LANSING, Mich. — As Michigan’s educators explore how to serve their students during school building closures, they now have a unique personal growth opportunity to learn new skills and best practices when teaching outside of the physical classroom. To help Michigan educators, Michigan Virtual today launched a free six-part remote learning transition series.
This new series will help educators prepare for providing remote learning to students, directly in line with Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-35, closing school buildings for the remainder of the school year. Included in the order is a provision encouraging districts to utilize activities aimed at preparing for alternative modes of instruction.
“Millions of professionals around the globe, including doctors, counselors, ministers and social workers are embracing ingenuity and transforming their skills and technology readiness so they can continue to provide vital services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now is the time to invest in our teachers’ professional development so they can leverage new delivery models to reach students during this prolonged crisis,” said Jamey Fitzpatrick, president and CEO of Michigan Virtual. “Our educational structure will forever be impacted by the extended school closures; using this time to learn will support and strengthen Michigan teachers’ ability to serve students in the future.”
The new six-part, self-paced series features examples and resources for reaching students, providing content, building relationships, social-emotional learning, and more. Each course also offers two State Continuing Education Clock Hours upon completion and is available free to all teachers. The courses allow for choice as teachers are able to move freely through the content, including:
- Getting Started – This course will explore examples of remote teaching and reflect on considerations that should be taken into account when transitioning to remote teaching.
- Communication – This course will convey how to build relationships using online communication and explore available online tools.
- Digital Content – This course will help educators organize and explore tools that can be used to create and distribute digital content.
- Digital Assessment – This course will underscore the importance of assessments and assessment strategies, as well as explore tools to facilitate online assessment.
- Adapting – This course is focused on the importance of flexibility in remote teaching, as well as how an educator might meet the individual needs of their students online.
- Social-Emotional Learning Support – This course focuses on the importance of addressing social-emotional learning online, family support for remote learning, and educator self-care.
In response to the COVID-19 school closures, Michigan Virtual immediately began ramping up content and resources. Learning Continuity Resources, including free course content for educators and students as well as the creation of the online community Keep Michigan Learning, were launched after Gov. Whitmer’s initial school closure Executive Order 2020-5. Most recently, recognizing the challenges associated with remote teaching and the importance of learning continuity planning, the Michigan Virtual Learning Continuity Work Group was launched on April 6, 2020. The Work Group, composed of 21 education experts is working to help plan for the “new normal” and accelerate the adoption of innovative teaching models that support students learning remotely and online.