Created for Educators, by Educators
When preschool education delivery moved to the online space, educators faced new and daunting responsibilities: transforming content from face-to-face to digital delivery, conducting online lessons, engaging students remotely, and partnering with the parents and caretakers in the process.
To equip preschool educators for these new challenges, our team of curriculum developers and educators created a new variant of SkillsFuture for Digital Workplace.
SkillsFuture for Digital Workplace for Educators: Designing Remote Engagement for Young Learners was created in close collaboration with clients from educational institutions. The programme meets educators' learning needs and fits their operational constraints.
Designing Remote Engagement for Young Learners: 5 Key Objectives
1. Building digital confidence to use technology for teaching, recording, connecting to students
Unless preschool educators are agile and confident, they cannot thrive and impart learning effectively.
“There is a need for increased confidence to conduct synchronous and asynchronous lessons,” says Czar Marifosque, the lead curriculum developer. “There were also varying levels of tech savviness, hence there was a need to level the playing field, and to at least get everyone to have a basic set of skills.”
“We give learners a safe space to experiment,” Alvin Ang, ROHEI Senior Consultant and Trainer, says. “Especially when it comes to video—teaching, recording—everyone has different comfort levels.” But through feedback and learning together, we are able to make uncomfortable participants feel comfortable and make big leaps in confidence.
2. Discovering and creating ways of engaging children in remote learning for both learning and building relationships
It is not just about knowing the tool but knowing the principles that will shape the way I design a lesson. - CHARLENE KWA
Our approach adopts the pedagogy of engaging the Head, Heart, and Hands.
“It’s one thing to know about how to use these tools, it’s another to know how to use it in a manner that is fitting for a child and what are some of the big considerations,” says Charlene Kwa, Curriculum Developer. “It was not just about the experience of learning how to use the tools, but what anchors the usage.”
3. Increasing the partnership of parents and caregivers as key stakeholders in remote learning
Preschoolers are dependent on parents and caregivers, and so we emphasise that the stakeholders have increased and need to be included and onboarded in the learning process of the children, for example by making a video addressed to parents/caregivers.
4. Creating cyber-secure spaces for teaching and learning
“Besides the practical skills, there was also a need to learn about cybersecurity,” Czar shares. This is one often overlooked aspect.
5. Increasing learning agility and growth mindset to embrace present and future changes with openness
Part of the process is recognising what the slew of future skills (or ‘NOW’ skills) look like.
In an ever-evolving landscape, it is critical to be able to pick up new knowledge and skills fast to continue to be relevant. A growth mindset paired with the right practices will pave the way for accelerated learning.
Part of the process is recognising what the slew of future skills (or ‘NOW’ skills) look like. This session includes inspirational components involving individuals who had to overcome fears and concerns in learning in order to be agile, especially in change circumstances.
A Successful First Run
The programme’s first run was conducted last August.
Czar shares that the peer feedback approach was key to improving participants’ remote teaching delivery. Aspects such as lighting and camera presence were sharpened by peer review. “Peer feedback was well received and also fosters greater buy-in to the training,” Charlene adds.
From top left (clockwise): Charlene Kwa, Czar Marifosque, Wilson Foong, Alvin Ang, the team behind the programme's creation and first run. Click here to see how we conduct remote learning experiences.
Though communicating through video was uncomfortable for many, “the growth mindset showed up in their openness to try,” Alvin shares.
Alvin noted that older generations such as Boomers and Gen-Xers lacked confidence initially, but with the safe space to experiment, they were encouraged and they continued to try (and soon were laughing at their own bloopers).
Czar noted that it was the first time for many participants to be doing some of the activities, and though they were challenged, they expressed delight in making an attempt. Taking that first step was energising.