Online teaching is much more than just teaching online

Kuvassa esitellään verkko-opettajan kehitysvaiheet vasta-alkajasta uuden luojaan.

Coronary restrictions made all teachers online teachers in no time – or did they? How can we continue to make a difference in services or teacher skills? Or is it even necessary?

Let’s compare this with another sector. I know how to use a shovel and what a ball valve is. So I’m a builder? Of course not. In the same way, learning how to use Zoom or how to make a course in Moodle doesn’t make you an online teacher. It just indicates the situation you are in now, perhaps still at the beginning of your journey. Reflecting on our situation as an online teacher helps us, our clients and work community. The digital revolution forced upon us by Korona was not an ideal situation for anyone. You had to manage with minimal time and money; practice was the only initiator. It is still unfair to assume that because we were doing okay (some better, some worse), we have it down pat and no extra resources or effort are needed to translate pedagogy online.

At its best, the learning experience is well prepared, smooth and accessible for both teacher and learners. There is a lot of work behind accessibility, just as there are many steps behind your restaurant meal. When pedagogy is driven by commercial interests, dollar figures are seen in the savings from wall rents, while the customer experience is forgotten.University of Calgary professor Peter Gabor has said that the savings from walls should be directed to the psychological well-being of learners and staff. In the aftermath of Korona, few will question this. As a teacher and employee, you are also entitled to time for development. Wise employers and organisations invest in continuous learning and see it as a vital asset. How can we improve if we don’t develop ourselves?

You can reflect on your own journey as an online teacher, for example, with Marja Ahola and Anita Hartikainen’s picture of the stages of an online teacher’s development. Are you currently in the necessity, material, livelihood, selection, mentor, or unique phases? You can read more about this here.

Gimara’s toolkit for the mobile online teacher, Smartie, more commonly known as Martti, offers you and your team essential tools and a bite to eat for reflection in the form of a pedagogical guidebook and an assessment tool. Discover Martti here and join us on our development journey by subscribing to Martti to support your journey into online teaching.