#EdTechBookClub – Book Summary – Teaching in the Online Classroom by Doug Lemov

February 28, 2021

#EdTechBookClub - Teaching in the Online Classroom by Doug Lemov

Every fortnight, at 7:30pm GMT, a group of likeminded people meet virtually on Twitter to engage in a discussion on a set book that has been voted for using the hashtag #EdTechBookClub. The club, run by @Mrs_Educate, is about engaging and sharing resources and you can easily follow via @EdTechBookClub1. The focus is enhancing EdTech knowledge and sharing resources and input based on manageable sections of the book, normally around 4 chapters, so that everyone can keep learning while supporting each other.

The latest book was Teaching in the Online Classroom by Doug Lemov which was chosen due to its relevance in the current EdTech situation. The book was an excellent read offering insights, ideas and examples based on hours and hours of study and observations of online classrooms. If you get the digital version you can easily access a link that takes you to watching teachers as they perform their online learning which offers real life takeaways and ideas.

The next book will be Rewiring Education by John D. Couch (Apple’s first Vice President of Education) and will start on 4th March 2021 at 7:30pm GMT. The first session will be to read the first five chapters and we will meet fortnightly after this.

Whose it aimed at?

Although the focus is obviously on the online classroom there are many sections that could be useful when back in the classroom or when using some form of blended learning. The advice and ideas can be used for all types of online learning, even if it’s in the classroom with the teacher. There is a chapter on asynchronous vs. synchronous learning and items could be adapted to all ages.

What’s the main focus?

The main focus is reviewing different forms of remote learning. Chapters include items like dissolving the screen, culture of attention and engagement, pause points, accountability and look, procedures and routines and classroom tech. Though the main focus is on online learning there is definitely plenty about in class learning too. Whilst reading the book I found that a lot of the items discussed were about bringing the ideas and concepts we use to make lessons successful into the remote learning environment. I felt a lot of the focus (quite rightly) was about having high expectations, giving clear instructions, allowing time to succeed and about making the pupils be seen.

How easy is it to read?

It is a very easy book to read and chapters are well ordered and have a review at the end to summarise the main points and findings, meaning I could use these when using the book for staff CPD. The language is simple and uses key phrases (e.g. asynchronous) to describe the different styles of teaching.

What’s the main takeaway?

That online-learning doesn’t need to be that different to our normal in class teaching, it is just how we choose to do it that we need to think about when planning lessons. Many of the items discussed, such as pause points and routines, are things we make sure we have in our face to face classroom. One way of delivering remote-learning is not seen as better than another, instead the book focuses on the best way of doing what works for individual schools or pupils, allowing all styles to be included and success.

What did we discuss in previous book club sessions?  

We discussed questions including –

Are you a ‘Live TV’ or a ‘Netflix’ teacher currently?

Have you managed to keep the atmosphere of the bricks and mortar classroom and fun in your lessons if they were asynchronous?

What do your visual prompts for remote learning look like?

How do you encourage your pupils to pause and consolidate? Which activities or tricks work best for this?

Can you share an opening sequence for a lesson that worked really well?

What tech did you find most hard to master during remote learning? What do you still want to master? Can we all help?

Favourite Part?

The real life examples! The digital book has easy clickable links that are password protected (by sections in the book) to allow you to see what the book talks about in action. It means we can see that it can be implemented by real teachers and shows what it can look like in the classroom. I also liked that there was no one set way defined as the best and the understanding that we are all doing the best we can and that that’s OK. It was a really useful and relevant book for the time but I think the ideas could transcend fully remote learning and be used when thinking about blended learning or just good classroom teaching.

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