Remote education is a growing trend in today’s educational landscape, whether it’s because of coronavirus-related shutdowns or not. There are many benefits to remote education, but there are also challenges around motivating students and making them feel like they’re part of a community in a remote-learning environment.
In this guide, we’ll provide tips about how you can use Classcraft to bolster your remote teaching practice and motivate students to take a more active role in their learning.
Watch our remote learning video tutorial
To become even more familiar with how you can use Classcraft for remote learning, be sure to watch this helpful video tutorial.
Create a digital community
Set remote behavior expectations
With students learning from home, it’s more important than ever that they adopt attitudes and behaviors that will help them stay self-motivated to complete coursework. If you’re using an LMS, Classcraft’s Quests or video conferencing software to deliver instruction, it’s likely you will be searching for opportunities to boost student engagement.
Here is a list of behaviors you can incentivize in Classcraft:
- Being on time for a video lesson
- Participating in forums or discussions
- Submitting homework on time
- Setting a goal and working towards it
Remote learning also presents a great opportunity to teach digital citizenship. You can add behaviors aligned to the ISTE Standards for Students:
- Being respectful to others online
- Effectively researching online and citing valid sources
- Clearly communicating through digital means
- Understanding other cultures through digital means
- Working well with others online
No matter which behaviors you choose, be sure to reinforce them often and consistently!
Compared to a real-life classroom setting, routines and rituals are even more important in a remote-learning environment. This is especially true in a situation where distractions are abundant. Students will need the added structure to stay on task and remain engaged with instructional activities.
A great, fun way to make this happen is by using Classcraft’s Random Events.
You can start video lessons with an event or schedule times during the day for students to connect via video and participate in fun group activities.
Here are some remote-friendly events to get you started:
- Dance Party! You have 30 seconds to dance like there’s no tomorrow! Get all that energy out so you can be focused later.
- The Chant of the Master The student with the least XP chooses a song the Gamemaster must sing.
- Young Jokers Each student must post a “dad joke” in the class discussion feed. Best joke gets 300XP!
- Retro Gamers Everyone plays a 5 minute multiplayer game of Power Line together. Longest snake gets 400XP!
Some other ideas for you to create rituals through video chat:
- Short morning yoga sessions
- Remote group lunches
- Time spent listening to and sharing music
Kudos: Inspire students to encourage each other
Even though students aren’t in the same physical space, the need to connect and relate to one another remains. What better way to make that happen than to have them celebrate each others’ wins?
Kudos encourages students to identify the great things their peers are doing and write short, specific, and meaningful notes praising one or multiple peers for their actions or behaviors.
Every week, make time for a virtual celebration to read each kudo out loud. This will create a positive moment where you come together to highlight great learning behaviors.
Classcraft is also built to be played in teams, where every student wins when their teammates do well. Why not use this to create study groups? Students can work together in a structured way and you can check in with different teams during the day.
Quests: Gamify your personalized learning
Use Quests to create story-driven, personalized learning journeys. Take your lesson plan and place it on a map — this will allow you to:
- Monitor student progress
- Offer feedback
- Create branching pathways for individual learner needs
- Have students work at their own pace and allow students to engage in discussions.
To access 1000 free teacher-created Quests, check out our Marketplace.
Cadence and rigor: Guide learning with Quests
In a quest, every point on the map is a learning activity — it can be digital, (watching videos or working in a Google Doc), or offline (completing worksheets or uploading a photo).
Using the self-paced attribute for an objective, you can easily have students work at their own pace, which is perfect for autonomous remote work.
Students complete activities in a sequence, check-in and move themselves along. You get a handy notification letting you know and can use the Progress Center to see where every student has progressed.
You can also set an objective to be teacher check-in, which means once a student completes work, they have to wait for you to assess it before moving forward. Using a mix of self-paced and non-self-paced objectives, you can create a great rhythm for remote learning. Students complete a few objectives at their own pace and then complete a more summative one where you assess their progress before allowing them to move on.
Voice and choice: Use branching paths to personalize learning
With Quests, it’s easy to make branching paths. These are a great way to create supplemental activities for struggling students or to simply allow students to choose how to complete learning assignments.
You can set a pathway for students who failed to meet expectations for an activity. After assessing their work, you can send them down this pathway to get extra help or review parts of the assignment.
A pathway like this could also be used to propose alternative resources for students with learning disabilities like dyslexia.
Use narrative to sustain engagement
When working autonomously, the potential for students to become distracted and disengage is real. With Story Mode, you can easily transform lesson plans into episodic adventures. Simply import the story and your coursework to it!
New to this approach? It’s simple! Use our ready-made stories to streamline the process. Check out the trailer for Season 1 of Classcraft! An epic journey exploring SEL themes is ready for you to download here.
You can also pull your coursework from Google Classroom, and make creating a full blown story-driven quest a breeze.
Take engagement even further
Boss Battles: check-in with your class using collaborative formative assessment
A great way to see if students are on task is through formative assessment. Check-in with students at the end of the day over video and run a Boss Battle to help them review material and give them a goal for the day.
This is an extremely fun — not to mention nail-biting — way to end the day and helps create moments of shared accomplishment.
Communicate: often and easily
Students need to feel connected to their teachers as remote schooling happens. Use Classcraft’s Messaging feature to text with students throughout the day.
This will allow you to:
- Send them encouragement
- Remind them to join video sessions
- Answer academic questions
- Casually check-in to see how they are doing.
Parents: How to empower them at home
Students in remote learning situations are often being supported by their parents. By using the Messaging feature, you can easily communicate with parents and help them support their child’s learning. It also fosters collaboration with parents to help keep their child on task.
Parents can also motivate their child in Classcraft by giving them points! This will truly help them foster good learning behaviors in their child and be a part of their learning process.
We hope this has been helpful
We hope these tips and suggestions help as you transition to a remote learning environment with your students.