For many students, going back to school in 2020 looked a bit different from previous years. For starters, they're not back in the classroom with in-person instruction, but in their living rooms on video chats and using various platforms to get work done.
With that in mind, it's important to create an e-learning space that promotes focus and organization while boosting productivity. A good example is creating a "learning pod" in the house. Keep reading for some helpful tips and tricks for at-home classrooms.
Create Learning Pods With A Room Divider
A great way to encourage focus and productivity is to create specific learning pods in the home. While not every family has a spare room for a makeshift classroom, creating compartmentalized pods works just as well!
A pod can be as simple as using a divider or a curtain to section off a room. This way, there are fewer distractions for the student, and they can focus on their video chats and written work. Not to mention it's almost like their own private office, which the student will appreciate!
A Designated Learning Area
Getting a young kid to focus on in-home learning might be tricky, especially when they're used to a designated desk in their school. So, to get them back in the "this is my learning space" mentality, try designating a specific area in the house for their schooling.
For example, buying a fun rug and placing it beneath their dedicated area will have the student associate that particular spot with school and learning. Try something educational like a solar system rug to spice things up!
Make The Area More Fun And Less Drab
Those in the workforce don't like looking at blank walls all day, so, it's safe to say kids don't particularly enjoy it either. To enhance their learning area, especially if their desk is facing a wall, think about throwing up some fun decals around their space.
Or throw up a corkboard and let them decorate their own space! A bit of color to brighten up their area can make a world of difference.
Set The Tone For Productivity With Educational Posters
Teachers tend to decorate their classrooms with educational posters to serve as points of reference for students. So, what better way to make their designated e-learning space "theirs" than to borrow a page out of the teacher's handbook?
Maps of the world, biology charts, and even a poster of the periodic table are great ways to decorate your child's learning space while keeping it educational. These types will set the tone for productivity while making the area less bland.
School-Inspired Furniture Is Key
Sitting on their bed or the living room couch is not a productive way to learn, as it doesn't separate home from school or work from play. A good way to trick your kid's brain into differentiating between the two is to adorn their learning area with school-inspired furniture.
Wooden tables, plastic chairs, and maybe a different colored rug can drastically help a child's focus, allowing them to switch gears when needed because they're "at school" and not comfortable in their living room.
Oversized Art Tables For The Younger Students
For those of you with younger students, they might be accustomed to sitting in larger arts and crafts-sized desks with their peers. And while a desk that big is probably not ideal for the home, something similar could help your child feel a sense of normalcy.
Even a single-child art table with fun art supply compartments could do wonders, helping them stay in "school mode" while they're still sitting at home in their living room.
Computer Pillow For A Flexible Seating Option
For many students, moving around a classroom to a new seat helps them refocus, compile their thoughts, and maybe even gain a new perspective on a problem they're trying to work out.
To help fuel this style of learning, think about a computer or tablet pillow. This way, the child can unplug their computer and move away from their desk a few times throughout e-learning. Getting a change of scenery does wonders for focus and productivity, even in working adults!
A Portable Lap Desk Is Another Flexible Seating Option
If a laptop and tablet pillow seems too comfortable and bed-like, doing the opposite for the student and making them unproductive, there's an alternative. Think about making or purchasing a tiny portable desk.
Whether they want to move from their desk and sit on the ground or outside on the grass for a bit, a portable desk is a great way to have a student move around will still maintaining a semblance of "this is still my school desk, and I'm learning."
A Professional-Looking Computer Chair
E-learning is a whole new experience for some students and finding the perfect chair to sit in while spending hours in front of a screen is one of the keys to success. Nothing is worse than going through hours in an uncomfortable chair while trying to pay attention to a presentation.
To help that uncomfortable and unfocused student, think about getting an ergonomic chair. This way, the kids are comfortable, focused, and aren't acquiring back problems before they're legally adults.
Natural Lighting To Help Awareness
For a lot of students, lighting is a key factor in how productive they will be throughout the day. That's why it's important to get them out of a dark bedroom and into a room with as much natural light as possible.
Open up those blinds, curtains, and shutters! Natural light works wonders, helping students not only focus but stay awake during e-learning. Not to mention opening windows will allow a fresh breeze into the house, keeping kids more alert.
Introduce As Much Structure As Possible
Until 2020, most students were accustomed to waking up in the morning, going to school, seeing their friends and teachers, and sitting at their designated desks. Now, everything's changed, and that structure they've grown to know has been thrown out the window.
So, it's more important than ever to introduce as much structure as possible into their daily routine. It could be practicing times tables at a certain hour of the day or making time to do an art project.
A Clock To Help Stay On task
Students are used to bells, teachers telling them time's up, and a clock located somewhere in the classroom to help keep track of tasks. Now that e-learning is the new norm, staying on task and focused is harder than ever for some students.
A good way to help maintain focus is to place a clock in their workspace. Even though they most likely have a computer or phone to help with time, there's something to be said about an old-fashioned analog clock to work the brain.
An Agenda Or Calendar To Help Stay Organized
With many schools adopting new schedules for e-learning, it's important to stay organized, whether that's with class times, assignments, or scheduled teacher meetings. Thankfully, there are a few tricks to help students stay on top of everything.
Agenda books, pocket schedules, or even dry erase calendars are a great way to help students maintain a sense of control in their schedule. Not to mention writing things down a few times is a great tool to help remember due dates and specific assignments.
Pack Lunch In A Lunch Box Or Paper Bag
A great way to maintain a sense of normalcy with e-learning is to ensure that students eat lunch as though there is time blocked out for the occasion, as it is in school. Pack lunches in their designated lunch boxes, pails, or even a paper bag.
This way, they'll know that once it hits a certain time, it's time to eat, giving them a chance to step away from their desk and computer screen for a much-needed break.
Staying Organized Is The Name Of The E-Learning Game
Staying organized is more than keeping tasks and assignments written down in a planner. Teachers have said that one of the biggest ways to promote focus is to make sure students' work stations, pods, and tables are clean and clear of clutter.
A clear space is more calming, and it is less distracting for students, having a positive impact on both their behavior and performance in the e-learning classroom. The good news is that there are a few tricks to help maintain order!
Organizational Bins For Binders, Books, And Papers
To help students keep their work station clean and clear of clutter, think about utilizing organizational bins for their books, binders, and other school supplies. Bins are a great way to maintain order, especially if they're organized by subject.
Grabbing a few bins from the hardware store and placing them near a students' work station will keep their desks open for e-learning while saving the time it would take for them to find the correct supplies or binder for class.
Mark And Label Organizational Bins
Another great way to help students stay organized while distance learning is to mark and label their organizational bins. This little tip goes hand-in-hand with keeping their workspace separate from their "normal home life."
Since students might be used to their school lockers or cubbies, having labeled bins is a great way for them to have a semblance of normalcy. They'll be able to relate the bins to their school supplies and not somewhere to store video games or their fun reading books.
Supply Carts Can Roam From Room To Room
Some students require a dynamic distance learning space. That means they might not particularly enjoy sitting in one spot for the duration of the day, being used to moving from classroom to classroom.
A great way to encourage their learning style is to have a supply cart that can be easily wheeled from one room to the next depending on where their "desk" is for the hour. This way, they're not wasting time finding various supplies and making multiple trips. Everything is right in the cart!
Have Chargers Present At All Times
Whether it's a laptop, cell phone, or tablet, e-learning requires technology to log into meetings, classes, and assignments. That means chargers are a new necessity.
If a student uses a personal laptop or tablet, they might take it with them to another room after school. So, it's a good idea to have them place all the necessary chargers near their work station at the end of each night. This way, they don't have to scramble around for one in the middle of class.
Get Dressed In Normal Clothing
One point that a lot of educators can't stress enough is students keeping a routine. That means getting up in the morning, making the bed, and getting dressed in something other than what they wore to sleep in the night before.
Getting dressed in regular school attire will help promote positive thinking, boost mental health, and help students feel somewhat normal while going through their distance learning day in and day out. Throwing on a pair of jeans instead of sweats can make a world of difference!