2. Turn a Paper Worksheet into a Digital Assignment
1. Either take a picture or a screenshot of your worksheet.
2. Resize your Google slide by going to “File,” selecting “Page Set-up,” “Custom,” and 8.5 x 11 or whatever size your slide needs to be.
3. Go to the toolbar and select “Background.” Select “Choose Image,” upload your image to the background, and then click “Done.”
4. Go to “Insert” in the toolbar to add text boxes for the students to type in, or to add shapes to obscure flat hyperlinks.
5. Make the shapes clickable by clicking on the outside of the shape, selecting the hyperlink icon in the toolbar, and then pasting the hyperlink address in the pop-up box.
3. Use Screencastify to Record Your Lesson and Directions
1. Head to the Chrome Web Store and search “Screencastify.” Select “Add to Chrome” and follow the prompts.
2. Click on the Screencastify extension in your browser. Turn on your microphone and/or your camera (if you want to show your face). You can also click on the menu to access your recordings and your account. Hit “Stop Sharing” when you are finished recording.
3. Rename your video and share it with the Screencastify Link, by email, on social media, in Google Classroom, or download it to your computer as an MP4 or a Gif.
And Remember to be Creative with How Students Submit Work
- They don’t understand how to use Dochub or Kami (add-ons for annotating PDFs in Google) to type on the PDFs you assign. Let them create a doc and type their answers onto that. OR let them write their responses (on blank paper if they don’t have access to a printer), take a picture, and submit the image. We understand the technology at my house, but my son has taken this option frequently simply because he learns best by actually writing things down on paper.
- They don’t have WiFi, but they can access assignments periodically via email (using their data or a parent’s work account). Allow them to take pictures of their work and submit to you via Remind texts (it’s secure and free) or email. If it’s an assignment they can answer orally, schedule a call if you are able.
- They don’t have access to any technology. Speak with an administrator to determine your school’s pick-up, drop-off policies. If you can do this, print assignments and leave them for the student to pick-up. Have them return assignments in the same way. If this is not possible, speak with an administrator to devise a plan for this/these students. Don’t go it alone.
How are you using and adapting your existing resources for distance learning? Reach out and let me know. And let me know what else you need support with during this time.