How to Create Engaging Activities to Foster Interactive Virtual Classroom
The current decade witnesses the peak of the usage of online learning apps due to the self-isolation that has been forced by COVID-19. Most people have been compelled to stay away from society as well as their work or their normal educational process. Thus, most teachers or instructors around the world have started to seek other ways to replace physical classrooms with virtual ones. However, having students fully engaged during an interactive virtual classroom is really challenging for many instructors. It is quite hard to bring students to discussions especially if some of them are hesitant or introverted by nature. Furthermore, virtual learning is something new to students especially those young ones. The following are interactive virtual classroom ideas on how to keep your students engaged by adding engaging activities during the virtual learning process.
Searching for Fun Apps to Be Used to reach an interactive virtual classroom
The usage of fun apps during virtual classrooms is essential to keep students engaged and excited to learn more. You have to break the ice and make them eager to collaborate and have self-confidence. Here are some of the fun apps’ features that can be used during the distance learning process to increase students’ interaction and to achieve an interactive virtual classroom:
- The whiteboard tool allows instructors to describe any concept to the students visually even by a drawing which is more attractive and interesting especially for kids.
- The possibility of having discussion rooms that allow instructors to divide students into groups for discussion. For example, they can play a game by splitting themselves into groups and naming each group using funny names from movies or series and have them debate about a certain topic and setting a prize for the winners.
- Some apps also provide instructors with the possibility to share videos so they can take their students on a virtual tour to a remote place and this tour will be related to a specific idea in their educational content. In an article titled “Observer Ratings of Instructional Quality: Do They Fulfill What They Promise?” the authors have highlighted the importance of videos to achieve interactive virtual classroom and control as they said:
“classroom videos are used to measure the quality of teaching or classroom interactions through external observers. They usually answer highly-inferential ratings to evaluate different dimensions of teaching quality, such as efficient classroom management or adequate instructional support.”
- Some fun apps allow the instructors to choose riddles for students to solve and these riddles are related to the topic of discussion as well.
Engaging Students in Interactive Virtual Classroom
In order to achieve an interactive virtual classroom goal, you have to achieve students’ engagement. It is the key to a successful online classroom. Here are some guiding steps:
-Instructors should look presentable and select an appropriate setting for their virtual classrooms to avoid any distractions. Some teachers resort to funny ways to be more appealing to their students such as creating their own avatars or betmojis.
-Learning the names of students is also essential so instructors can call them by names during the online sessions and this will reinforce students’ value and increase their sense of self-importance.
-Teachers or instructors have to set goals for their virtual sessions before they start and provide students with an outline or weekly plan so they can be ready for what they will learn.
-Instructors can use the storytelling method while explaining a specific topic and give examples of famous characters from history, for instance, and this will maintain students’ interaction.
-Teachers can share audios with students and change the tone of their voice in every audio according to the topic of discussion to avoid boredom.
-Cutting the topic into small ideas and giving them over more than one session is crucial in order not to lose students’ engagement. Moreover, instructors should avoid reading long texts for students and replace them with videos or graphs.
-Instructors can offer prizes and badges during the online session after introducing a question related to their teaching content and the student who comes up with the right answer should take the prize or badge.
-Providing weekly feedback to students about their performance to keep them on track is important to establish effective communication. However, this feedback should include both their points of weakness and strength. If instructors focus only on the weak points, they might lose students’ interest in their virtual classrooms.
-Surveys are very important to maintain instructors’ virtual success. These surveys should include questions about his/her performance as an instructor, so he/she should ask students if they have any suggestions to improve the teaching process and create an interactive virtual classroom environment. Furthermore, they should ask students about what they like and dislike about the virtual classrooms so instructors can make continuous adaptations during the online course. Teachers or instructors should not wait till the end of the course to improve their teaching methods.
-Instructors can ask questions and allow students to answer in the chat room. Also, students are allowed to write any comments that instructors can read during the session. As Paul France explains his experience in using Google Chat and how he asks his students to answer in the chat room to know whether they understand his content or not in his book titled “Reclaiming Personalized Learning.”
-Heather Wolpert-Gawron, a Middle school teacher and project-based learning coach, has explained in her article titled “Extending Classroom Management Online” some ways of how to keep students engaged and that the instructor should be present all the time and she highlighted the importance of discussion as she said: “Make sure you and they are participating in discussion threads.”
An Interactive Virtual Classroom through Break the Ice Games
Break the ice games are a very important element during any learning process. These games encourage students to participate and stay engaged till the end of the session. Here are some suggestions for breaking the ice games that seek an interactive virtual classroom:
- Ask each student to draw something that describes their personality and have them share their drawings with each other. This game breaks the ice and removes any stress the students may encounter at the beginning of the virtual course.
- Send them “all about me” sheets the day before the session to print them out. These “all about me” sheets include questions that students have to answer about their personality. For example, these can be questions about their favorite food, hobbies, and favorite areas of study. Actually, this method will encourage students to talk about themselves, make them excited, and maximize their interaction during the virtual classroom.
- Teachers can split their virtual classroom into a group of three and have each group list their common interesting preferences and after few minutes ask one from each group to share this list with the rest of the class. This will make students more engaged and willing to know each other and thus establish interactive virtual classroom relationships.
Storky app provides instructors with all the tools they need to create games and more interesting activities during distance learning to reach an interactive virtual classroom environment. Besides, instructors can ask the team to create any more features they may need during the online learning process. For more information, please check the website’s FAQs at https://storkyapp.com/en/.