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A few days ago, we found out that all of the schools here in Oregon will be off until the start of April. Many of the universities have asked professors to switch their courses from face-to-face to online. This is a move that school districts across the U.S. and throughout the world are making. Needless to say, these are unprecedented times.

As a K-12 teacher, I had extensive experience with blended and hybrid teaching. As a professor, I’ve helped professors pilot new online courses and transform their face-to-face courses to online courses. And yet, I was reticent about writing this article and creating the eBook and toolkit that accompany it.


Because I still have times when I mess up with online learning. I still have lessons that tank. I still have times when I haven’t developed as tight of an online community as I would have hoped. I am constantly learning and evolving as I move through new iterations in distance learning. And yet, I also see value in sharing what I’ve learned along the way. With that in mind, I thought I would offer my perspective and share my free resources.

The bad news? You can’t convert your course.

As an education professor, I had the opportunity to work as a Digital Fluency Mentor helping professors develop online, hybrid, and virtual courses. One of the most common questions people asked me was, “How do I convert my face-to-face course into an online course?”

The truth is, you can’t convert it. Learning isn’t like a file that converts between a .doc and a PDF and a Google Doc. We can’t simply substitute new tools and do the same exact activity. In other words, that rich, spontaneous, Socratic Seminar simply won’t work in a discussion board or through a video conferencing system. That amazing collaborative design challenge doesn’t transfer easily when students move out of the makerspace and into their own homes.

See, the problem with the idea of converting instruction is that you only see the limitations. You take a great in-person activity and then you try to do your best to substitute it with digital tools. But this will always lead to a deficit.

The Mindset Shift: From Converting to Transforming

But what if we chose a different approach? What if we asked, “How do I transform my course?” rather than “How do I convert it?”
With transformation, you think about the creative and connective capacity of technology to design learning experiences that would have been inconceivable before.

This idea is at the heart of the SAMR Model. With the SAMR model, the first two layers focus on using technology to enhance the learning process while the next two layers focus on transforming the learning. The first level, Substitution, uses technology as a direct substitution for the learning task with no significant change. So, a student who types an essay on the computer merely swaps a pencil for a keyboard. With Augmentation, the technology acts as a substitution with some augmentation. So, that paper essay moves to a Google Doc, where students can not only type and edit but also comment on one another’s work. With Modification, technology enables significant task redesign. So, that essay is now a blog post. Students engage in online research, work collaboratively on a shared document, and publishing to an authentic audience. It is no longer an essay for a teacher. Instead, it is an article crafted for the world. With Redefinition, the technology allows for tasks that were previously inconceivable. So, that same essay is now a multimedia package, with a blog post, a podcast, and a short video. The research, too, includes video conferences with experts.

Note that Redefinition isn’t necessarily better. Sometimes you simply need to substitute or modify a task with technology. At the same time, we also want to avoid the trap of handing students digital worksheets and essentially shifting toward packet work.

Equity Matters

The following are ideas we need to consider ahead of time:

If you’re reading this right now, there’s a good chance your school is moving quickly from face-to-face to online instruction. With COVID-19, there are many classrooms doing a quick shift toward online instruction. You are likely a K12 educator but you might be a professor at a university where your school has suddenly shifted classes online without any warning.

It’s easy to step into digital spaces and forget that they are not socially neutral. The systems that perpetuate injustice off-line exist online as well. With that in mind, I’d like to remind educators to remember the following:

  1. Not everyone has the same access to technology. Not every student has the same device or the same internet connection. Not every student has the same access to a quiet workspace at home. Please work with key stakeholders to address the issue of equity of access.
  2. Power dynamics exist online. Pay close attention to the role of gender and race in your online instruction. There’s a tendency for people to assume a false social neutrality online but you need to address power dynamics. Please consider finding experts in culturally responsive pedagogy and ask them for a critique of your online materials so that you can find areas where you need to improve.
  3. Be sure to provide linguistic support. Please remember that some of your students might not be native English speakers and they deserve access to sentence stems, visuals, front-loaded vocabulary and other accommodations that you provide in-person.
  4. Embrace a Universal Access and Universal Design mindset. Re-read the IEPs and 504 plans to provide necessary accommodations. Lean in to the special education teachers and disability support staff to think through how you will make your instruction universally accessible. For example, you will need to check that closed captioning is available on all videos and that transcripts are available for podcasts. You might need to provide additional assistive support technology. Often, librarians and instructional designers will have key information for you in these areas.

Seven Big Ideas as You Shift Toward Distance Learning

The following are a few ideas to consider as you shift toward online / distance learning.

Big Idea #1: Students should be creating original content.

In education, we often use consumer language to describe instruction. How do you deliver the lesson? Did the students get it? And there is some truth to this. We need to engage in direct instruction. We often model a particular skill that students then copy. Other times, we help students attain knowledge by reading articles, watching videos, or listening to lectures.

This is especially common in online courses, where the predominant model is to consume content and then discuss the information afterward.

However, at some point, we want students to engage in meaningful projects. We want them to be problem-solvers and makers and designers. In other words, we want students to develop a maker mindset.

This is why, ultimately, they need to engage in creative work online. But what does this actually look like?

  • Blogging: Thematic blogs are blogs based on a student’s interests, passions, and ideas. It could be a foodie blog, a sports blog, a fashion blog, a science blog, or a history blog. They choose the topic and the audience. It’s a great way for students to practice writing in different genres (persuasive, functional, informational/expository, narrative) with specific blog topics they choose. They can also add multimedia components, like slideshows, pictures, videos, and audio.
  • Podcasting: With podcasts, students create audio recordings that they then share with an authentic audience. They can work individually, with partners, or in small groups. It can be more scripted or more open. If you want, you can have students edit the podcasts and add music by using Garage Band or Audacity. But you can also do a simple recording with smartphones.
  • Videos: Video creation is a little more complicated. They are often more time-consuming and sometimes require additional skills. However, if students are at home, they might just be willing to spend the additional time creating a video. A simple option for video creation is the annotated slideshow. Here, students create a slideshow and then record the audio as they move through it. They can do this on PowerPoint, Keynote, or Google Slides.

Not sure where to start? One idea is a Wonder Day:

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You can also get the Wonder Day project as well as the blogging and podcasting resources when you download the eBook and toolkit at the bottom of this article.

Big Idea #2: Be sure to leverage the power of online collaboration.

We live in a world where there are countless online tools for communication and collaboration. We can send instant messages, edit on a shared Google Document, hop onto a video conference, and easily send files back and forth. And yet, when it comes to distance learning, teachers often craft tasks that are entirely independent and individual. To make the most out of online learning, we need to leverage digital tools for collaboration.

Chats, including Gmail chat or Slack
Video chats, including any video conferencing software (Hangouts, Zoom, Skype)

Shared documents, such as Google Docs, Google Spreadsheets, and Google Slides
Project management software, such Trello
Voice chats, including Voice Thread

Synchronous/Asynchronous Hybrids:
Walkie Talkie apps, such as Voxer

Note that you need to know ahead of time which tools are COPPA and CIPA compliant. You need to check in with your district about your local policies. However, you should find a few key areas where you can have students work collaboratively even if they aren’t in the same physical space.

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For online collaboration, you might try a small mini-project, where students engage in shared research and then come together to make something new (think the previously mentioned Wonder Day). Other times, they might collaborate by working on independent projects and sharing their processes with others.

Big Idea #3: Empower your students to own their learning in an online environment.

We often talk about what it means to move from compliance to engagement. It’s the idea of creating an environment where students want to learn rather than have to learn.  But if we want students to be creative, self-directed learners we need to go beyond student engagement and into empowerment.  But this requires some paradigm shifts.

That’s right. We’re going to be talking shift.

Here’s what I mean: The empowered classroom is a shift from giving choices to inspiring possibilities It’s what happens when you move from making the subject interesting to tapping into student interests; when you go from saying “you must learn this” to asking “what do you want to learn?”   It’s a shift from taking assessments to assessing your own learning, it’s an iterative process full of mistakes that ultimately lead to success.   It’s a shift from the teacher asking all the questions to the students asking their own questions, where they chase the inquiry process and take learning off-road. It’s a shift from uncritical consuming to critical consuming and creating. Here, students move from critical consuming to inspiration to creativity, where they use the design process to launch their work to the world. It’s a shift from differentiating instruction to personalizing learning  And it’s a shift from rigid to adjustable systems so that students own the process. They can set their own pace, choose their own formats, and decide what resources they want to use to accomplish their goals.  It’s a shift in mindset from compliance to self-direction.  In other words, it’s a shift toward student ownership. When that happens, our students become the creative, critical thinkers who change the world.

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This is a challenge in a physical classroom, with each student learning at a different pace. But that’s actually the hidden advantage of online learning. The physical distance actually makes it a little less chaotic as we embrace student ownership.

The following are a few areas where you can incorporate student ownership:

  • Students owning the assessment process
  • Students choosing the topics
  • Students selecting the scaffolds
  • Students choosing how they present their learning

I go in-depth into the process in the free eBook you can access at the bottom of this article. I also include the suite of assessments that you can use in online learning. Note that because you aren’t available to do in-person formative assessment, it is even more important that students engage in self-assessment and peer assessment.

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Here’s a small sample of what it looks like to incorporate student choice in your online class:

Traditionally, choice menus allow students to choose how they will present what they are learning. It’s a great first step for students who aren’t used to having as much voice and choice in their learning. While choice menus are great, I thought I would share a variation on the choice menu that goes beyond choosing topics and toward student ownership of the learning targets and resources. Here’s what it looks like.

As a teacher, I would keep an ongoing online curation of resources for each unit that I taught. Any time I saw something fascinating or relevant, I would copy and paste the link into a document. Then, I would use that curated list of resources in the choice menus. When students chose podcasts, videos, etc., I would link the option to a one-page topic-neutral document with a list of best practices, tutorials with instructions, and rubrics for that particular option.

So, if students were learning about forces and motion in science, they might select a specific standard. Then they would watch a video or podcast and then click on the slideshow option where they could see reminders of best practices (remember to use visuals, use a solid contrast in colors, cite sources, etc.) and begin creating their product.

Notice that with this choice menu, students are deciding either the topics, concepts, or skills and then deciding on their own resources and strategies before ultimately deciding on their final product.

Big Idea #4: Provide opportunities for vintage and digital mashups.

When we think of online teaching, we tend to imagine a student sitting at a computer completing work. However, some of the best tools are low tech and lo-fi. Yes, we need students to use a laptop. But we also need students to use pencils and paper and cardboard. In other words, you need to take a vintage innovation approach.

Vintage innovation happens when we use old ideas and tools to transform the present. Think of it as a mash-up. It’s not a rejection of new tools or new ideas. Instead, it’s a reminder that sometimes the best way to move forward is to look backward. Like all innovation, vintage innovation is disruptive. But it’s disruptive by pulling us out of present tense and into something more timeless

Vintage Innovation is a both/and mindset. It’s the overlap of the “tried and true” and the “never tried.” It’s a mash-up of cutting edge tech and old school tools. It’s the overlap of timeless skills in new contexts. Vintage innovation is what happens when engineers use origami to design new spacecraft and robotics engineers are studying nature for innovative designs.

As you move toward online teaching, consider how you might embrace this mindset of a mash-up.

Big Idea #5: Be intentional with the design of your online classes.

User experience design theory (sometimes abbreviated as XD, UX, UXD or UED) focuses on the user experience of a platform. This might include accessibility, usability, enjoyment, and the overall flow of the experience. UX design focuses on both on how we use digital tools and on how we inhabit digital spaces. It focuses on systems in a way that is deeply human. What does it feel like for people? What does it look like for them? What are their processes?

The best systems are the ones that feel invisible. You step into it and immediately know where to go and what to do. Don’t get me wrong. Confusion can be a great thing in a classroom if it is leading toward deeper learning. But confusion caused by poorly designed courses leads to disengagement and frustration. It cuts learning short and disrupts creative flow.

There are a few key elements of UX Design that we can incorporate into our online instruction:

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One simple step is to do a UX Design audit. I’ve included a template in the toolkit and eBook that you can download at the bottom of this post. Use this form as a way to self-assess the design of your online course. Focus on using this diagnostic tool as a way to improve the overall design. It helps to picture your course through the lens of a student who is accessing it for the first time.

Big Idea #6: Take a “show and tell” approach.

We tend to assign homework that asks students to take schoolwork into their world. Often, students fail to turn in their work. But what if it’s shows and tell? Suddenly, kids can’t wait to bring in an item from their world and share it with the class.

Show and tell is essentially the opposite of homework. It’s a chance for students to bring their world into the school rather than school into their world. This approach honors student agency. When I taught eighth grade, I encouraged a “show and tell” approach to homework. Here, they could bring in experts, resources, videos, or audio from their own community as they worked on projects in class. It was always optional but many students choose to complete it, since it was a chance to bring their world into class.

As educators, we need to remember that home learning doesn’t have to require us to send schoolwork home. It’s about building a partnership between school and home and recognizing the ways that students might learn within their own environment.

We can take this same approach as we design distance learning experiences for our students. One small example is to ask students to share their interests and passions through a Geek Out Blog.

Big Idea #7: Be present and available as a teacher.

Distance learning doesn’t mean we have to be distant. As teachers, we can be intentional about creating a sense of presence with our students. Here are a few ideas that I’ve found helpful:

  • Video announcement: This starts with he first week, where you do an on boarding video of the course and explain how it will work. But after that, you can create a weekly or even daily short video with a preview of what students will do. Although pre-recorded, these short, unstructured videos create a sense of presence for you as a teacher.
  • Small group check-ins: Here, you can schedule small group meeting and use video conferencing to meet with groups and look at their progress.
  • Email check-ups: There are a few options here. First, you can send out a whole class email with expectations, deadlines, etc. But the second option is just a short email to each student asking how they’re doing. If you have 180 students in a class, rotate with 18 per day and make sure each student gets an individual email every other week. You can create an email template and personalize it.
  • Short text check-ins: With this option, you can ask students to use the chat function to send questions or comments as you go.
  • Surveys: Ask students to fill out a course survey each day where they share what their experiences have been in an online course.
  • Scheduled conferences: On the next page, you’ll see the 5 minute conference system. With a whole day of working from home, you can easily schedule these conferences with students and let them know you are there for them.

There are so many other ways to be present and I’m sure that you, as a teacher, have other ideas of strategies you can use to build relationships and be present with your students, even as you shift toward distance learning.

Ultimately, there is no one single way to do online teaching. It’s an experiment and it varies depending on your subject, your context, and your students. You’ll make tons of mistakes — and that’s okay. The beauty is in learning from those mistakes and iterating toward better and better instruction. Lean in to the experts in your own institution and be humble about what you don’t know. Ask students for their input along the way. And over time, you’ll develop some amazing distance learning units.

Below, you’ll find the a free eBook, along with a toolkit full of resources you can use as you shift toward online teaching. You’ll find lesson plans, writing prompts, entire projects, protocols, and guides.

John Spencer

My goal is simple. I want to make something each day. Sometimes I make things. Sometimes I make a difference. On a good day, I get to do both.More about me


  • Your this superbly informative article and the magnanimous offer of the Free eBook with access to tools is dire need of the time of this Corona Virus epidemic on global scale. Kudos to you , dear Spencer.

    • Leonard Golubchick says:

      John Spencer’s online taxonomy is quite interesting and provides a clear guide to look at online learning and experiences with a Growth Mindset.

  • Anna says:

    You are a phenomenal writer and resource! What you have written brings huge relief and hope during this time when we have so many questions and fears. Thank you for sharing your perceptive and clear thinking!

    • Mrudula Asokan says:

      Very informative and sequentially explained process of transition which is the need of the hour for every educator. Thank you for this wonderfully written article.

      • Leonard Golubchick says:

        The seven big ideas are doable and provides a road-map to geographical travel on a journey to enhance online learning.
        Of particular interest his Spencer’s e-book.
        Yes, we need to develop an online pedagogical plan as we approach online offerings with a positive mindset as detailed by John Spencer.

  • Jason says:


    Endless gratitude as you continue to spark my curiosity and implementation of PBL into my classes both on and offline.

    • Leonard Golubchick says:

      The seven big ideas toward online teaching is a compendium of “how to” and “why” as we approach remote learning. Certainly the course of action suggested by John Spencer is useful and integrates a common sense approach with pedagogic knowledge.

  • Wendy Oney says:

    This is exactly what I needed to hear today. Thank you so much for sharing your ideas. I’m excited to get started with my online classes with my middle school students.

  • Shannon Bourne says:

    This is amazing and thank you so much! Your positive voice and encourage is sorely needed right now by educators everywhere!

  • rjb says:

    I LOVE this approach! I do some of these things, but I definitely do NOT want to go to packets!

  • Marcia Santos says:

    Thank you very much for sharing!

  • Lindsey Blackburn says:

    This is my favorite thing right now. I’m sharing it widely!

  • Wendy says:

    Thank you for your inspiration and direction to make this less daunting and more fun. Suddenly I am excited about this ‘change in direction and confusion! Too much information, too fast and this puts in to place tools to move forward with grace and excellence!

  • Bob Sugden says:

    Thanks so much John – alongside AJ Juliani’s crowdsourcing that led me to your piece, this is the most thought-provoking, clear and motivating piece I have read as I take stock over the Easter break before diving into a second 3 week block of at-home learning.

  • Ted Trujillo says:

    Sounds interesting.

  • Susan L. Meisel says:

    Dear John Spencer:
    Your ideas and presentations remind me of lessons I had tried to implement, with very limited success, in a “live” elementary school classroom many years ago as a full time teacher. Now as a part-time substitute teacher, what I’ve just seen of your “7 Big Ideas…” in this online elective-course (offered to teachers as “Continuity of Learning: Integrated Units of Instruction”) is amazingly relevant, clear, important, flexible and beautifully presented. THANK YOU, more so midst the current coronavirus crisis, for your creativity, experience and inspiration!! I believe this is the “way to go” now and in future educational practices. BRAVO!

    • Leonard Golubchick says:

      There is no doubt that the suggestions by John Spencer emanate from Educators employing effective Instructional strategies during face-face classroom sessions. All of which is based up theory which is translated into practice.
      Going to remote learning we have to integrate what we do as Educators in a classroom to the online environment.
      We to note that nothing beats the in person class where the interpersonal connections with the Educators and fellow classmates engages students not only in learning facts but in social-emotional development.
      John Spencer’s provides a methodology to try to duplicate a real classroom environment in a digital environment.

      • Madeline Rawley Crouse says:

        One hundred percent agree. I am encouraged and motivated after reading John Spencer’s article and exploring his work, especially by the mindset that allows him to envision and create all he has done. It is amazing. I am inspired to dive into this work or bringing the best of an in-person classroom and the possibilities afforded by the virtual world together as I create an online place of learning, growth, transformation, and empowerment for my third graders. SO grateful for the generosity of Mr. Spencer. My students don’t realize it yet, but they are, too!

  • Mary Reid says:

    Great ideas. Student centered and positive. I’m sharing with my staff!

  • Lawrence G says:

    This was explained in a very easy to understand approach. Cant wait to incorporate these ideas. Thank you.

  • Antonio E. Novoa says:

    Enjoyed the presentation and the straight forward approach to so many topics. I will be refering to it frequently.

  • Carlos Tobar says:

    Your article is informative and presents actionable ideas.

  • During the short period of my online teaching due to covid 19 Pandemic, As the author mentioned I experienced inspiring possibilities works better than giving choices; learning in the environment where learning has a base on students’ learning, they learn by making mistakes that lead to assess their own learning instead of being assessed.

  • Betty Kwong says:

    Wow! Thank you, John Spencer! I truly enjoyed your short videos. I am ready to implement this new shift (from engaged student learning to empowered student learning).

  • Mary Jane Collier says:

    Impressive! Informative! Very useful and encouraging! Thank you for the incredible support for our teachers. I am an Interim Principal for Elementary School and appreciate all of this support for our educators. I feel more comfortable with the whole notion of distnce learning having read your article and viewed your videos.

  • Tamara says:

    You had me at “Be Patient.”

  • lesley anderson says:

    I appreciate the clarification of the paradigm shift, “you must learn; what do you want to learn” and “engage to empower” student centered approach.

  • Maria Viray says:

    This is really very informative and a learning curve. Thank you.

  • Some great teak aways and tips John Thank you! the sketch noting is a skill I should really work on. So helpful in bringing things to life!

  • Lisa Prouty says:

    This was just what I needed! At a time when my excellent class room practices aren’t working. Your ideas are an amazing inspiration! I’m starting today! I know I’ll make some mistakes, but maybe I can be like you and make a difference. Thank you!!

  • Gail Tattersall says:

    Thanks it’s going to take some work with this new normal online schooling

  • Bianca says:

    Great ideas. I love the chart showing “old school” vintage ways converted to tech savvy!

  • Apple says:

    Thank you, John. This is the best article I’ve read so far about Shifting to Online or Distance Learning. Reading this now is very timely as I will be conducting a seminar for K-12 teachers who will start teaching online. I love the videos and the other resources you shared. Great work, John. Super useful indeed.

  • Cindy says:

    Thank you! As a 24 year veteran Health and PE teacher, this is a new world of learning without the face to face interaction with actual activities. Plus the added “not so tech savvy” me in the mix. This gives me so many ideas to explore for the online world that I can try….and I say try because I’m it will be trial and lots of errors. I am okay with bombing, it shows students that I am human….

  • Deepti Joshi says:

    Your article is so informative.

  • S Mohanraj says:

    A very useful article written in simple reader-friendly style. Its contemporaneity makes it relevant to several practicing teachers who are yet to update their knowledge on use of technology in teaching.

  • Charles Manniung says:

    Thanks for the in depth material. There are many things to consider as we approach re-thinking education. I specially appreciate the section on student ownership. I’ve been applying the concept of student oriented education to my AP classroom for several years, with much success. The opportunity to move farther into a student-oriented learning experience is now presented to us as we are forced to reconsider what we are attempting to accomplish as educators. Granted, assisting students to take more responsibility in their educational process we be a challenge. Some students will be ripe for the transition, while others will need greater levels of guidance and encouragement. This involves a shift in thinking for all stakeholders – teachers, students, parents, political leaders, etc.
    Another resource that I have found particularly relevant is a little known book – “Situational Leadership.” While the book is geared toward business, it definitely applicable to the educational process.

  • Sharla Khargi says:

    Extremely relevant and helpful. My favorite is empowerment.

  • Poppy Ting He says:

    This is very useful as teachers are still in the mist of despising school reopening methods. It is very helpful to get us prepared both ways. Thank you so much. I would love to have the book to learn more.

  • Lisa McNamara says:

    Learned some really good ideas on how to support teachers.

  • joe Ahart says:

    Great article. It encourages teachers to take the freedom to reinvent their courses.

  • Richard Baker says:

    Very useful. I especially like the way the paradigm “shifts” led us to think in new ways that help to put it all into context.

  • LISA BULL says:

    This article is AMAZING! I can’t wait till school starts up. I am totally going to try a few of these ideas giving the students choice and flexibility. Thank you so much Dr. Spencer!

  • Stacey says:

    I have been so focused in live lessons that I forgot that I could make a simple recording for a few things before school starts even! This would be helpful to have posted on the stream.

  • Mindy Inman says:

    I teach 3rd grade and feel being present is going to be a huge help for my students. Being in a poverty school I believe school is an escape for some of our students and it is going to be so important for them to know I’m present and there for them, even though some may have never physically met me. Gaining their respect is going to come through me being present and setting the open communication up for not just me, but collaboration between classmates in an online atmosphere.

  • Marie Black says:

    Learning how to remain engaged with learners and enable them to create original content to validate learning while doing distance learning is going to be key to success during distance learning. Thank you for the insight, I look forward to the additional lessons.

  • Gina Walsh says:

    Thank you for your amazing ideas to begin my year teaching online.

  • S. Blanchard says:

    Very useful and interesting information.

  • Nicole says:

    Excellent article that is highly relevant for the platform we will be using. The ideas all had something to offer to ensure the instruction is a well rounded plan that meets everyone’s needs.

  • Sue says:

    Thank you! So informative and helpful. I love your posters too.

  • Katie Lynn Henry says:

    Very valuable information and good ideas to incorporate with online teaching.

  • Joseph Podrazik says:

    As a veteran Tech Ed teacher, this is a new world. This gives me many ideas to explore for the online world. However, I don’t feel as “tech savvy’ as when I’m in the room with students. There will be a lot of trial and error going on this year.

    • Allyn Michalek says:

      I agree Joseph, trail and error however, the more interesting and interactive we are as leaders, the better.

  • Gena Bussell says:

    The 7 Big ideas provided a sequential way to assure students are successful with virtual learning. The key points that were addressed can help to develop the plan for both teachers and students to guide them through virtual learning.

  • Megan Lupo says:

    This is going to be a really difficult time for students and teachers and we will all have to work together and be patient in order to make it work

  • Bob says:

    Really enjoyed the content in the videos. the seven big ideas are a pathway for me to rethink how to move forward with not just on-line teaching but instructions in any mode.

  • Mary Beth Sedgwick says:

    Thanks so much for 7 Big Ideas! As a counselor, I can see how some of these will really help me make this shift in a proactive way. The reminder right in the beginning of Equity and Being Patient put me in the right mindset. #7 also resonated to me and gave me some great ideas of ways to really creating a sense of presence with my students.

  • Amy Hummel says:

    Thank you! Great suggestions to organize and plan online learning.

  • Daniel Morris says:

    Well done. Several useful tips to put into use. Virtual Learning will definitely be a work in progress.

  • Terri says:

    Thank You for the ideas and help. These will be useful in the classroom as well as online.

  • robert says:

    thank you for the ideas

  • Suzanne P says:

    I really like the idea of staying available to students and schedule one on one conferences. This sounds like a good way to develop and keep relationships with students.

  • Patty Leever says:

    Great article! It gave me many ideas and inspiration for my online classes.

  • Lisa says:

    Thank you! This allowed me numerous ideas that I can engage students during speech therapy.

  • Melissa Miller says:

    This was extremely informative and validating to read. Where there is unity there is strength and this was overall unifying in the way everything was explained in this article.

  • This article helped me focus on the exciting parts of on line learning.

  • colleen says:

    #6 Students of all ages love “Show and Tell”, bringing a part of their world to share is a great learning experience!

  • Edith Garcia says:

    This part helped me to realize that old fashion teaching and technology can fusion together into something new giving to the experience of learning a different approach.

  • Jared says:

    An open mind and some enthusiasm will help to get us all through this

  • Isaac McQueen says:

    Students are really adaptive with technology so I believe this will all work out just fine. We just have to hold high standards and hold students accountable for the work the submit.

  • Debi says:

    Same ideas about teaching (clear expectations, collaborate, etc.), but different platform which looks and feels overwhelming. But over time with patience, flexibility and consistency everyone involved will succeed!

  • Mindy Bowman says:

    alot of good information

  • Joe Gorman says:

    Thank you very much for writing this article. Your points are clear and concise. As we teach through these unprecedented times, we must all think and teach differently as we incorporate best practices into our pedagogical approach.

  • Tim Herrity says:

    Thank you. It was very good information as we begin this crazy year.

  • Dorothy says:

    John, Awesome videos, great job! refreshing and useful ideas. I liked the idea of a student survey. The feedback will be valuable information for us educators to improve our ways of connecting and reaching our students fullest potential.

  • Una says:

    Your article suports rigorous teaching and learning for both teachers and students via successful paradigm shifts and implimentations of the SAMR module. Very informative article.

  • Peter Feuerherd says:

    thanks for encouraging creativity in teaching and acknowledging that this is a process which will include mistakes that can be learned from

  • Joshua Pierce says:

    I really enjoyed this article! I found a lot of the ideas, were ones that i could personally use in my class. The one big idea that i though was very creative was to take a “Show and tell,” approach. I found that it was a simple idea that all of my students would buy into. This would give those students that ownership of their work that I have been trying to instill in them since day one.

  • Patty Nazzaro says:

    I really liked number 7 Be present and available as a teacher. I liked all the idea’s that were listed and use the tools in the classroom

  • Prof. Valerie De Marco says:

    Hi John, Your Big Idea #3 concerning Empowerment and the Paradigm Shift really resonated with me. I am a divergent thinker and English Prof. here in NYC and very creative in my approaches. In past years I actually have been swayed by my Dept. Chair to not be so creative and just stick to the plan. Of course, I complied with their “suggestion” as I didn’t want to lose my parking space!LOL However, now this shift to creativity in engagement and personalized learning with authenticity is delightfully optimistic to me. The online teaching will not only afford me that opportunity, but I am hoping it will welcome my Creative and Humanistic Philosophy and encourage it in my students as well!
    Thank you for that affirmation as you made me feel truly valued.

  • Allyn Michalek says:

    These are all exception ideas for online learning.

    The seven big ideas are invaluable and integrates a common sense approach with pedagogic knowledge.

    I especially like #7 where we as teachers can be available and present as much as we choose.

  • malcolm Davis says:

    I think the 7 ideals are fantastic. #7 is a real good one that being online a teacher can be present as long as they want.

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