Asynchronous Teaching and Learning
Platforms that allow for students to interact with teachers can take many forms, including a place for students to submit assignments, for educators to provide readings and give feedback, and for interactions among students. During a crisis (or for exclusively online schools), these platforms can be he sole source of student/teacher interaction.
The other form of asynchronous learning is social media. During a crisis, these platforms can become the sole sources of interaction between young people and the world outside their home. Young people need social interaction at all times. When a local, regional, or global crisis necessitates restrictions in-person interactions, social media can allow for a semblance of continued engagement. Educators and organizations can benefit from this need for social interaction and interact with a substantial youth audience online. Other platforms that may be utilized during a crisis include radio and television. Finding the platforms that youth are most likely to engage with is the most important part of deciding where to put the most energy in content creation.
There are pros and cons to asynchronous learning platforms.
- Organization – you can readily create a calendar-based organization system that allows students to easily follow along over time.
- Time for reflection – participants are never put on the spot, but rather really have time to dig into their thoughts before providing answers.
- So many resources! – this modality really lends itself to a network of information gathered from across the web.
- Constant connection – social media in particular allows for participants (i.e., followers) to stay engaged with CSE related topics for a much longer time than any other learning structure.
- It’s easy to be distracted – with so much text and so little real-time interaction, participants who are not excited about asynchronous learning are often lost very quickly.
- It’s hard to be trauma-informed – without being able to see participants, you must rely on them to directly share if something is upsetting or triggering.
- Very few pedagogical ideas/insights for LMSs – these platforms just haven’t yet inspired substantial evidence-based (or even evidence-informed) creativity on the part of facilitators and teachers.
Asynchronous education requires a commitment to production costs. Without video and image production, asynchronous education falls back exclusively on written text, which young people often see as boring and not worth their attention. In a world where a person’s attention is often sought after and fought for, educational systems often need to engage at least somewhat in this process. This is even more true during a crisis, when young people’s attention is often at an even higher premium.
While free or very cheap image and video editing programs do exist (the smartphone app market is a great place to look for these), using them effectively, knowledgeably and in a way that has on-point information requires skill. These are skill sets that are best built pre-crisis so that they are ready to be employed when a crisis strikes.