The virtual classroom has taken center stage as more students are pushed into digital learning environments. Although traditional schools offer a lot to students—counseling, meals, extracurriculars, social-emotional learning—there is a general consensus that things need to change. So, while this push into everyday online teaching may be temporary, there are likely to be comprehensive and lasting changes to education. What we will see is the implementation of technologies for teachers and students, both in the classroom and out. This is beneficial because it offers students a range of options that suit their learning needs.
The problem with this is that teachers often aren’t trained on how to properly implement technology in the classroom. They’re trained to build and execute lesson plans and build connections with students. They’re taught to teach the whole child. But when education is brought online, it can be difficult to know how to translate those lessons.
To help teachers cope with the sudden change into online learning, we’ve put together the top virtual classroom tips to help educators succeed.
Virtual Classroom Tips for Educators
Technology for teachers has incredible benefits, just as all technology does. It allows teachers to plan their lessons faster and with more precision. It provides the chance to add resources, such as videos and more engaging slideshow presentations. Plus, classroom technologies allow for gamified learning in a way that the digitally native students of today can truly grasp. While it can make teaching difficult, especially in the beginning, learning how to implement technology in the classroom and online can be beneficial for students and teachers. Here are some tips for the virtual classroom.
Today there are hundreds of options when it comes to technology for the classroom, but not all of them are the right fit. Some are hastily thrown together, while others aren’t easy to use. It’s best that you do your research ahead of time. Diligently search for apps and programs that suit your teaching style, get to know them, and work toward including them in your lesson plan. They don’t have to supplement your teaching, but they can aid in helping students grasp content more thoroughly. You can only teach in one style at a time, but integrating educational apps can help you meet the needs of all of your students.
Prepare Your Audience
Not only do you have to know your audience and what they need, but you also have to know the logistical details of connecting with them in a digital classroom. This means teachers should start with the basics: email addresses, registration forms, and confirming everyone has a secure internet connection. Additionally, it’s important to inform students that they’ll need working headphones and all the downloads and plugins necessary to complete the lesson. Teachers should be clear of the goals and discuss them openly with the class. Finally, make sure to keep your students’ learning styles in mind when gearing up for each lesson.
Keep It Engaging
Teachers today struggle with creating engaging lessons, whether in a traditional classroom or within the digital space. To keep lessons engaging online, most educators use slides, videos, pictures, or use a webcam while you’re speaking to them. You can also use tools such as polls, hand-raising tools, chat features, and questionnaires. Though you’re all online in separate rooms, you can enjoy doing classroom and group activities through various tools such as Buncee.
Establish Rules and Guidelines from the Beginning
Creating and discussing guidelines in the virtual classroom can help provide students with the structure they need to succeed. This may mean setting deadlines for their school work or requiring students to consistently participate in day-to-day lessons. Simple rules like ensuring students still digitally raise hands with questions and complete work without outside help can be the difference between struggling students and successful ones. Easy guidelines like the aforementioned can provide enough structure for a student to continue learning and engaging.
Measure Success and Provide Feedback
One of the most difficult things about working in a virtual classroom is that students don’t always know if they’re on the right track. They may need additional help understanding something or need an explanation of why they are falling behind. Ensure that you’re accurately measuring the success of your students and that they’re getting comprehensive feedback on their work. You can also discuss with your students how they think they’re doing in a class, identify areas of improvement, what they want to learn, and how they think their lessons can improve to meet their needs. Use online quizzes to create assessments on their learning, and take polls and questionnaires to help you assess their experience online.
Build a Strong Online Community
One of the greatest benefits that students receive from being in a classroom is the sense of community. This is still achievable online, though it requires more time and effort. You can do so by allowing students to ask questions and make requests. Teachers can also implement more classroom games and group assignments. It’s important to encourage students to send helpful messages to each other and ensure regular communication. Try using apps that help the whole class to see each other or their input regarding a lesson. Community is important to keep students motivated and engaged in learning.
As students spend more time in the virtual classroom, it’s important to make sure they’re safe online. You can do this with web-safe browsers, web content filtering, and monitoring software that ensures their safety while they browse online. Learn more about web software for schools at GoGuardian.