The pandemic has caused everything to come to a pause. Like a YouTube video trying to load with slow internet speed; we are buffering in real-life.
From education to businesses, the progress of it all has come to a halt; in a way no one had expected. In the context of education, online tutoring has become prevalent and classroom tutors are compelled to upgrade themselves from traditional classroom teaching to virtual classroom teaching. The transition is drastic but let’s break it down and analyse how it can be done.
NO.1: USING THE RIGHT ONLINE PLATFORM
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Before thinking about fun activities for a virtual classroom, it is essential to pick the right online platform for active participation in the online lesson.
There are various ways of teaching virtually such as,
- Google Meet
- Google Hangouts
- Microsoft Teams
And many more alternatives. Zoom has particularly gained attention due to its Gallery view, recording feature, screen sharing, reacting with emojis during meetings (like a request of “thumbs up” emoji from students during class will enable online tutor to ensure that his point has been communicated effectively to everyone), enabling breakout rooms, and so on.
Assess which platform will be the best based on class strength, teaching style, duration of class and cost of using the app to choose the best for you!
Studies show that students learn better when they are being told to teach; this is probably a well-known fact to most people.
What goes through the mind of a student when told to teach a subject to his or her peers you ask? Well, here’s what happens…
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Step 1: Reading through the topic assigned
Step 2: Searching up the meaning of words and phrases that seem incomprehensible
Step 3: Making a list of possible questions that peers may ask at the end of seminar
Step 4: Patching up logic gaps after anticipation of possible questions from peers
Step 5: Crafting a method to strategically explain the concept in an easy way
Step 6: Searching up some fun facts associated with the topic to make the seminar possibly more engaging
These are the typical steps that a diligent student will take to conduct a perfect seminar. This enables the information to better encode in the brain as opposed to just listening to the professor give a lecture on it.
Moreover, students will be more excited and attentive during the seminar as they know that their friends are conducting it. This enables those listening to better absorb the material as well; so, it’s a win-win situation for all!
NO.3: WHEEL OF NAMES
Giving students adrenaline rush during lessons always keeps them attentive and what better way to do it then to use Wheel of Names! The anxiety of who will be called upon next in the online name generator to answer a question or present a topic will keep your students at the edge of their seat.
The attention of students will increase by many folds and the lesson will be absolutely engaging and meaningful as students will prepare themselves beforehand for the lesson by reading up, so that they can answer the questions being asked if their name ever ends up popping up in the wheel upon a spin!
NO.4: CASE STUDY AND PROBLEM SOLVING
Zoom app for example, has breakout sessions that enable the class to be split into smaller groups during the meeting for discussions.
Assigning case studies to each group for analysis or assigning a problem for each group to solve will do a couple of amazing things such as,
- Building a good relationship among students
- Active participation of all students
- Critical thinking
- An opportunity for introverts to possibly overcome their fear of or discomfort in the act of communicating with others
- Equipping students will the skill of delegating a work to members of the team
- Inculcating the skill of active listening for everyone
These skills are absolutely essential for students to pick up in their academic journey as they will be useful to a great extent in many other areas of life. This is perhaps one of the best online practices for student engagement.
NO.5: ONLINE QUIZZES
Online quizzes are great way to observe which students are faster in grabbing information and which students were attentive during the online class.
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Online quizzing platforms like “Kahoot!” is a great way to spice things up when lesson gets a little mundane. This is a good way to keep students engaged during classes as in certain times of the day students are likely to be a little less attentive or may be sleepy (ex. After lunch or towards evening).
NO.6: GOOGLE DOCS
This is one of the best ways for many people to work on the same material at once. It hassle-free and it gives a tutor a MacroView to look at how students contribute, collaborate and think of creative solutions to solve a problem.
Tutors can arrange mini activities through GoogleDocs and supervise them; and maybe even get the groups to present their work at the end of it. For example, if you are an online math tutor, you can create a document with higher-order thinking mathematical problems for group members to collaborate and derive a solution.
Another advantage of this is the comment section and chat box which adds a social element to it and it creates a feedback system as well which allows students to assess, analyse and reflect too.
NO.7: POWERPOINT PRESENTATIONS
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This is a great hands-on element that enables students to synthesise information and put them into slides such that only the high-yield information is being presented. Simply copying and pasting is not enough as this requires students to understand the content and absorb it before putting it into the slides and presenting them!
Feedback sessions (one-to-one) with students is a great way to gain some insights into how students feel about online class engagement. When a tutor informs beforehand that such a feedback session will be arranged for each student, students are likely to be more attentive during lessons and they will take the time and effort to reflect by themselves as to how the class went and think about what they feel about it so that they will have something to share with their tutors during the feedback session.
So, the above 8 creative teaching strategies are just a few out of the many! As an online tutor, feel free to explore and implement different strategies to see what works best for you and what your students are more inclined towards!