Engaging Remote Learners With Digital Resources
March 23, 2020

When students learn from home and we teach remotely, the learning tasks we assign are in constant competition with many household distractions. Let’s think deeply about how students learn independently and what motivates them, and strengthen our digital-learning instructional practices. It starts with our paradigms:

  • Teacher Paradigm: I empower students to master social-emotional skills through effective virtual-learning experiences.
  • Caregiver Paradigm: I enhance my student’s virtual learning when I engage in their practice and reflection.
  • Student Paradigm: I maximize my virtual learning by taking responsibility to connect and collaborate with others.


Try these strategies to boost student engagement with digital resources:

  • Incorporate higher-order thinking skills into digital learning experiences. Don’t let “digital distance” keep learning stuck in the lower levels of Bloom’s learning taxonomy—remembering and understanding. Well-designed digital resources include the higher levels—analyzing, evaluating, and creating—as well as opportunities for practice and reflection. Use the digital leadership units below to bring higher-order thinking skills into your students’ digital learning.
  • Design opportunities for student-led digital learning. Encourage students to lead their own digital learning by collaborating with peers, creating and sharing videos, or discovering websites and apps to support assignments. Teach and empower students to be responsible and safe online contributors by reinforcing internet safety and digital leadership. 
  • Differentiate digital learning. Guide and support students as individuals and talk with them about their role in this learning partnership. Consider the support individual learners need and schedule virtual one-on-one time to conference regularly. Work closely with caregivers of special-needs students to ensure they understand how to support their child. 
  • Deliver swift feedback. Remote learning can present a challenge to providing in-the-moment feedback to students, and make it more difficult for students to provide and receive feedback from each other. Consistently invite and facilitate self- and peer-assessment on the process of learning as well as the content. Ask metacognitive questions and invite students to reflect using Leadership Tools such as the Plus/Delta Chart. This practice is critical, as many students can quickly begin to feel disconnected from the school community. 
  • Extend learning beyond the digital resource. Create learning tasks that require students to discuss the content of digital learning, provide work evidence, and apply it in virtual discussions with classmates or in-person conversations with family members. 


This week we are featuring enhanced digital units with interactive fields, reflection questions, and trackers to help students independently practice and reflect on the content learning in Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw. Let’s place a renewed focus on sharpening our mind, body, heart, and spirit  by preserving and enhancing the greatest asset we have—ourselves.  


Virtual Learning With Leadership Guides: Habit 7 (also available as a Google Sheet)

Learn more: 

Help students and families learn how to use the Internet safely with Safe Online Surfing website: 

The FBI Safe Online Surfing (FBI-SOS) program is a nationwide initiative designed to educate children in 3rd–8th grade about the dangers they face on the Internet and to help prevent crimes against children. It promotes cyber citizenship among students by engaging them in a fun, age-appropriate, competitive online program where they learn how to safely and responsibly use the Internet. The program emphasizes the importance of cyber safety topics such as password security, smart surfing habits, and the safeguarding of personal information. For more information, visit the Safe Online Surfing website:  https://sos.fbi.gov/en/


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