With millions of young learners logging on online for the first time, it’s important that as teachers you have the preparation and tips required to lead a connected classroom effectively. At Teaching with Tech, we think there are ten fundamental golden rules that will help you as teachers cultivate a safe and effective classroom environment where you and your students will succeed.
Use these tips as your guide to navigate this challenging, yet exhilarating experience as we shift to a new era for education.
Let’s delve in!
A Good Opener is Key
An opener is key in any classroom. You want to create trust, show authority, and prepare students for this new world of learning. Explain that we’re dealing with technology now as our way to communicate with one another, and while that is super unique and exciting, it does leave some room for difficulties. Make sure they know what the plan is if your audio drops, or their video stops working. If you do this, they’ll feel prepared for a stress-free virtual learning experience, fully prepared for all the potential outcomes – and so will you!
For tips on how to craft the perfect opener, check out our recent blog post that will help you with five things you need to have in your opener.
Set Clear Expectations
Again, just as you would have in a “normal” classroom, you need some set guidelines and expectations. Everything from making sure students logging in virtually check their tech connection before class, to in-person students speaking loudly so the microphone can pick up what they’re saying for the kids at home.
We have a blog that covers the five things you must do to set your students up for connected learning success – check it out!
Constantly Be Checking-In
You want to make sure your students are receiving the best possible education. It’s likely, especially with younger or more timid students, that they won’t necessarily speak up if they can’t hear you or can’t see the board. Especially with the kids from home, you always want to be asking “Can you hear me? Can you see me? Can you see your peers?” Questions that will engage them and allow them to speak up if something isn’t working for them.
Pro tip: Wear a mask with thin fabric rather than thick, bulky masks. They are just as effective, but it allows the students to hear you better!
While teachers typically are used to carrying the burden of many, it’s unnecessary and won’t set you up for success in a connected classroom – you do not have to do the heavy lifting alone. The kiddos you’re working with are digital natives, they have grown up with technology and know how to use it – as a teacher, you likely didn’t and you’re learning as you go or adding to your current knowledge. Give them jobs that help with the tech like being the camera assistant if they’re in-person or moderating the chat box if they’re at home! They’ll appreciate being involved and it’ll help you succeed as a teacher in a virtual world.
Put on Your Moderator Hat
In a connected classroom, while you’re still the teacher, it’s important to now also put on your moderator hat. You are the bridge between your students online and your students in the classroom, this is a critical role to remember throughout your lessons! You must ask questions, repeat answers, and ensure that learners in the classroom and at home are getting the same outcomes from each lesson.
When a student responds to you say something like, ““Thanks John, John is saying that …”. So, you’re now acknowledging John’s contribution and engaging the rest of the class with his response.
Engaging them simultaneously is where you’re going to see major success!
Don’t Forget to Read Part Two
This is just the beginning, make sure you click here to take a look at the next five fundamental rules in Part Two!