Best Practices for Delivering Education in Virtual Classrooms
Posted: Jul 12, 2020
Even after a summer break for about a month, the school campuses across India remain closed as the spread of coronavirus continues to endanger lives. However, the best international schools in NCR have maintained the continuity of education with the virtual classes that were launched during the lockdown.
The idea of online learning seems simple with a teacher addressing a batch of students, and teaching them as she would in the brick-and-mortar classroom of the school. However, the real experience of being in a virtual environment for education is very different.
Parents often complain that such classes are not very engaging and when students do not understand certain concepts, they hesitate to get them clarified.
It is therefore important to make these online classes as real as possible. None of us know for how long the Covid-19 crisis will stay and we must therefore optimise the new approach to keep the academic journey of students fruitful.
Here are some ways in which teachers can customise their approach to make virtual classrooms more interesting and useful for learners:
Strategic use of audio-visual aids to attract and lengthen students’ attention
Online classes involve presentations that are made on PowerPoint (PPT) or similar other applications. In a real classroom, teachers can walk around and switch between blackboards, whiteboards, demonstrations and books to explain a concept vividly. However they have to include almost all of the content in PPT slides while explaining it to students who are at remote locations.
It is therefore advisable to keep the PPT information concise and include some animation as the slides change. While designing presentations for their students, the teachers of top international schools in Delhi NCR include more of tables, diagrams and charts than basic bullet points as much as possible.
Interactive activities to keep students involved in the class
The concept of interactive activities to make a class livelier is not new and has been used in corporate trainings and workshops for years. The challenge is to use them effectively in the online mode. Students in kindergarten and primary wings of a school in particular enjoy such activities and look forward to their virtual classes when these are planned.
There is no magic formula for chalking out such activities and instructors have to tailor them according to the subject they teach. Fortunately, most of the activities used in school campus can work in an online environment with some adaptation. So there can be time slots for yoga, PT, dance, singing and other cultural classes.
Teachers should focus on what their students will watch and listen to, and how will she want them to interact with the rest of the class or in a group.
Guided practice and feedback to students
Giving one-to-one feedback to students in time can be even more challenging in virtual classes as teachers face limitations imposed by technology – when a session is open to all, everyone can listen to what’s being said to a particular student. And if the teacher chooses to send the feedback via email or text message, there are chances that the student or parents may miss it or may not be able to read it in time.
It is best to use a blended approach wherein general feedback can be provided to the entire class – something that concerns most of the students. When pointers have to be given to one or two students, they must be given with a call right after the class. Teachers can also utilise a breakout room if their digital classroom platform has such a feature.
If Covid-19 has brought long-term changes in the education sector, the schools must model their teaching ways to keep classroom sessions productive. Technology does help here and it only calls for some personal ingenuity to make things work better.
Author Bio: Established in the year 2010, Amity Global School Noida is a co-educational institution following the globally recognised IB programmes. The school helps young scholars imbibe the virtues of holistic education with a balanced approach to academics, sports and extra-curricular activities and community services.
Michael harley is a writer at Search Engine.