Today, nearly every K-12 and higher-ed institution has been pushed to use and rely on synchronous online learning. Virtual classrooms have allowed students to continue learning from the safety and comfort of their own homes. But virtual classrooms don’t come without challenges, especially for those engaged in hybrid teaching. Solid hybrid teaching strategies and virtual classrooms can be augmented by virtual teaching tools.
Clovis Chow is the founder of the educational and student blog TimeOrganizeStudy. “An engaging learning experience is one that utilizes the learning materials online to enhance the learning experience for the student,” says Chow. “These materials can be YouTube videos, visual diagrams, mind maps and more.”
Whether it’s a new teacher needing teaching tools for virtual learning or a seasoned veteran hoping to refine their virtual or hybrid classrooms, teachers at all levels can leverage a wide range of virtual teaching tools to engage students and boost learning.
Assignments, Polls and Quizzes for Virtual Learning
Virtual teaching tools for teachers can go a long way toward streamlining many of the administrative aspects of teaching, from making assignments to giving quizzes to conducting polls. Teachers have the ability to provide consistent feedback to students about how they’re doing, says Seth O’Bryan, director of social and environmental sustainability and upper school mathematics with The Harley School. Students can also have access to their scores, grades and feedback through the LMS or real-time during class time.
Screen Sharing for Virtual and Hybrid Classrooms
Dr. Deb Geller is associate dean of students at UCLA. “Platforms like Zoom allow you to share your screen, which means you can play video and audio clips through your computer,” says Geller. “Sharing your screen also allows you to utilize the many online game tools to create educational tools,” she says. “Jeopardy can be an effective tool for assessing comprehension.” Augment these capabilities with tools like Kahoot, which can be used to create games that help to reinforce the content while allowing students to have fun. It’s a great tool for use with students of all ages.
Another virtual teaching tool that more and more teachers are beginning to incorporate into their virtual classrooms is pre-recorded videos. Recording and making these videos available to students before class can free up more time during class for discussion. The ability to use screen sharing to share video and audio makes it easy for teachers or students to refer to specific elements of the pre-recorded lessons.
Screen sharing also provides opportunities for students to actively engage in the class. O’Bryan recommends creating opportunities for students to lead the class and create content themselves.
Whiteboard Virtual Teaching Tools
Whiteboard virtual teaching tools allow both instructors and students to share information in real-time and in a manner reminiscent of the actual classroom setting. Digital whiteboards provide an opportunity for students to interact remotely and share their thoughts. Whiteboards can also be used during small group breakout sessions as students take notes on their discussion and then report back to the larger group.
Attendance Tracking and ID Verification
Concerned that your students may not be who they say they are? Looking for an easy way to track attendance and participation? Class has incorporated these functions as part of the administrative backbone of its product to minimize teacher time constraints and grant the ability to quickly run and view reports of all kinds.
Hybrid Class Support
Hybrid teaching in the true sense of the word is daunting. We get it. That’s why we built functionality into Class to support hybrid classes. A camera can be dedicated to the room to allow students at home to more easily see what’s going on in the classroom. Students in the classroom are also able to see their fellow students in the typical Zoom format, in seating chart formats, or at “the front of the class” when making presentations or sharing information.
Get Creative with Virtual and Hybrid Teaching
As virtual classrooms are becoming second nature to teachers and students, many instructors are getting creative and coming up with innovative approaches to maximizing virtual teaching tools.
Geller’s advice: don’t limit yourself. She shares an activity she does that involves using art supplies. “I mailed a care package to my students a week in advance, and then we did the activity as if we were together,” she says. “For presentations—whether group or solo—consider allowing students to make a video and show that in class. You’ll be amazed what they can do!”
Geller also recommends that teachers plan to mix things up during their classes. “Design a class plan that minimizes lecture and maximizes variety,” she advises. The attention span starts to wane after 30 minutes, so consider changing methods or activities every 30 minutes.”
Chow agrees and believes the online teaching environment offers many opportunities for innovation and variation. “Embrace and leverage technology and the spectacular resources the web offers since learning is shifted online,” Chow recommends.
But don’t attempt to take on too much, O’Bryan cautions. “Identify two or three digital tools that serve the purposes you need and get comfortable with them.” It’s important, says O’Bryan, for teachers to feel good about their work and students to have opportunities to be meaningfully engaged with what they are learning.”
Video learning tools can help you do that easily using a wide range of options. These options and ideas, of course, are really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the type of virtual teaching tools teachers can take advantage of whether in the classroom or online. Class offers a wide array of functionality to meet every teacher’s needs—and the needs of their students. Interested in learning more? Schedule a demo at class.com.