Due to the coronavirus, Zoom is being used across the world to deliver remote learning lessons to primary school children. Teachers everywhere are opening up their laptops, logging on and inviting their children to join them online. But teaching a class of children online is very different from in a classroom. Those simple teaching skills such as eye contact; tone of voice; practical resources are lost online and so it is important to develop new teaching strategies which engage children and manage their behaviour in new and innovative ways. We have just finished our second week, here in Dubai, of remote learning. Here are a few tips that I have picked up from our teachers to share with you.
It might sound mean muting all the children on your first zoom lesson but is a really clear way of setting the tone for lessons and behaviour. When children first log into Zoom it will be new. It will be exciting and there will be a lot of noise from all the children – and that is ok! They are excited about the prospect of being taught online and seeing each of their friends in tiny boxes on their screen. There will be a couple of minutes of chaos as children giggle and wave at their friends. Let it happen.
In order to manage behaviour for the first few Zoom lessons, after a minute or so, mute all the children so they can just focus on your voice. When you ask questions, unmute specific children for their answers. Children will also be kept on their toes at the prospect of being unmuted at any time and expected to share an answer with the class. Once children gain understanding that Zoom works differently than a classroom, you can begin to unmute more children at the same time and build up to leaving every child unmuted. Various settings exist in Zoom to give children the power to unmute themselves or take that power away. Play around and pick the settings that suit the way that you want your class to work.
Grid View or Speaker View that is the question...
Are you sick of seeing your face mirrored back to you online? I know I am! There are two different ways to view your participants in Zoom. The conferencing tool will automatically launch in Speaker View ensuring the person who is speaking at that moment will appear large with a sample of other students appearing in a row around the screen’s edge. However, as a teacher you may wish to see less of yourself and more of your children. In which case, switch to grid view and you will be able to monitor which children are engaged with the live session and which children are being distracted by their pet dog who is just bounced into their bedroom.
Share Screen is one of the tools that teachers will use most when leading Zoom lessons. It will mirror anything open on your computer. A whiteboard feature also allows the modelling of calculations and writing to occur just as it would in school. The annotation tool draws over shared screens meaning that students can share their own work and allow you to provide detailed feedback. Children can also hear anything that you play during your share screen including YouTube videos and songs. Just ensure you click ‘Share Computer Sounds’ before selecting the screen you wish to share.
In the classroom, teachers are moving around groups all the time - dropping in challenging questions, marking children’s work and leading guided groups. It is education’s version of circuit training. This is what personalised learning looks like. Online, this is obviously much more challenging. However, Zoom does offer a breakout room feature where children can split your class into groups (mini zooms). This is great for facilitating small discussion groups but is also an opportunity for your teaching assistant and you to break off with small groups of children to lead guided sessions and look through individual children’s work when providing feedback.
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With a keen interest in the neuroscience and psychology of learning, WAGOLL Teaching is about sharing research alongside great, simple teaching ideas to a global teaching community.
Ben has been in education for over 10 years and is passionate about simplifying high quality teaching and learning through innovative and practical approaches in the classroom.
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