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Schools worldwide are in need of educators who can engage students of all ages in an online platform and facilitate students’ learning success virtually. In the course, Online Learning: Best Practices to Leverage the Power of Distance Learning, participants discover hands-on how to continue the learning process at a distance even during inclement weather, a health crisis or other safety issue. Additionally, participants will create distance learning products and receive feedback from their peers and the instructor, a global leader in online learning, Shelly Sanchez Terrell (@ShellTerrell). For more information about this class, click here. 

Do Your Online Students Feel Connected?

One of the key factors to student success in a virtual environment is connection. Does the student feel connected to the instructor, learning material, and peers? Real-time face-to-face interaction in a physical classroom several times a week facilitates connection and relationship building. When teachers and learning institutions implement distance learning, the instructional design must facilitate many opportunities for students to connect with the teacher, material, and peers.

Digital Video Check-ins

One way teachers are meeting this challenge is with daily student check-ins. In a physical classroom a teacher does this as students enter the classroom. Students and teachers exchange a greeting (high five, hugs, smiles, a dance, a handshake, etc.). Digital student check-ins online are important to enriching connections in an online environment and also prepare students to connect and collaborate in future professions. According to Elise Keith of Inc.com, “A quick daily check-in is standard practice for hospital teams, software developers, logistics manager, leadership teams, and more” (May 2019). 

You may already meet up virtually through a video conferencing platform, such as Zoom and Hangouts Meet. At each meeting do a quick check-in, such as the five or three finger check-in, or post fun questions or topics. For each of my sessions with K-5 students, they write their name, grade, and a share.  Some examples are a favorite dessert, a favorite healthy snack, a show recommendation, an exercise recommendation, a reading material recommendation, or other recommendation. 

Check out these other wonderful ideas from the National Educators for Restorative Practices blog:

*Two Minute Connections

*Student Spark

*1 to Cat Pulse Meter

Flip-grid Check-ins

 Flipgrid is a free online education video tool that allows students to respond to a teacher’s video with a quick video and emojis. Check out these ideas:

*Daily Check-ins with Flipgrid

*Example of a Flipgrid class check-in

*Superhero pose check-in with Flipgrid 

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