How can we learn online

Learn and teach online

Do you have any other tips? Share your experiences with your colleagues and write to the editorial team at Redaktion (at) umwelt-im-unterricht.de. We will publish suitable information at this point.

How can I use the environment in class for learning with the Internet?

Lesson concept for independent work

If lessons are largely organized via the Internet, the pupils have to act independently to a great extent. Because teachers are not always present, the tasks must be suitable. They are as self-explanatory as possible and ideally so motivating that the students push them forward independently.

The content of environment in the classroom is generally well suited for this:

  • The lesson proposals are designed to be problem-oriented. At the beginning, key questions are asked.
  • The tasks are aimed at finding and documenting possible solutions.
  • The key questions illustrate why the topic is relevant from the point of view of the pupils (reference to the real world).
  • The methods are action-oriented. The pupils develop answers to the central question as independently as possible.
  • Finally, they usually document the results in the form of a media product.

This concept is well suited to formulating tasks for online learning. It stands behind all existing teaching suggestions from the environment in the classroom.

They can usually be customized and done online. The editorial team has already prepared a selection of ready-made proposals. Go to the proposals for secondary and primary schools.

How can the topics for online learning be customized?

  • Factual information by the teacher can be replaced by online sources, for example short ones Explanatory videos. The editors have compiled a selection of sources in the materials (secondary level and primary school).

  • research also take place largely online. In addition to information portals, documentation or magazine broadcasts in Media libraries and video platforms or podcasts (see material for secondary and primary school).

  • Results must be evaluated and documented. These are suitable media products like presentations. Diagrams or other digital formats such as maps or your own videos are also suitable.

All contents of Environment in Class can be used for your own products free of charge! (See below: Use Allowed Section)

Set tasks for independent processing

Set precise tasks

Whether by e-mail or on a learning platform: If the students are left to work on their own when processing tasks, it is all the more important to set good tasks. This includes taking the following into account and communicating clearly and precisely to the students in terms of language:

  1. What is the task?
    if necessary: ​​Which question should be processed?
    possibly: Which product should be created?

  2. How should the task be processed?
    if necessary sub-questions, steps of processing

  3. Which materials or aids should be used?
    links to online materials, if applicable
    if necessary differentiation, voluntary tasks, alternatives
    if necessary individual work or group work

  4. In what form should the work results be recorded

  5. How and when should the results be submitted?

  6. (How) can questions be asked?

  7. if necessary (how) can the students communicate with each other?

What is important for communication?

Reliable communication is particularly important without the possibility of direct consultation. Everything important should be planned in advance. The most important information should be sent briefly and clearly with the task. This includes:

  • How do we communicate?
    Which communication channels are used for what? For example, e-mail to send tasks and materials, queries via messenger, etc. Use as few channels as possible at the same time! A learning platform is useful, among other things, because it can be used to provide assignments and materials as well as for communication.
  • How and where can I ask questions?
    For example, fixed telephone consultation hours for the teacher, group chat via video, etc.
  • When and how do I have to be finished?
    Name dates for all important steps.
  • What to do with the results
    For example, sending it as a file by e-mail, uploading it to a dropbox or a learning platform, etc.
  • Where can I find this information again?
    It is advisable to use a central platform where everything important is also stored. For example, a page in the school blog, a learning platform, a "readme" file in the Dropbox, etc.

Note: As in face-to-face classes, everything will never work out as planned. The most important information and rules should be repeated often. They should also be checked regularly and adjusted if necessary. It can help to do this together when the opportunity arises: What works well? What can we improve?

Classes over the Internet: Do I need a learning platform or is e-mail sufficient?

Numerous initiatives are currently providing tips for online teaching. Many suggestions are complex and include tools such as learning platforms and video conferences. For most purposes, simple means such as email are sufficient. (See the following section).

The following checklist serves to clarify the requirements. This is important in any case - regardless of whether you start by email or want to set up a learning platform.

Checklist: How can I organize my classes on the Internet?

  • How do you contact the students? (for example personally by e-mail or via the e-mail addresses of the parents, via chat et cetera)
  • What options do the students have to work on the tasks? (own devices such as cell phones and laptops, parents' devices, possibly no devices?)
  • What materials are available to me? What is possibly already available online and can be used directly?
  • Does your school already have an online platform where you can make assignments or materials accessible?
  • Who can I ask at my school? For example: Which colleagues already have experience with digital tools?

The fewer resources are available and the more new questions arise from the checklist, the sooner you should start with simple resources (see the following section).

Entry with simple technical means

The options and tools are endless, but you can get started with very simple resources.

Communication of the teacher with everyone

  • Set tasks, send material: send e-mails to all addresses. (Set up distribution list. Note file sizes!)
  • Reminders, brief information on the process: E-mail or Messenger app (set up a group. Set up group rules.)

Questions, one-on-one discussions

  • E-mail, telephone (set office hours!), Messenger

Voting in the group

  • Messenger app (set up a group. Set up group rules.)
  • Simple video or telephone conference (e.g. Skype or Zoom)

Create documents

  • Create files "offline", exchange them via a Dropbox
  • Create text documents online and edit them together: "Pad", for example https://zumpad.zum.de
  • Google Office

Exchange files

Use shared storage on an Internet server: Dropbox and Google Drive are most popular. (Define rules for filenames and filing!)

Use allowed!

All texts from Environment in Classes may be used for teaching purposes free of charge and may also be changed. For example, they can also be included in your own worksheets, in learning platforms and online courses, or used for your own presentations, for posters or the school blog.

This also applies to most of the pictures. Work materials or worksheets are mostly available as changeable Word files.

Different rules may apply to individual images, because the editorial team also uses images from third parties.

You can find detailed information here.

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