In a traditional classroom, your first time connecting with students you always have an opener! A way to introduce them to you, your classroom, how things will work, and what they can expect from the class. In a hybrid class, your class opener is perhaps even more important!
Here are our top 5 tips for how you can open your hybrid classroom for ultimate success:
Be Prepared for Your Exit
While this may sound like a counterintuitive tip, it’s super important to be prepared for the exit that technology may force you to make unexpectedly. Just as you’d never walk onto a plane without checking where the emergency exits are – have your virtual classroom emergency exits planned before you even log on!
Whether it is your audio, your video, you accidentally tripping over and unplugging a cord – something might happen that will force you to exit the class. Connected learning can be unpredictable since we’re relying on technology, so be prepared!
What you’ll want to do is have a strategy for how to recuperate from a mishap, how to quickly log back on and keep rolling. For the students in the classroom it’s not as big of a deal because you can give them a quick assignment or prompt to complete while you’re fixing the tech. But for the kids at home, when you log off that means they have no guidance, and their class ends.
To prevent this situation, in your opener, give the kids at home a list of things they can do in the case of technical difficulties in the chance you have to make an impromptu exit. Give them a few worksheets, a chapter of a book to read – you get the picture. Something to help them kill the time but continue learning while you troubleshoot your tech.
Tech problems are inevitable, but when you think them through beforehand, you look like the expert connected classroom teacher you are!
Focus on Positive Inspiration
In the world right now, positivity can be hard to come by with all the things the world has thrown us this year. But now more than ever, kids need positive encouragement.
Use your opening as a chance to inspire your students. Emphasize the “we can do it” mentality. Focus on how they are becoming trailblazers and making history. After all, being one of the first classes of learners to be a part of this type of education, a style of learning that has the opportunity to connect learners across the globe seamlessly in the future, is so special!
Encourage & Dedicate Helpers
One of the biggest things to remember when you begin your journey as a teacher of a connected classroom is you are not alone. You are not solely responsible for the success of your connected classroom, even if sometimes it may feel that way.
You’re in a room surrounded by children whose generation is being called “digital natives”. Use their skillset! While respecting all the restrictions and guidelines for COVID-19 safety in the classroom, you can still assign students socially-distant roles to help with components of the class like taking notes on the whiteboard or helping set up the tech or being a backup troubleshooter in case you get kicked out.
Not only will it help you, they’ll feel even more valued and engaged in the class!
Emphasize the “We Are in This Together” Mindset
You’ve heard it all around the globe as we collaborate to create unique solutions to overcome the battles that COVID-19 has stimulated across the globe. The mentality that “we are all in this together”. You know what? It’s true! We are all in this together. We will figure it out as we go, we will create a bond like no other as we navigate these situations that none of us have dealt with in our lifetimes.
Use this opening to encourage students to engage in active conversation. If something isn’t working for them at home, make sure they know that it is important that they speak up and voice their opinions and suggestions. Ultimately, that is the only way we will navigate this new situation together for a better, more effective tomorrow in the world of connected classrooms.
Provide Clear Guidelines
Last but not least, using your opener to provide clear guidelines for your students will always lead to a successful connected learning experience. In fact, check out 5 Tips to Prepare Students for Connected Classes blog for some suggestions on how to set your kids up for success in the classroom. Use these tips for an opener that will leave nothing open to interpretation. Students will understand the expectations and how they need to manage their own connected learning experience for success!
Ready for Your First Class?
There is no right or wrong way to open your first connected class. But by using one or more of these tips, you will truly set your classroom up for success.
Teachers that run through our Teaching with Tech programs practice their openers on peers and advisors that help them perfect their opening skills – if this sounds like it may be of interest to you, contact us to learn more!