Virtual teaching presents its challenges, but with the right information and strategies, you can transform it into an enjoyable experience for everyone.
Since March of 2020, you may have been forced to teach your class online, or maybe you’ve been doing this virtual thing for a while. Regardless, these three tips will make online learning better for you and your students.
1. Purchase low-cost, high-quality equipment to increase the production value of your virtual classroom.
This is the most underrated and effective strategy to make virtual learning better for everyone involved. Here is a downloadable PDF that includes the gear that I purchased and some other budget-friendly options. Everything I recommend in the gear list is USB-powered, so there is nothing you need to learn to make it work.
If you have questions about the set-up email: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. While you speak, stare into your student’s virtual eyeballs – the lens of your camera.
Would you agree it is disheartening when you are speaking to someone and they are not looking at you? It makes you feel as if that person is not paying attention, or doesn’t care about what you have to say."When teaching virtually, your students eyes are the lens of your camera." Click To Tweet
If you are teaching and staring at your computer screen, your students will feel like you are not looking at them. So, place a sticky note beside your webcam to remind yourself to always look into the camera while you speak. This tip alone will make a huge impact.
3. When asking questions in the chat make sure you are not asking your students to type more than a few words.
When you’re physically in a classroom you can ask your students questions that require a long answer. It is true that you can still do that virtually by asking your student to unmute their mic and verbally share, but the issue with asking long questions in the chat is that there will be a 30-60 second award silence as they type.
This is the reason why most virtual presenters struggle to get students to participate in their sessions. Instead of asking big questions during a virtual class, pepper your lessons with statements like this:
- If this makes sense, type “!” In the chat box.
- If you agree with this type “yes” in the chat box.
- On a scale from 1-5, how are you feeling today?
- Type one emotion that you experienced over the weekend?
You wouldn’t believe how big of an impact this will have on your student’s participation and engagement. When I first started presenting virtually back in March I would have crickets in the chatbox.
Now the average speech has over 500 comments. Take a peek at this chat log. You can probably guess the questions I’ve asked as you read the participant’s responses.
If you enjoyed these tips, there is a free 6-video course (30 minute watch time) that you can get access to at: www.highperformingeducator.com
Get in touch with Sam for more virtual teaching tips:
Sam Demma is an entrepreneur, youth coach, and keynote speaker. He co-founded the volunteer organization PickWaste, created the High Performing Student, delivered two TEDx Talks, and is a Board Director of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers. Sam’s mission is to provide students with the hope, tools and strategies they need to become servant leaders in their schools and in the lives of those around them. www.samdemma.com