Activities to engage students during remote learning

Earlier this year the COVID-19 pandemic forced schools across Australia to close their doors and move to remote learning.

During this period in New South Wales, Mathematics teacher Holly Millican from South Grafton High School used several activities and tools to keep her students engaged and accountable, and in today's video, she shares them with Teacher readers.

The first activity was a daily wellbeing check-in, which Millican used to help gauge how students were feeling while learning remotely, while also keeping track of who was completing the assigned work.

‘Having students complete this Google form each day gives me ample data to ensure my students are not only engaging with the set work, but are also receiving the direct help they need. And, simultaneously having students fill this form out each day provides me with a list of students who are genuinely engaging with the online learning and it gives evidence for those who aren't,' she reflects.

Millican also incorporated competitions into her maths lessons as a way to help students engage with the content, but also to interact with each other, which can be difficult to do when learning online.

‘Now the best way that I've found to incorporate competitions into the virtual learning has been to split students up into a pre-allocated group, although any grouping will really do, and challenge them to work together and communicate through whatever medium they feel necessary…' Millican says.

One of these competitions was a group activity using Kahoot. ‘This created a fierce competition between the teams with students engaging in a lively discussion on the Google Classroom, desperately wanting to know the outcome of which team was the champion and demanding rematches. It was a really great competition-style activity which jumpstarted engagement in my class and was extremely simple to put together,' Millican says.

She also ran a digital escape room using a resource from Clark Creative that was adapted to suit online learning, with students communicating via Google Slides. ‘This activity was a huge hit with my students who loved the idea of trying to escape from a digital classroom.'

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During the period of remote learning at your school, which activities did you use to keep your students engaged and accountable? Were there any programs that you found to be particularly effective? Let us know by leaving a comment below.