Learning may be virtual for the foreseeable future and teachers and parents will need all the help they can get to ensure students’ learning doesn’t come to a stand-still in this critical time.
Your organization knows that the arts are a highly effective tool for engaging students, now is the time to share what you know in new, virtual ways.
Here are 10 tips to navigate the migration of your educational content to online platforms for little to no cost while remaining an invaluable resource to your clients.
1. Focus on core objectives
Get comfortable with the fact that you may not be able to address all 5 learning objectives you had for that lesson, but hitting 3 out of 5 is still a good thing. You’ll be more successful by taking the “less is more” approach to deciding which concepts you really want to hit home.
2. Set up your virtual gathering space
Whether you use your existing learning management system, Google Drive, or another cloud-based system, create one go-to space where your teaching artists and education department staff can post curriculum, teachers can access resources and students can upload samples of their work so you can continue to assess their learning. Focus on asynchronous learning rather than trying to organize everyone at the exact same time and place for a lesson or rehearsal.
3. Train the teachers
Instead of focusing all of your resources on strategies to deliver content directly to students, take the time to train your teaching artists, educational partners, and parents on how to use the technology you’ve chosen to deliver your content and support their child’s learning. You’ll have more success delivering a webinar for 10 teaching artists than a livestream to dozens of students, who may not all have access to the resources needed to access your webinar anyway.
4. Post curriculum online
Post select PDFs and videos from your existing curricular catalog on your website for any teacher and parent to access from home, organizing it by subject matter and grade level to make it easy to navigate. You may not want to post your full catalog at this time, but offer core items and advertise this open-source, free resource on your social media channels and via email.
5. Be a curator
Are you feeling overwhelmed with the amount of resources out there right now? So are your teachers and parents. Use your discerning eye to sort through the volume to curate a list that is tailored specifically for the educators and families that you serve.
6. Customize content
Educators are making a lot of changes to their curriculum between now and the end of the year. If you have experience designing curriculum, now might be the time to offer help in co-developing a virtual unit to ease the planning load. This may be an opportunity to design new curriculum that you could add later to your permanent catalog of offerings.
7. Leverage educational networks
Figure out ways to integrate your content into communications systems that parents and teachers are already accustomed to using. Post links to the resources on your organization’s website on school district websites, social media pages or through educational resource centers. Consider providing hard copies of at-home activities or other resources that can be distributed through meal pick-up locations, but deliver the packages collated and ready-to-go so you aren’t creating more work for the folks who are busy distributing meals.
8. Call your grants managers
Take a proactive approach to providing funders with an update on what you are doing to remain good stewards of the funds they’ve given you. They understand that things change (especially now), and it will help maintain a good relationship with them when the next grant cycle comes around.
9. Pay attention to metrics
The great thing about the digital space is the fact that you can track traffic and engagement. Make sure you can access your Google Analytics and monitor traffic regularly. Pay attention to how your content is doing on social media and email as well. This data will enable you to track the efficacy of your programming and make adjustments if needed.
10. Adopt a learning mindset
This is the time to flex your skills, learn new ways to deliver content effectively, and adjust as you go. Stay in touch with your fellow teaching artists to learn about their experiences teaching exclusively online. Be comfortable changing direction if something isn’t working.