Managing A Virtual Learning Environment Successfully For Your Students
With an increasing number of schools using hybrid teaching that requires you to teach virtually for at least part of the school year, it is important to create a virtual learning environment that will help your students have successful school years. There are a number of ways that you can help to foster success for yourself and for your students.
Create a Professional-Looking Background
The easiest thing you can do to begin creating a successful school year for your students is to ensure that you have a professional background during your virtual teaching lessons. When your students can see the room you have behind you, it can be easy to become distracted by wall art, pets, or even windows that are behind you. Using virtual office backgrounds allows you to create a professional look with the school logo or your name, which leads to fewer distractions.
Look For Opportunities To Collaborate Often
Collaboration is the key when it comes to creating a successful learning environment. In-person classes make it easy to pair up for projects or to do group lessons. Virtual learning makes it a bit harder but that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. In addition to free Zoom office backgrounds, one excellent way to collaborate when you’re teaching virtually is to create a single Google document for multiple students. Perhaps the easiest way is to assign each student a specific color. They can use it to create notes, make notations where they have questions or comments, and so on. Tables are another option that allows students to make their own notations while allowing you to keep track of which students are participating and which may need some extra guidance.
Use Ice Breakers as Much as You Can
Ice breakers make it easier for your students to connect to you and to each other. One that you and your students have probably heard of is “Two Truths and a Lie.” Have each student go around and tell two truths and one lie about themselves. Then, everyone guesses which one is the lie. Other ice breaker ideas include talking about popular shows, asking students to share their favorite songs, or having them collaborate to create a story.
Try a Spider Web Discussion
Spider web discussions are an excellent way to combine individual work with group participation. Before class, have students answer questions about the material independently. When class starts, have everyone share their answers to create jumping-off points for longer and more in-depth conversations between students. As they communicate, track the flow of the conversation via a spider web drawing. At the end of the discussion, share the drawing and ask them to reflect on what they’ve learned from each other and how they can build off of each other’s ideas. It helps to build rapport between students as well as to acknowledge each other’s in-class accomplishments.
Virtual learning is much different than learning in person, but it doesn’t need to be any less successful. When you customize Zoom backgrounds, create ice breakers, and learn how to lead a successful online discussion, you and your students will all thrive throughout the school year.