Seven things I've learned from remote learning

/ Dr. Nathan Lang-Raad

As I was walking outside the other day, I noticed all the pollen in the air. It seemed as if the pollen was shaking in the air. There is actually a scientific principle that describes this motion called Brownian motion: the erratic random movement of microscopic particles in a fluid, as a result of continuous bombardment from molecules of the surrounding medium.

This reminds me of the time we’re in with remote learning, there are so many ideas, approaches, tools, we might feel like these little pollen particles, pushed to and fro.

During the last several weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with many educators and leaders. In these talks, I have seen success with remote learning and some emerging themes. 

Here are 7 things I’ve learned about remote learning in the past weeks:


Clarity is key. There is a lot happening right now and we must communicate what we’re doing. If we just want our students to explore and play, then explicitly say that. Help make those connections between concepts in the world around us. 


During a time of ambiguity and an overabundance of “remote learning resources,” (every entity seems to have some form of remote learning resources) educators need digestible and implementable ideas.  

Asynchronous Learning 

As evidenced by the popularity of our read-aloud template, teachers are not only looking for student-centered “opportunity learning,” but also looking for effective ways to deliver instruction via asynchronous learning. It’s important that teachers are able to create mini-lessons, think alouds, and instructional videos, etc. These are short, very focused videos that prompt students to think about a new concept.

Professional Development 

With this new time we are in, teachers have more opportunities than ever to access non-traditional professional development. PD is facilitated in many forms: tweets, social posts, blogs, vlogs, podcasts, vodcasts, webinars, etc. This unprecedented time is one of the best times to engage in professional development. 


Choose a tool and process stick with them to build familiarity and consistency. With so many recommended tools, it’s essential to find one that is easy, fun to use, and engages students. 


Every student’s creation or response deserves feedback and warm affirmation. It lets students know that we care about them and their learning, especially during this time. 

Everyone’s Well-being 

It’s important that we take care of ourselves and teach others how to do this. What does this mean? Check-in with how you are feeling a few times per day, Be kind to yourself and flexible (as permitted) with your schedule, Find the “tech” routine that works for you and your family, Take meta-moments, give yourself and everyone around you the permission to feel all emotions.

I think education will emerge from this stronger than ever. We’ve found a way to approach a challenging situation with innovative thinking, creativity, and empathy.