3 Unique ways to make your online classroom fun and engaging
For us here at DigiVue, student engagement has been a major topic of discussion.
Student engagement is like a moving target… Start doing one thing well that works for one student and another student starts dropping of the proverbial engagement cliff. Or, really start getting your students to buy in to in-person lessons and lectures – and a pandemic comes through and forces everyone into online learning. The truth is, to get the most out of our students, we have to be willing to change things up constantly and always develop as instructional practitioners.
Interest and demand for online learning has never been greater, and with this new demand instructors who are used to teaching out of a traditional classroom may be struggling to adapt to this “new normal”.
With that said, you may find that teaching online may require you to develop a new skill set or approach to your practice.
Luckily, here at DigiVue we have you covered with plenty teacher tips to help increase that oh so important student engagement!
Here are 3 unique ways to make your online classroom fun and engaging:
1. Adapt! (Only the strong survive)
Let’s all think back to our time spent in traditional classrooms….. Back in the day when we could give a great lecture, present our students with new information to digest, and leave them to silently reflect on what they had learned while implementing this newfound information to show mastery on some form of assessment. The good ole days.
Unfortunately, these kinds of activities do not correlate well with online classrooms.
The truth is long wordy informational texts are quite difficult to read off a screen, and any period of sustained silence can be deafening in the virtual setting. Classrooms where students are expected to read a lengthy text or article and then reflect on their reading silently can be the perfect place for students to drift of and focus their attention elsewhere.
To avoid this, plan activities that keep your students engaged in clicking, typing, or talking to their peers throughout the lesson. As an instructor you can do this by prompting your students with a lot of questions, including informal comprehension checks like quick games or short quizzes, or interacting with virtual manipulatives (cyber field trips/tours).
As an online teacher, a great rule of thumb to go by is to make sure that your students have something active to do every three minutes or so!
2. Technology is your friend, act like it!
No matter how you feel about online education, we can all agree that teaching online comes with inherent challenges. On the hand, teaching online also has a wide array of benefits that put world class resources right at your fingertips.
· Discussion boards
· Digital pointers
· Virtual games
· Text editors
· Drawing tools
· Breakout rooms
· And many more screen sharing tools
Adding a variety of tools and engaging widgets into your lessons can make even the most boring online lectures come to life for your students!
Before you get too ambitious and throw all these tools into your next lesson, first, make sure that you know how to confidently use these tools and be sure to build time into your lessons to explain each tool to your students. Then, build these tools into your lessons to create a more engaging environment!
3. Presentation is Everything
All teachers think about how to present themselves in the classroom. As educators we are always thinking about looking neat, confident, or organized, presenting the best version of ourselves online inspires and demands a certain amount of respect from our students.
Monotone lessons that present students with written out lectures that go slide-by-slide will quickly kill the excitement in your classroom and bore your students. Try changing the tone of your voice when introducing new activities or try changing up the flow and routine of your classroom from time to time.
And again, please make sure that any audio clips you plan to use in your classroom are good quality….
No one likes to listen to scratchy audio clips while trying to decipher what is being said.
If you plan on letting your students engage with you via webcam, make sure that not only you look presentable, but the location you are streaming from needs to look presentable as well.
When students can see your face, they are more likely to match your level of excitement and engagement. So be sure to present your topic with passion!
Also, your visual materials should be up to par with the rest of your presentation. Make sure your slides look clear and present your information concisely with high quality images.
Getting students to buy in regardless of your teaching environment can be challenging. However, by using these three tips you can definitely foster a culture and environment that encourages students to engage with you ant the lesson content in a meaningful way!
Do you have any tips on student engagement that you would like to share with us? Reach out, we would love to hear from you!