Simple Ideas to Personalise Remote Support for Teachers

July 13, 2020

Teachers have had a steep learning curve to offer their usual classroom support remotely. Wacom has become a top choice for online and distance learning with our wide product range perfect for teachers.
Supporting your remote learners is more than just planning good lessons and offering general feedback. There are plenty of ways you can give each student personal attention without creating an unmanageable workload.
Let’s look at ways you can offer individual support to your students.

Effective communication with learners

Remote learning offers countless ways to be flexible about how you communicate. Be proactive. Tracking progress with self-marking assessments let’s you see at a glance who is struggling. Reaching out to them can stop a problem before it starts.
Think about the different formats you could offer:

  • Online forums: A chance for Q+A, peer support and whole-class discussions
  • 1:1 video calls: Giving students your undivided attention with brief coaching sessions
  • Small group video calls: Select learners with a common area of need and work together
  • Class drop-in sessions: Share a time when you’ll be on an open video call and let students pop in if they need you
  • Personal emails: Tailor generic class messages with specific support and advice
  • Shared pages: Platforms like Microsoft Teams let you create a feedback page with each student that is quick to review

Being flexible in how students can communicate with you lets them pick the format that suits them. It’s perfect for learners who feel embarrassed to ask for help in the classroom. Make it clear what they will get from you. Set hours when you’ll be available and explain how long they will wait before getting a reply.

Structure your lessons for individual support

Creating the perfect online lesson always starts with clear objectives. Choosing activities should come later. Design tasks to be ‘low entry’ (easy for everyone to access) but ‘high ceiling,’ offering ways for able students to challenge themselves.
Why does everyone have to do the same thing? Online learning offers ways to personalise lessons to suit different needs. A choice of tasks lets learners identify the correct challenge level for them.
Know exactly what you want students to learn in each lesson and have a way to measure their success. Use checklists to self-assess progress within the lesson.

Make feedback effective

Feedback is only useful if it’s given at the right time. Leave it too long and students won’t remember the task or be interested in improving it. Make your feedback integral, rather than something extra for students to go back and read.
Trying to offer feedback for every lesson will quickly overwhelm you and your students. Even just ‘tick and flick’ fills up too much time. Plan to mark less but in far more depth. Use automated self-marking to free up your time for individual feedback.
How you can offer feedback:

  • Whole class: Perfect when there’s a common misconception or an area everyone needs to improve. Add screenshots of examples and RAG rate (red, amber, green) against the success criteria.
  • Groups: Great when a few students are struggling with the same problems. Find pockets of learners with similar needs. Record video demonstrations or signpost useful resources for them.
  • Individual: Provides perfectly personalised support. Write directly on to the student’s work or record a voice message to show them how they can improve.

Good quality feedback is more than just praising effect. Be specific about what they’ve done well and where they can improve. Wacom pen tablets are useful as an annotation tool to highlight, circle and write directly onto students work.

Students who need support

Individual support is important for students at risk of falling behind and those with additional learning needs. Don’t just focus on academic outcomes. They may also need help with organising workload, deadlines and staying focused.
Why not try:

  • Teaching them productivity techniques such as using a timer to work for short focused blocks of time.
  • Offering group learning sessions to discuss organising their learning environment, staying focused and finding a quiet place to work.
  • Arranging 1:1 video calls to discuss barriers to learning.

Online learning is perfect for scaffolded support. Video yourself to give them a modelled example to follow rather than assuming they’ll understand what to do. Helpful voice prompts, vocabulary banks and sentence starters all help them access your lessons.
Just like in your classroom, anticipate problems before they appear. Rather than letting a student get stuck, teach them common misconceptions so they don’t get confused.

Students who need challenge

Too often students who successfully complete lessons get no further support to challenge them. They coast along unaware or uncaring that they are capable of more.
Use automated marking and tracking systems to find those students who are consistently getting 100% in every assessment. How can you offer them a way to extend the learning?
Challenging learning should focus on problem solving and applying what they’ve learnt to new situations. Encourage students to be creative about how they present their work to you.

Wacom is here to help teachers

Good personalised learning means getting your monitoring and tracking systems in place to spot struggling or coasting students and offering the right support for every student when they need it.
At Wacom, we know that students can struggle to see how to improve. All too often, feedback is separate and requires flicking between screens or scrolling down the page. That’s why our pen tablets are so popular with teachers. It’s perfect for giving the individual support your students need.

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