Distance learning is a great time to grow innovation in your virtual classroom. Although innovation can be an intimidating and overwhelming word, it doesn’t have to be. Innovation doesn’t necessarily mean you have to invent something new, rather, it can be making a shift from what you have been doing and then creating something new. 

While talking with Spanish and STEAM teacher, Rachelle Dene Poth, on the Tackling Tech Podcast, Rachelle stressed the importance of innovation and leadership during distance learning. This time of uncertainty is a great time to try something new outside of the classroom and then understand how you could adopt this new idea when transitioning back to the in-person classroom. 

Innovation and Distance Learning

Distance learning has changed many of the expectations that teachers have while in the classroom. Student innovation has become important during this time because most student projects have become autonomy-based rather than time-based tasks with restrictions. Project-based learning has become a huge trend during distance learning and it allows students to be innovative as they can explore different opportunities on their own. 

Making families feel connected during distance learning is another important reason for innovation. Rachelle suggests transitioning programs that are used in the classroom, into using them at home. An example program she gives is the online learning game, Kahoot. Rachelle suggests teachers create a Kahoot game, encouraging the students and families to engage in the game together. Through innovation of using a typical in-class program while at home, can be effective by bridging the gap of families and their child’s academics.

How Students and Teachers Can Become Better Leaders During Distance Learning

Not only is distance learning a great time for innovation, but it also gives both students and teachers an opportunity to become better leaders. 

Students during this time are not able to receive a lot of instruction or feedback from their teachers. Just like they have to be innovative during project-based learning, they have to become leaders. When they aren’t told what to create or learn, they may feel a little lost, but it gives them the opportunity to become curious and learn about topics they are interested in. Essentially, students can drive their own learning. When it comes time for a presentation, a student may find they were much more confident because they had chosen a subject matter they were passionate about. 

Additionally, students are looking up to their teachers during this challenging time. Through innovation and determination, teachers can demonstrate great leadership skills during this time of distance learning.

Distance learning has created many challenges for K-12 educators, but it has also been a great time to grow in innovation and leadership. Project-based assignments have given students the ability to be innovative and become leaders and teachers have become innovative through the adaptation of assignments from in-class to being completed remotely.

Listen to our full conversation with Rachelle Dene Poth

On this episode of Tackling Tech Podcast, Brett McGrath speaks to Rachelle Dene Poth, a Spanish and STEAM teacher in PA who is also an attorney with a Masters degree in Instructional Technology in addition to being an author, podcaster, and blogger. She shares the changes she’s observed in the rapid transition to online learning. Rachelle encourages teachers to take risks and embrace digital tools, because this unfortunate situation can be an opportunity for innovation in education.

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