Amid the coronavirus pandemic, teachers — and parents — have converted their computers and homes into classrooms. College of Education & Human Development assistant professor Chad Killian shares tips for helping students dial-in and connect with remote instruction.
In this time of social distancing, teachers and professors around the world have made the shift from delivering instruction to their students in person to entirely online. Teaching from a distance requires creating virtual assignments and activities that keep students engaged and productive.
Chad Killian, assistant professor in the College of Education & Human Development’s Department of Kinesiology & Health, is working to create a series of free online teaching modules to help teachers navigate the transition to an online format. Those modules include content videos, movement resources, ideas for assessment and support videos.
“It’s been a journey for us,” Killian said. “We really want to take a systematic approach to helping teachers and students. This project has been great in that it gives us a chance to help teachers and students in the immediate, while also providing key insight that will influence future research and design decisions.”
While Killian and team’s curriculum is tailored specifically to high school physical education, teachers from all grades and subjects — and even parents who are homeschooling their own children — can draw inspiration from it. We’ve highlighted Killian’s key takeaways for the transition to teaching at a distance, including a few tips for keeping kids active, healthy and positive, below.
Teaching at Distance
Think about how you’re approaching your students.
Killian suggests teachers should be intentional about how they connect with their students, understanding that while lessons won’t look the same as in an actual school setting, they can still be effective.
Make your students’ well-being the priority.
Rather than simply sending out a few YouTube videos for students to watch, Killian says teachers should be thoughtful about the resources they’re providing. “Ask yourself, ‘What about this can promote or will promote positive student outcomes? How might this help students manage and thrive during this time?’” Killian said.
Keeping a fairly structured routine can help provide kids stability during this time. Killian suggests adding a window of physical activity into that daily schedule.
Highlight activities that can help kids cope with stressful, uncertain times.
The psychological benefits of physical activity include reduced levels of stress and improved mood and cognition, benefits that take on particular significance when faced with a global pandemic. “You might start thinking more clearly and find yourself in a better mood after exercising but might not be aware of it, and that has value for students,” Killian said.
Do it together.
Families don’t have to spend this new, concentrated time together stuck inside. Killian recommends going outside if it’s possible and finding ways to be active together.
Find an activity you enjoy.
Expectations for what exercise can and should look like can give people pause when it comes to physical activity. “A lot of people think exercise means you have to go for a run or do pushups,” Killian said. “But you can kick a ball around, mow the lawn or go for a walk. Find something that appeals to you.”
Department of Kinesiology and Health
College of Education and Human Development
Chad Killian studies the application of digital technologies within the kindergarten through 12th grade physical education context.