The year of 2020 is almost coming to an end, and a lot has happened. Virtual learning has caught the attention of most educational institutions. While most people were on lockdown, many educators were online keeping their lessons going in the virtual classroom. Virtual learning has been here for a while, but this year, it became the new norm for learning at all levels.
We've learned a great deal about virtual learning, its benefits, what makes it useful to learners, and some tips every teacher should know. In this article, we’ll share the top five things for holding a successful virtual class for your remote students.
What Do You Need for Successful Virtual Learning?
1. A Designated Workstation
As a virtual teacher, you will be working from home most of the time, which means you should take the time to set a designated area for school work in your home.
Having a workstation in your home helps improve your productivity and focus. It also helps you split your work and home life. For example, whenever you sit on your office chair and get situated in your workspace, your mind can more easily switch over to work mode.
If you want to have a successful virtual class for your remote students, you should encourage them to set a designated school work area in their home as well. Whether it’s a desk in their room or makeshift workspace in the kitchen, this area should be designated for their school hours if possible.
Some factors that teachers and students should consider when setting up a working area include:
- Distraction: Your workspace should be quiet and comfortable to make it conducive for talking to students, tutoring, and grading. If possible, opt for a room with a door that you can close during school hours.
- Space: The room should allow enough space for setting your table and a comfortable chair. A spacious study area is a cozy spot for learning.
- Study supplies: The schoolwork area should have all the study supplies like pens, books, rulers, laptop, and other items to minimize movement and save time. You don't want your students to be interrupting the lesson or tutoring session because they have to keep getting up.
2. Get the Right Equipment
Hosting a successful virtual class is all about having the right equipment and supplies in place. Your students should have a computer, smartphone, or tablet to work on, as well as any other tools or materials they need.
Most students think that a smartphone is all they need to have a successful virtual class, but this is never the case. If you want your students to have the best experience with virtual learning, you have to recommend having the right supplies on hand.
A desktop or laptop is must-have equipment if you want your students to view the lesson full-screen. It is also easier to navigate content when browsing on large-screen devices. Plus, most virtual learning software works best on actual computers instead of phones.
3. Online Safety Is Key to Student Productivity
As a virtual teacher, you should know your students may not handle access to the internet as responsibly and with as much discretion as you. Yes, the internet is a library of information, but your students likely view it as a space for entertainment and fun. This also opens the door for security concerns and distractions, like accessing websites that contain adult content or misleading information.
However, you can use a web filter to control how your students use the internet when you're hosting your virtual class. Whenever your students participate in virtual learning, remind them that certain rules must be followed and adhered to at all times. To ensure your students’ online safety:
- Ask the students to remain indoors when having an online conversation with fellow students and teachers.
- Get school and parental consent when organizing an online activity with the students.
- Make all online conversations and interactions with students polite and focused on school.
- Use reliable and trusted online learning tools when interacting with your students. Some online tools may steal and share personal information. You can use a VPN to protect your network when having a virtual class.
4. Keeping Students Engaged and Motivated Is Necessary
Keeping your students motivated and engaged in a virtual class is one the biggest challenges when it comes to virtual learning. Most students feel disconnected from school work when learning from home. Taking e-learning seriously requires parent and teacher intervention.
As a teacher, you have a role to play in keeping your students engaged. Introduce some element of competition in the classroom to spice up learning. Game-based virtual learning is another way to help your students concentrate and stay interested during online classes.
With tools such as GoGuardian, you can always ensure your students are engaged throughout the learning process. The class management software helps you remove all distractions and keep your students focused on learning.
5. Ask for Feedback from Students
Virtual teaching is not all about issuing instructions to students. You should find out if your students are actually comprehending what you’re teaching, even if it feels repetitive. For example, sometimes students will ask questions about coursework or a topic you just covered. Make an effort to completely answer their question and test their comprehension, even when you'd already covered that on the coursework.
It may be necessary to clarify some concepts for students in a 1:1 conversation if you’re veering too far off course or if they’re the only one struggling with the specific topic. Being reachable and approachable as often as possible is one way of showing your students that you are always ready to listen to them. Direct your students to the right information source to help answer their questions and what they should do when stuck. You can use GoGuardian to manage your virtual class and respond to student questions, concerns, and feedback in a timely manner.
You can also build an online community for your virtual class. To encourage communication and interaction, ask your students to join group chats and use message boards and emails when they have issues that need your attention. Students can also interact with one another on message boards, which helps you collaborate and learn together.
We've learned so much from virtual learning this year. To host a successful virtual class, educators need to have the right equipment. For instance, you can invest in GoGuardian Suite to connect with students virtually, filter the content they access online, and keep track of students progress and well-being.
Having a successful virtual class is all about using the right tools and ensuring your students are motivated to attend and participate.