This semester I was enrolled in an online teaching practicuum. I had never really been exposed to the world of online education before, with the exception of taking a couple of university courses online. So the experience of online teaching was an entirely new world for me. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
Teaching online is hard, but teaching literacy online is even harder. However, there are still some ways that teachers can overcome teaching in a non-traditional classroom and successfully teach literacy to their students. You have to be very motivated in your conquests to teach it. During my time as a pre-student teacher in my online practicuum, I have observed a lot of things and have came up with a lot of interesting ideas on how online teachers can incorporate literacy into their supplemental teachings online.
The platform that my school uses is called Plato. This type of platform already has all of the content prepared, so the teachers don’t have to create any of the main content themselves. There have already been lectures, assignments, and etc. created and uploaded onto the platform. However, this doesn’t mean that the teachers are exempt from actually teaching material. If the students are unable to grasp a concept, then it’s the job of the teachers to guide them with supplemental instruction or material that they themselves have created.
One of my main concerns was how I was going to implement the tools and ideas that I have learned in my education and English courses into an online environment. How was I going to do a shared reading or literature circles? Then I realized that I should think of the technology as a tool, rather than a burden.
When supplying online students with supplemental material, try and incorporate certain literacy tools, like vocabulary. One of the easiest ways to teach literacy online is through vocabulary because most times you don’t have to be directly instructing your students every second while they are completing the assignment/activity. You can either give the students a list of vocabulary words to research and define, or you could do something even further with it and have them pick out their own vocabulary words from a reading. This is something they could easily do on their own without too much consistent guidance from the teacher.
I think it would also be interesting to try and implement literacy circles into online education. If a small group of students are all having trouble with a topic, then assign them a supplemental reading that you think might help them out with their understanding of the subject at hand. Then assign each of them a literacy circle role. Once they have completed their role sheets, you can have them get together on Google Hangout. Then the students can collaborate and discuss the topic with one another, while having the teacher there to provide any guidance or comments that might be needed.
Online education is becoming a very large part of our education system and I think that’s it’s very important that we are all knowledgeable about how to successfully incorporate literacy into your teachings. Use technology to your advantage and try to increase communications with and among your students.