The restrictions placed on schools during the era of COVID have led all of us as educators to learn and adapt. Even though I came into our online learning setting with experience in distance teaching, I still had to adapt and adjust while working with high school students. Anecdotally, one approach to which I shifted during the second half of our time online was utilizing flipped classroom strategies.
I discovered that this worked well through feedback from students (NOTE: If you are not regularly eliciting meaningful reflections from your students it will be challenging to adapt as necessary). In my Theology class, I created short 4-5 minute videos of content recorded in Zoom for students to view at their own pace in advance of a class period. Then, learning tasks were given in our synchronous Zoom meetings for students to complete. I asked students to stay in the room until these tasks were completed and submitted through Canvas, our learning management system. Then, before a student was dismissed, I had a quick follow-up conversation with each student. During the work time, students could interact with one another or ask questions of me.
The student feedback about this process was overwhelmingly positive. The short videos met a need for individual student pacing and the in-Zoom activities did more to build relationships with students than a standard online classroom pattern. In addition, formative assessment strategies were better utilized, so as their instructor, I had an improved perspective on the learning actually taking place in the online class.
During these unique times, I personally hesitate to proclaim that a particular practice or policy should be embraced by everyone. We all serve unique classrooms, schools, and constituencies. But I would encourage you to consider this type of flipped approach when teaching within synchronous online classrooms.