Normalcy. It’s something that’s in short supply currently. We can’t visit the places we’re used to visiting. We can’t see the people we’re used to seeing. For many of us, work doesn’t look like work. And for many kids, school doesn’t look like school.
Still, there are still some things that are familiar. Schedules are still full of meetings for adults, and assignments and tests are aplenty for the kids.
But some things can’t go on so easily—that's not to say people aren’t trying. Many organizations are experimenting with adapting existing after-school programs to be held online. Going virtual may seem complicated, but it’s not all that difficult. Keep these four things in mind when creating your virtual after-school program.
Where will you get your curriculum from?
The very first thing you need to consider is where your curriculum is going to come from. There are two options: You can create it yourself, or you can purchase or source it from somewhere else such as one of ACTIVE's partners Brain Chase.
No matter which route you chose, it’s important to remember that an after-school program is just that: after school. It shouldn’t be a continuation of the learning kids just spent the entire day doing. It needs to be engaging, it needs to be active and it needs to be hands on.
Pro tip: Many non-profit organizations offer curriculum for after-school programs. Much of it is health- and science-based but are still great options if your organization is on a budget and in need of free resources.
Which web conferencing tool will you use?
This is may be the biggest decision you’ll have to make when organizing your virtual program. There are more than enough choices on the market, ranging from the very simple to the very complex.
Google Hangouts and Zoom are some of the easiest platforms to use. Both are easy to set up and easy to use. They’re also popular, and many households may already know how to use them. In fact, with the spotlight on it, Zoom has made an effort to improve its security, privacy and functionality even more, so you can feel comfortable using it with children in your programs.
If you’re looking for a platform with more breadth, there are other software options with more extensive functionality that might be a better fit. The most important thing to do is research all the options and find the best fit for you.
Which learning management system will you use?
A learning management system is software that helps you manage and administer a course. It’s not a must-have for running a virtual after-school program, especially if your program is going to be very simple, but it is something you may want to consider if your program begins to grow in size and content.
Which registration and class management tool will you use?
Class management and registration tools aren’t the same as learning management systems. An LMS is concerned with the actual coursework, the management of the classroom and the documentation of the things . Class management tools are used to help with registering participants for a course, paying for a course and communicating with the registrants and their parents. The right software can even help with marketing.
An all-in-one solution, like ACTIVENet can free up staff to more efficiently administer your after-school program so you can spend more time on what really matters: creating a well-rounded experience for your participants.