Distance Learning Tips for Technology

child in front of laptop with text "distance learning tech tips"

The start of this school year has not been easy and we have days of meltdowns and tears. My younger child is not attending virtual preschool. She is very curious about her big brother’s online classes and often watches from behind the scenes. My son’t teacher requests that siblings do not distract students during class. My son on the other hand complains about online learning. This is school without all the fun stuff like activities, recess, and even school lunch.

Teachers, kids, and parents are scrambling to learn how to navigate these new online classrooms. Here are distance learning tips to make online learning a little easier. I will be updating this page with new tips as the school year progresses.

Maximize Zoom for Distance Learning

Install Zoom for GSuite

Sync Zoom to your google calendar by installing the Zoom for GSuite. This will also add a link in the Gmail right side back to open zoom classes with one click. Installing Zoom for GSuite is needed to use the calendar on the Zoom desktop app.

Zoom icon in GSuite

How to set Zoom to Full-Screen

Set Zoom to enter full screen automatically. This prevents my kids from accidentally clicking on other programs and losing the Zoom screen.

Instructions: Settings > General > Click on “Enter fullscreen automatically when joining or starting a meeting”. 

How to enter full screen on Zoom

Organize Your Web Browser

Create a Bookmark Folder

Create a Google Chrome folder with links your child will use every day for quick access. Folder help to organize your bookmarks, especially if multiple people are using the same folder.

Instructions: 1) Right click on the bookmark bar, or control click on a Mac. 2) Name your folder. 3) Highlight the URL and drag it into the folder. Repeat for each page.

How to create a bookmark folder in the Chrome browser

Open Pages Automatically

Open all the pages that you need automatically when you launch the web browser. We are using Google Chrome but this feature is also available in most web browsers.

Instructions: First open all the pages that you want to have open each time you launch your browser. Next go to settings, scroll down to “on start-up”, then click on “use current pages”.

How to set google Chrome to open current pages

Make the Most of GSuite for Distance learning

Use Presentation View for Google Slides

Prevent kids from messing up Google Slide presentations by using a presentation link. In presentation mode the links and buttons will open with one click. The “view only” mode does not have this feature.

Instructions: The .GIF image below shows how to create a link that will open in presentation mode. Simply change the link from “edit” to “present”.

how to share a Google slide in presentation mode

Make a Classwork and Homework Checklist

If your teacher isn’t using the Google Classroom assignments feature, you can use the tasks panel in Gmail to create an interactive classwork and homework checklist. The checkbox animates when completed and is a small incentive for kids to finish tasks.

how to access the Gsuite tasks list

Keep Track of Important Info

Use the Gmail notes panel to keep track of important links and passwords so you don’t have to search through old emails.

how to access the Gsuite notes list

Device Suggestions for Distance Learning

Wireless headset

Are you kids’ classes too noisy and distracting you from your own meetings or work? Going wireless will allow your child to keep their headphones on during P.E. exercises or dancing in music classes.

We have the JBL kids headphones that come with a lifetime warranty. I wish we bought these first because my 6 year old has already broken two other headsets.

Google Home or Alexa for Distance Learning

Never be late for class! Set class reminders with your virtual assistant to broadcast alerts using Google Home or Alexa speakers. I can’t tell you how many classes we have been late for. This is a game-changer. Parents can focus on work without worrying about having to remind children to attend classes.

*Chinese learning tip: you can also play Mandarin podcasts and music through Google Home and Alexa to create a screen-free learning environment.

Make the most of online learning. Here is a list of Chinese learning apps to help you and your child learn Chinese.

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