Remote education is something both students and teachers had to quickly learn and adapt to. Now, it's a model that future educators are learning more about at colleges and universities across the country.
“One of the bigger lessons that we've learned is not necessarily academic but really picking up on kind of the nuances within children in that virtual space,” said Erin Thomas Horne, Ph.D., Assistant Dean of Profession Education at North Carolina State University.
At North Carolina State’s College of Education, their students are studying virtual learning live as it happens with partner schools.
They're learning which methods and tools might be useful in engaging students, whether it's remote, hybrid, or face to face.
“And so, picking up on, you know, which students are turning the cameras on, which students aren't turning their cameras on, which students may have things that are going on in the background or kind of, you know, the eyes to the side versus focusing on what's going on in the classroom, which students are speaking up or which ones are staying muted, or which ones are utilizing the chat primarily versus speaking aloud in class,” said Horne.
Through her own remote learning experience with her two elementary-aged children and as an educator, Horne is most impressed by teachers' flexibility. She believes students are most responsive to remote learning when they have choices.
“For example, the use of Seesaw, my children elementary-age allowed, and we use that actually with our elementary candidates as well, but it allows students to respond visually or verbally or in writing or with pictures and so really just allowing students to have a lot of choices allowed them to engage,” said Horne.
The mental and emotional wellness of students and educators is something tomorrow's teachers are also focused on.
North Carolina State’s education students are learning things like meditation, mindfulness, and self-care. They're also building time into their schedules for check-ins with college staff and lunch chats.