Introduction 

All across the world there are many situations in which the physical presence of teachers and students together in the same classroom isn’t an option. Luckily, teachers can utilize video conferencing tools to facilitate online learning. 

During these difficult times of social isolation and digital learning, video conferencing tools are integral for teachers to achieve success in their digital classrooms. These tools can help keep students engaged and support their mental health by keeping them connected with their fellow classmates. Video conferencing tools allow teachers to maintain a human connection with students and foster their learning from afar. They can also be used to aid instruction and enhance students’ learning. 

In this article, we will outline the best video conferencing app for online learning and provide ways that teachers can use video conferencing software to enhance digital learning. 

What is the best video conferencing tool for online learning? 

All across the world, video conferencing tools are being adopted by schools to enhance live, online learning and increase student engagement. It has been somewhat of a lifesaver in these unexpected times. With the many options out there, educators may be wondering what video conferencing tool is best for online learning.

GoGuardian’s video conferencing software is safe for the K-12 environment and easy to use. It is designed to support district security and safety policies, and it comes built into a classroom management tool. This not only means the ability to share lessons to absent students, but also screen viewing capabilities, browser tab control, screen sharing, and accessibility from any device with the Chrome browser. 

How Teachers Can Use Video Conferencing Software to Enhance Online Learning 

Enable Small Group Discussion

One great way for teachers to use video conferencing software to enhance online learning is by getting students to participate in a small group discussion. The subject matter discussed may be a chapter of a book or textbook that was assigned for homework, a recent video lesson, or even a topic related to the subject area being studied. No matter the subject, a small group discussion gets students to engage with one another and provides them an opportunity to showcase what they have learned to their peers. 

Ideally, you can provide discussion questions to students in advance in order to allow them to think about them before starting the group discussion. Some teachers decide to let their students come up with discussion topics themselves via an online poll. 

Pre-Recorded Lectures 

In situations where teachers might use video conferencing software to simply transfer information—for example, a lecture—instead, consider recording a video and letting students self-pace through it. This allows for you to spend the valuable (and limited) time you have with students video conferencing on more collaborative and engaging tasks, and students can access the lesson later in an asynchronous learning format. Recording a lesson is also beneficial for students who are absent from class and need to catch up on the material later.   

Facilitate Instruction in Small Groups 

Teachers can use video conferencing equipment to host a series of short sessions throughout the day—each focused on a different skill or topic. This type of online session is a great way for you to connect with students. You can also share their screen to show specific topics, books, or posts to students as a visual guide.

In the event that all students are unable to attend a live education session due to issues involving access, availability, and connectivity, these sessions can be recorded and posted online for students to view at their convenience. 

Consider designing your schedules when hosting online learning sessions. Breaking sessions down into small groups helps to keep students engaged and makes the learning experience more meaningful for them. Be sure to leave time at the end for students to discuss and ask questions about the learning session. 

Talk One-on-One with Students

Speaking with students over a video conferencing system about their progress, goals, questions, and issues is a great way to take advantage of technology. You can build a schedule of available time slots using an online calendar to let students sign up for quick 5-minute conferencing sessions. You may wish to guide the session with a goal-setting activity, or you may find it more effective to host a free-form style of discussion. Find out what works best for your students. Having these optional video conferencing sessions available to students gives them a way to connect with you and get the support they may need. 

Get Experts into Your Online Classroom

An amazing thing about video conferencing software is that it allows teachers to bring experts from all over the world and from any imaginable discipline into their digital classroom. Finding a suitable expert may be easier than you realized. Did you know that you can sign up (for free) to have a NASA astronaut speak to your class over a video conference system? 

Many teachers have found success in cold-emailing prospective speakers. You never know who might agree to speak with your students unless you ask. Dream big and reach out to those individuals you think would have a positive impact on your students. 

Take Your Class on Virtual Field Trips 

Just because you can’t physically see your students doesn’t mean you can’t take them to an incredible place. Thanks to video conferencing equipment, students can travel all over the world—without a passport. Look for opportunities to expose your students to different cultures and places. There are many organizations that help teachers facilitate virtual field trips. One option for teachers is to check out Discovery Education’s virtual field trip opportunities

Some teachers find success in connecting their classroom to another classroom in a different part of the world. Students get the opportunity to learn about a different culture and way of life than they are used to. It can greatly broaden a student's understanding of the world. 

Conclusion 

Video conferencing software is a great way for teachers to stay connected with students when physically seeing them is not an option. It can keep students engaged and help them through social isolation. Although there are many video conferencing options, many teachers find GoGuardian to be the best video conferencing tool available for teachers and educators because of its security features and built-in classroom management solutions. Teachers can use video conferencing software, such as GoGuardian Teacher™, to enhance online learning, including enabling small group discussion, pre-recording lectures, facilitating instruction in small groups, talking one-on-one with students, getting experts into your online classroom, and bringing your class on virtual field trips.