It probably sounds impossible but if done correctly this will allow you to add to their learning techniques which aren’t possible within a regular classroom. Remember, it’s not usually possible to simply recreate the classroom environment online. Think about what you are trying to achieve with your lesson plan and what information you can share, and how you can then support the learners in the time you have.
SOME TOP TIPS
- Establish connectivity with learners beforehand. Make sure they can connect with Audio and Video before the session so that if they need any technical support etc. this can be dealt with prior to the session. You don’t want technical problems when you’re supposed to be teaching.
- Have a clearly structured presentation. The best approach is to Time Chunk, sounds kind of basic but takes on a whole new level of significance when your audience isn’t quite so captive.
- Establish the ground rules for the session – online etiquette. This will be new to both sides so ground rules will be appreciated all round. Examples include:
- Mute microphones if not speaking
- Raise your hand if wanting to speak.
- Avoid asking open questions, have a rota of who is asked, everyone trying to speak at once in a virtual classroom is bedlam.
- Ensure that your learners are set to mute when they enter the room to minimise distractions.
- Look directly at the camera to establish eye contact and build rapport. ensure you are far back enough to get a range of non-verbal feedback. It can also mean that as you’re looking into the camera you’re looking directly at each learner and can actually establish more rapport than in a classroom.
- Speak and engage with learners as though you were in class. Don’t get too concerned with the new medium, it’s still the transfer of ideas from one human to a group of others, not as much has changed as it might appear.
- Use learners’ names a lot more as you’re looking at a camera and they’re looking at a screen, they may have no idea who you’re really looking at or talking to unless you explicitly state their name.
- Ensure sessions are recorded and the recordings shared with learners. This is important for learners who might lose connections etc, and means they can review the lesson (a bonus feature they don’t get in school!)
- SEND – Use dyslexic friendly fonts and colours. Use pictures and not lots of text. Any learners who might have unidentified learning difficulties might find their coping strategies are challenged in this new environment. https://www.dafont.com/lexia-readable.font
Socrative (Polling, Quizzes & Exit Tickets) https://socrative.com/#login
Ziteboard (Interactive/collaborative whiteboard) –https://app.ziteboard.com/
Class flow (Manage class activities online) – https://classflow.com/en-gb/
Screencast-o-matic (create screen recordings, for creating content) https://screencast-o-matic.com/
PLANNING YOUR SESSIONS
- Make use of their workspace. In a virtual classroom, you can take advantage of their surroundings. Doing a session on health and safety? then add a ten-minute activity where they have to go around their workplace and take pictures of hazards? There will be things you can do virtually which are impossible in a regular classroom environment.
- Time Chunk If you’re presenting as a video then you’re competing with TED talks and YouTube. The Pomodoro technique can be excellent for this. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pomodoro_Technique
- Break your lesson into 30-minute slots, give each an objective. roughly 10 minutes delivery of theory, 10 minutes activity/consolidation, 5 minutes checking learning and 5-minute discussion repeat per objective. The activity can be something simple as a discussion, the use of interaction and discussion is more important with remote learning as it can be more anti-social both for the teacher and the learner. plan for interaction and discussion but control it well.
- Start the session a few minutes early so that everyone can be in and ready to start, and any technical issues don’t impact the session. 10 minutes is usually enough.
- Take a register (for normality’s sake) and ask people to make it clear beforehand if they cannot attend then start on time, don’t hang around waiting for latecomers unless you have a small group and know why people are running late. If you record the session they can catch up afterwards.
- End with an exit ticket – Socrative does a good online exit ticket, which lets you do a basic assessment of how well learning has gone.
We know you’ll all have great tips, tricks and advice to share. Please add comments below and we’ll attempt to edit them in.