Challenges of teachers and schools implementing online learning

Dear Educators,

March 27 was the final day of discussion sessions to gather issues, ideas, and questions from teachers around the world. Acacia professors met with about 75 educators to plan and share sessions for the next two months that address many of the challenges and questions posed. Thanks to the teachers and administrators that met and shared with us and please join us in the upcoming sessions based on your ideas and questions.

Remember that being an effective educator is the hardest job in the world, but when it provides opportunities for others to open doors and fulfill dreams, it becomes the best job in the world! Acacia University is named after the “Tree of Life” or the “Tree of Knowledge”, as it is known in many cultures. Life-long learning is our vision.

Hope to see you in a session soon! Happy Learning!

Challenges of teachers and schools implementing online learning
March 27, 2020
(Notes from all sessions)

March 27 Sessions included teachers/administrators from Egypt, Turkey, Germany, Saudi Arabia, China, US, and Emerites

Issues: Organizing classroom; limited time with students; group collaboration; school needs to have specific tools to use to help organize and for equity; Internet availability and access; computer access at home; teachers do not know how to use Internet tools; overwhelming for teachers to use tools; parents feeling overwhelmed; teachers need a “catch-up” day without computer interaction, teacher, scoring, etc.; amount of work generated for teachers and students is excessive; use of Zoom putting pressure on parents to help with work if teachers only assign work; parents are overwhelmed; teachers have to tailor lessons to parent schedules, creating more of a burden on teacher; older students doing internal chatting so online is not taken seriously; there is a lot of trial and error in determining options;

Solutions discussed:

  • Use chat, whiteboard through Zoom
  • Have a waiting room on zoom
  • Choose apps that are easy to use by teacher and student
  • Set up ways for collaboration among teachers
  • Determine standards for materials used
  • Set specific time schedules for teachers and students - coordinate at school level
  • Consider screen casting and use simple apps for doable assignments
  • Limit assignments to 20 to 25 minutes and limit the total of assignments per student to two hours per day
  • Determine that assignments are balanced with other that do that don’t require the computer
  • Stay in pace with technology options and offer viable pathways for learning
  • Create a document where teachers record the week’s assignments and approximate time each will take
  • Take attendance through Google docs
  • Elementary teachers plan for two days and smaller chunks of work instead of week’s work Avoid busy work and worksheets
  • Give students timely responses
  • Explore one tool to help build empathy - “behavioral super powers” process to help everyone understand behaviors and develop more empathy
  • Share screen so parents can see work or use videos and voice to explain what they see
  • Use whiteboard to explain to students and disable annotators for students so that they don’t write on whiteboards and this allows only the teacher to explain
  • Use a picture of your classroom as a virtual screen to make students feel more comfortable
  • Mute students for 5 min at the beginning and unmutes one by one to answer questions
  • Add audios to PPT and have introductory slides with steps, objectives and protocols/rules for online classroom participation
  • Use display annotations for participants
  • Have a slide at the end of PPT for parent resources and for learning at home
  • Record session and offer link so that students can replay and review lessons.
  • Offer recording link via hyperlink software Microsoft Outlook and One Drive
  • Click on new share when using Whiteboard for two screens.
  • Control the mute button for sessions like show and tell so that all students have opportunities to talk
  • Use YouTube videos and games for more interaction with small children, especially when you have long sessions


  • What are ways to utilize Zoom tools?
  • What are some tips that are easy and simple to use?
  • How can teachers post and students to retrieve materials?
  • How can assign work that is not overwhelming for students?
  • How can teachers record student attendance?
  • How can teachers communicate and share?
  • What professional development for teachers is necessary to do distance learning effectively?
  • How can we support teachers planning with actionable goals?
  • How can teachers plan time for group collaboration as well as timely feedback with students?
  • How can teachers build community among children online who only see each other infrequently?
  • How can students keep engaged when using Zoom?
  • How do you use Zoom rooms?
  • How can teachers be more organized with time schedules for students and parents?
  • How can we use Google and Microsoft Teams for instruction?
  • How do we raise awareness for parents regarding remote learning?
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