Lessons Learned from Virtual Learning: NoVaEdChat Recap-3/7/2021

On March 3, 2021, I was honored to cohost #NoVaEdChat as we discussed the lessons of virtual learning. It was an amazing chat with so many lessons shared that I wanted to amplify them past just one night. So if you missed it- no worries. In this blog post, I am not just sharing my voice but so many others. I hope as you read this post, you too come away with reading this, full of ideas to go forward. Thank you to everyone who participated in the chat and all of your wonderful shares.

  • Learning from anywhere.

  • I'll be back. (I say to my students as my browser fades and nothing is responding.)

  • You are muted

  • Change, options, surprise

  • Exploration, discovery, efficiency


  • Zoom, patience, and long (days).

  • Virtual learning= time, connections, planning.

  • Virtual learning makes me think of the saying “when life gives you lemons...


  • Patience and grace are necessities .

  • So many lessons... Our kids are capital “R” Resilient. Leadership is difficult. Flexibility is a very underrated personality trait. Relationships and teamwork really are

  • Give people grace and (not new) connections before content.

  • I have learned that what I was doing before was not working for many kids. Having #edtech tools that allow students the opportunity to explore and manipulate the mathematics has transformed my practice and has boosted student engagement

  • I have learned that we need to exercise patience as we’re getting familiar with various learning platforms. I am trying to find creative ways to get all of my scholars engaged (so I’m looking for activities to motivate them while they’re learning virtually)

  • So many lessons... Our kids are capital “R” Resilient. Leadership is difficult. Flexibility is a very underrated personality trait. Relationships and teamwork really are .

  • Lessons I have learned: You have to be both direct, yet concise in explanations, instructional videos are a must, and provide examples whenever you can!

  • From both virtual substituting and planning virtual lessons I have learned to always have a backup plan with technology and to let the students be the teachers bc this generation knows a lot about tech and we can always learn from them!

  • I also learned that I needed to work harder to engage my scholars since we were no longer in the same physical space

  • Try and adjust! We must be in that cycle constantly. Reflection and feedback are key to adjusting.

  • I have learned that connections are key, and experiences are only as good as the attitude you bring to them

  • Building student engagement and relationships is very important for success.

  • I learned that the relationships I cultivated over the last 5 years were essential to surviving virtual learning.

  • Ss are way ahead as native users of technology, Surface details still convey in virtual learning, more of s village are stakeholders because of the tech, this past year really pushed me as a learner, I learned I’m group sensitive. Now choose s groups, sensitively.

  • It is really important to consider and teach more than just the content knowledge I am responsible for delivering. Lessons learned - I need to let go of checking a box of content covered and focus on learning.

  • Virtual has made me be more productive and useful with my time and planning.

  • I would re-evaluate how standardized testing is the gold standards for accreditation and students success. I would also encourage schools to reconsider strict dress code policies to create a comfortable atmosphere for our scholars.

  • Some kids thrive in the virtual world. We need to find a way to keep some kids virtual for mental health. I'm also keeping #Nearpod. Its AMAZING.

  • I’ve really enjoyed seeing teachers use different strategies to make student thinking visible. Not just as assessment, but to create S to S learning too. Visible thinking is a keeper!

  • Definitely going to continue using Choice Boards to allow for more student agency (and for PDs also!). More ways to show engagement rather than the "raise your hand and answer" (interactive slides, Pear Deck)

  • A couple teaching practices I'd like to keep are going paperless (or mostly paperless) and taking a couple minutes or each class to work on relationship building

  • Also, any meeting that reasonably can be held virtually should be held virtually in the future.

  • Allow students multiple modes of communication. Communication through tech is still communication. We need to be mindful of our students' SE barriers & how we can mitigate them to ensure our they have the opportunity to grow.

  • I've learned to practice better balance & been able to attend/participate in more CT planning/convo

  • I like using the breakout rooms, polls and Q&A features of Google Meets. Most teachers already use small groups, but I think polls can be involved in any class (and especially to teach about civics). I also really like using Jamboard as a exit ticket alternative.

  • A designated time to work on assignments without adding new ones. Frequent check for understanding , the ability to continue to chat with students on IM during lesson

  • I would encourage myself and my colleagues to be flexible as we’re moving forward in an unpredictable environment (at that time). It’s okay if we don’t have the answers to everything at that moment but be patient and we will obtain the information.

  • Oof. If I could tell a colleague something, it would be “If anyone can do the impossible with nothing, it’s teachers.” If I could tell myself something? “Don’t be afraid to put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.

  • Build your foundation on relationships. Differentiate often. Be flexible with your plans. Work together. Don’t be fake about how weird this is. Use this as an opportunity to be creative

  • If I could tell my self something it would be to not be afraid to use technology, not be afraid to step outside my comfort zone, have lots of back up plans & mistakes are going to happen- not every lesson will work out and that’s okay just take it and fix it for the next day.

  • I would encourage myself and my colleagues to be flexible as we’re moving forward in an unpredictable environment (at that time). It’s okay if we don’t have the answers to everything at that moment but be patient and we will obtain the information.

  • Take a deep breath and remain calm! Have a backup plan.

  • Myself: Do the best you can and give yourself room to make mistakes - learn - grow - do better for the Ss. Colleague: We should be asking the Ss for feedback an what we are creating for them. We need to be willing to adjust our practice to meet their needs.

  • My advice would be patient & know you’ll persevere. Use supports available... they are all around.

  • We cannot control everything. You will not make everyone happy. Do your best and be proud of your growth during this journey.

  • Learn One tool at a time , sweetie, one tool

  • I would tell myself to manage my time wisely!

  • My March 2020 advice to myself is start small. Give some options, use few tools and wait for proficiency levels to increase before throwing something new in the mix

  • We are adaptable, capable, creative, and in this together

  • It won't be perfect and that's ok. Spend time setting expectations and amp up the SEL early with frequent check ins and coping lessons. Be ready for the long haul!

  • Ditch the long (> 5 min) youtube videos. Definitely no PDFs or worksheets. Find really short(1-3 min) EdPuzzle videos and use those AFTER exploring concepts in Graspable Math and/or Desmos.

  • Inequities exist where we least expected it.

  • The virtual environment has revealed that we need to examine the current strategies used to educate our special population (ex. ELL, Sped population, Socioeconomic, etc) and see if they’re effective.

  • I think about this w/ how we include our students w/ IEPs & 504s and how we are making accommodations. I think it would much be harder to make sure those students are with us and on task virtually so thinking about how we can provide equal opportunities for all students (UDL).

  • A lot of kids chose not to participate in school with parental consent. This surprised me. We have approx 25% dropping out. This crisis is largely going unchecked.

  • I think it's shown how deep the technological divide is, and it also shows that many of our families with the greatest tech needs also are the ones who feel the greatest need to keep their students virtual

  • Disparities are part of all spaces and servings in education. Ss did a really good job of tucking In the impact of their home lives and the their lack or resources until they had to open up their screens and therefore their homes. Let’s not forget it.

  • Beyond the tech what I keep coming back to is the expectation that all students have the tools (quiet space, time management, distraction management) and support to manage virtual learning.

  • I’ll admit that I underestimated how much of a gap there still is with at-home internet access and quality. Even with mifi’s and new laptops, it’s still an issue for many S’s and has a tremendous impact on their ability to participate.

  • Simply giving a person (staff or student) doesn’t equal accessibility or equality.

  • There's such a big equity gap in access to quality internet, quality food, safe housing. I am thankful that most communities have come together to support each other day after day.

  • Just because our students have grown up with technology doesn’t mean they know how to use it responsibly for education, or that they have had reliable access to it. We need to provide basic skills and access for our students to meet them where they are.

  • Providing access to tech, including assistive technology needs, parental supports, and ways to access virtual learning that meet the unique learner's needs

  • I've seen huge differences in knowledge of navigating tech. We need to support families in learning how to navigate in an online environment for themselves, not just our students

  • With grace, we will reach every child and meet them where they are at.

  • Mine - “Local school staff bands together to do the impossible. Survives!” My kids (hopefully) - “Virtual learning was weird... but Mr. Matthews made it fun!”

  • A little rough around the edges but we keep smooth ,

  • Breaking News! Area Teacher finds Virtual Teaching exactly as hard as she thought it would be, but is shocked by her ability to engage, adapt, and revolutionize her profession. Details would be at 11, but she’ll be asleep by then.

  • Trust the process. Often times we get in our own way with WHAT IFs. Sometimes we need to take it one step at a time

  • We're all in this together!

  • “Unmasking Opportunities while Learning Virtually.” Just because the environment has shifted does not mean opportunities are limited. I think my scholars will agree because I challenge them to put their best foot forward.

  • Local Teacher Looking Into Less Stressful Options - Considering Lion Taming, Sword Swallowing, and Racecar Driving.

  • Voluntary staff meetings multiple times a month to get information, build relationships, and enjoy human interaction

  • I would like to see the amount of choices we give students stay after Covid as well as using more technology in in person classrooms and I think both of these go hand in hand

  • “Grace” for ourselves, our colleagues, and our students. Shifting from “What could possibly be keeping them from xyz” to “You never know what is going on in someone else’s world.” A true mindset shift that I am embarrassed it took a pandemic to illuminate.

  • Feedback over grades. Learning over completion of tasks. Focus on connections.

  • I'd encourage continued exploration into equitable grading practices.

  • As I stated earlier, we have to find a way to keep virtual learning as an option. The stories I could tell of the mental and academic growth of some of my scholars... mind blowing!

  • One practice to keep in place is having more virtual options available for both student and educator learning. By doing so, we can promote equity and access of resources to everyone we serve in our communities.

  • I'd like to see more versatile classroom environments, allowing Ss more choices for how they want to learn, whether it's face-to-face, blended or fully virtual.

  • Things that should still be in education after the pandemic: self-paced, adaptive activities to meet students' needs, use of flipped classroom for more individualized support in the classroom.

  • Asynchronous professional learning opportunities