In a virtual school, learning happens in similar and yet in some very different and unique ways than it does in a traditional brick and mortar school. Consequently, it’s necessary for teachers who teach in an online model to learn the skills that are essential to becoming an effective online instructor.
As a parent of students who attended brick and mortar schools for 7 years and who have spent the past 8 years enrolled in an online school, I can appreciate many of the qualities an online teacher must have in order to ensure student success. So what’s unique about online teaching?
- Teaching without the day-to day face-to-face instruction
- Student interaction without geographical restraints
- One-on-one student interaction/individualized learning
- Familiarity with technology
- Student-centered learning
- 24/7 access to classes
- Creating and planning instructional lessons
- Creating avenues to promote the open exchange of ideas between students, teachers, and parents
So how do online teachers learn best practices in order to help their students achieve?
Two of Colorado Virtual Academy (COVA) ATLAS Designers and Master Coaches, Weston Kieschnick, M.S. Ed. and Dr. Kathryn Knox, have recently implemented the ATLAS model at COVA, which offers instructional coaching resources. Although this model is fairly new, it has impacted teaching in our school in a very positive and effective way. Weston and Kathryn have an appreciation for sharing these best practices and are happy to assist everyone in becoming a stronger team. The website they have created offers some great 5-minute models which shows how online teachers engage students, acknowledge student effort, and team teach in a large classroom.
Thanks to Weston and Kathryn for their hard work to help online teachers help students get the most out of their online school experience.