Synchronous, asynchronous, hybrid. It’s all about learning

This time of year is always hectic as classrooms get back to the business of learning. Add in a pandemic, and everything we know goes out the window. Hybrid and choice models, synchronous and asynchronous learning, new class grouping protocols – these are just a few of the factors creating dizzying changes and uncertainty for the fall of 2020.

Teachers are at the epicenter and trying to do what they always do, which is to find the best way to help their students learn. More now than ever, technology tools can help with tasks that are time-consuming and labor-intensive, as well as assist in communications with students, wherever they are learning.

Here are a few ways that teachers can use tech to navigate the turbulence:

  1. Foster independent learning: Students who struggle with reading often lack the confidence and skills to develop an independent learning practice. Online, scaffolded instruction with mastery-based learning makes it possible for students to set their own pace while working independently. Tutorials to introduce concepts, constructive feedback for errors, and rewards for staying on task are all elements that can be used to facilitate new learning models.
  1. Chunk it down: Shorter, discrete lessons that are self-contained and resume with the next session offer greater flexibility for students and teachers. Technology programs can do this automatically without requiring teachers to modify and customize lessons. Students can increase their time on task by setting a pace that maximizes their focus and performance.
  2. Model and monitor: Even when students are working remotely, teachers can use video chats to set the context for online learning activities. Prior to starting activities, teachers can introduce a model lesson and set weekly goals with their students. Monitoring tools that track usage and offer notifications help teachers provide “just in time” remediation for missed concepts.
  1. Discuss the data: Online monitoring tools capture rich data on every keystroke, decision and error. Teachers can use that information for “data chats” with students to discuss their progress and how to improve performance. Data chats can be in-person or online, scheduled regularly or as impromptu feedback sessions.
  1. Support self-monitoring: Online platforms can foster higher engagement as students develop their learning practice. By enabling students to record reflections and track metrics, such as time on task and errors, we can help them take greater ownership of the learning process. Teachers can work collaboratively with students as they review the data together.

How are you using technology to support your teaching practice? Comment below or send an email to

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