Engaging students in teaching in a virtual classroom can be extremely difficult. We know that achieving it in a common classroom, in itself, is already a challenge; and it is even more so when learning at a distance. Fortunately, technology provides us with complementary strategies so that students can participate more.
Tools and strategies to use in a virtual classroom
Many video game platforms have question and answer functions, which appear on the student’s screen . This is an important help, since many times students cannot hear what their teacher says, due to problems with the connection or the audio. This allows the teacher to ensure that the class is receiving the content better.
If at least 35% of the class answers the question correctly , it is worth taking extra time to explain each topic.
Another useful feature to create a virtual classroom , are the chat rooms , and it is that these allow students to divide into small groups. In this way, they can work together on the same task.
You must start with all your students in a video call and then divide them into small groups, so they can work together on the same task; using a collaboration tool like Google Docs . With this, each student will only talk to classmates in the same group. Meanwhile, the teacher can enter each group to help them and monitor their progress . Once the group work is finished, everyone can meet again.
Questions and answers in the virtual classroom
At Zoom , for example, we find this feature. Something else that teachers can do is ask a question and let students answer it publicly. It may not sound like the most ideal because everyone will see each other’s responses. However, it helps a lot to keep track of participation in each class . And if it is added with incentives, such as earning small scores for each answer, it is sure that everyone will want to intervene.
Another tool that teachers can use are questionnaire applications, such as Kahoot or Quizizz . Simply specify a questionnaire in advance and ask your students to attend the meeting, sharing the access code. The best thing about these platforms is that they are free for both teachers and students.
What is considered good student participation?
This is a question that many teachers can ask themselves. Is it enough for students to join the video call? A good way to evaluate participation is to ask the student for an answer on the topic of discussion, to give their opinions on group work, etc. Choose the method of your preference, you just have to make sure it is measurable.
One last observation! Make sure you stay connected throughout the lesson and answer any questions that come up. Remember that you are in command and you must collaborate with your team to the fullest . Choose the tool of your choice and make your virtual classroom a more enjoyable place, in which your students feel confident and have at their disposal the appropriate elements to participate in class.