The Complete Teacher


Digital Learning: Best Practices for Educators

Posted by Hlengiwe Zwane on 06 May 2020, 16:20 SAST
Hlengiwe Zwane photo
As schools around the country shift to digital learning to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) offers the following recommendations for creating a digital learning plan that maintains a high quality of public education for all students.
Take time to prepare. 

Allocate at least one day to allow educators to familiarize themselves with digital learning formats, test functionality, and troubleshoot issues.

Focus on accessibility. 
Accessibility for all students and stakeholders is critical. The needs of English-language learners, students with disabilities, and families must be considered, and efforts made to provide instruction and critical information in the languages that students and families speak at home.

Protect your students’ privacy. 
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) dictates the kinds of information that educational agencies and institutions can collect, maintain, and disclose with permission. Safeguarding personal data of students and educators must be a top priority, and data privacy must be of paramount concern. Educators should not publicise identifiable information of students and should take care to comply with FERPA in addition to state and district policies. For more, check out our deep dive on digital learning privacy issues.

Ensure digital equity & design independent learning. 
Equity is an important obstacle to consider in preparing for digital learning. Not all students and their families have sufficient internet access at home, so you may have to make alternative arrangements. Ensure that your plan considers both family access to technology and Wi-Fi and capacity for families to be involved in the digital learning process.

Communicate daily schedules & set clear expectations with students and families. Consistent and clear communication between administrators, staff, parents, and students is crucial throughout digital learning. Ensure that frequently asked questions have answers so that everyone is on the same page, and be prepared to provide extra support so that students know when to be online and everyone involved knows how to ask for help.

Provide robust learning. 
Break learning up into small chunks. Be clear about online expectations and participation, and provide prompt and frequent feedback to students using online knowledge checks and comments. Be sure to include virtual meetings, live chats, and video tutorials as much as possible.

Choose the right tools and stick with them. 
There are a variety of free apps and digital resources available to keep students as engaged as possible. But rather than trying to use all tools available, stick to a few so that families and students aren’t overwhelmed.

Address the emotional toll. 
It’s important to check in with students and colleagues, especially those who are less comfortable with digital tools and digital learning. While there is a convenience to working from home, it can be challenging to keep to a regular schedule. Some things that can help include taking regular breaks, making time to exercise and move, keeping a regular sleep schedule, limiting distractions when possible (e.g., social media), setting daily goals, and being sure to take time to socialize (at a safe distance) and decompress.

Make it official. 
Create your Digital Learning Plan incorporating the above guidelines as a living document that’s shared, constantly reviewed, and adapted as changing circumstances require, but always focused on student learning.


By: National Education Association
Published: 05/06/202

There are no comments

Sign in to add your comment.

Recent Posts

Building better relationships between parents and teachers
View our resources on parent-teacher collaboration It has been proven that positive connections...
read more
Five career tips for your students
View our resources on Teaching vocation here When students think about their future careers, they...
read more
Five essential skills to prepare students for the future
. View resources on career guidance As educators, we constantly look for ways to prepare our...
read more
Increasing literacy at the local level
The global and governmental levels for improving and promoting literacy will take efforts worldwide,...
read more
Developing literacy skills
Our resources The big four to foundational phase literacy Promoting literacy development with...
read more
How to keep your classroom in line
The management of misbehaving students can be one of the most challenging aspects of teaching. It...
read more
Top 3 factors of creating a positive classroom climate
Creating a positive classroom climate may seem challenging at first glance but there are three...
read more
Changing bad habits for the better
Bad habits, and the factors behind them, are often one major obstacle between you and your goals....
read more
Top 5 reboots for our teachers
Now is a good time to set goals for the new year. Below are tips for you to keep in mind and...
read more
Understanding learning barriers
When there is so much to take in, learning barriers can feel like swallowing an elephant. It's easy...
read more

Go to blog