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Learning At A Distance
Socially-distancing has presented challenges to many aspects of education, but remote learning can also offer exciting new ways for teachers to introduce new FPS teaching opportunities.
Leverage Remote Learning
Social-distancing has presented many challenges for New York teachers as they have had to adapt to coordinating students remotely, keeping student engagement, and tackling technical difficulties. Despite these hurdles, many NYFPS advisors and teachers have been brainstorming about unique ways to engage their students and remaining flexible in this new age of remote learning while holding students accountable. A common question arises, "how I can leverage the fact that we are using online learning and try something that isn't in part of the normal repertoire in a physical classroom setting?"
Inspiration can be drawn from how some NYFPS advisors and teachers have integrated the program into their classrooms through technology in the past few years. Virtual learning can turn these special opportunities into more frequent components of lesson plans as well as expand the audience to more students. A NYFPS advisor teaching in Brooklyn, NYC brought FPS into the classroom by inviting guest speakers relating to the Annual Topics via video conference to help her students with the research process. These subject matter experts can offer insight as well as improve students' understanding of key concepts by providing engaging interactions to questions. She had invited attorneys and scientists to present on their areas of expertise. Her students were excited before each guest and brainstormed lists of thoughtful questions to keep discussions engaging. This concept can easily be adapted to your Zoom classes; not only can you leverage guest speakers for your FPS students, but now you can combine classes or invite a broader audience to attend guest speaker sessions.
Virtual interactions to increase learning through FPS doesn't solely happen through a directed method such as a guest speaker or lecturer, but knowledge exchanges offer a lot of value too. A NYFPS teacher in Queens, NYC had connected her CmPS students with a class of FPS students in Texas to telling them about their CmPS project. The students were able to exchange ideas and best practices. This cross pollination kept students engaged and allowed them to gain the perspective of peers across the country. This can easily be coordinated for your virtual classes. A prepared agenda that ensures the session is productive will be essential to help guide students through engaging discussions.
As FPSers, we are able to identify and tackle challenges such as the ones we face in these uncertain times, but we should not pass on the opportunities to leverage the potential new ways to keep students engaged in learning.