Video conferencing tips for e-learning
Our daily lives experience no shortage of disruptions. Did you know that prior to the outbreak of the pandemic, studies showed the average person is bombarded with as many as 4,000 messages per day? These can come in the form of advertising, marketing, notifications, alerts, emails, calls, people, and more. Pretty crazy to think about. And now, many kids are home, distracting their parents, but also experiencing similar distractions as they navigate a new normal for what their schooling looks like.
Fortunately, limits on in-person instruction have not eliminated educational experiences for many students. A large number of districts have embraced remote learning, using technology-mediated interactions to help students stay on track. But how do you keep students engaged?
A recent article in Edutopia noted how challenging this transition is for students and teachers alike, but luckily, there are many strategies educators can employ, and resources they can use, to get the most out of remote learning for students in kindergarten through high school.*
Best practices for K-12 e-learning
First of all, if your school or district already uses an online learning management system (LMS), make sure to integrate your video conferencing tool with that platform. Administrators and teachers who are tasked with this responsibility can join Webex for live classes that explore the Webex Education Connector for Learning Management Systems.
Synchronous class time on Webex
During synchronous class time, make sure to set expectations around technology with your students, including demonstrating how to use video conferencing features. As appropriate for your students’ grade level and learning objectives, make sure they know how to mute, use chat functions and more.
Record the course, and share that you will do so. Direct students toward the archive of past lessons and make sure they’re easy to access.
As you meet with your students over a video conferencing platform, there are several best practices you can follow to help make learning more engaging:
- Turn your video on.
With so much changing on a daily basis, going live with your students is a simple way to add some continuity to the learning experience. Don’t worry too much about having the best lighting or perfect hair. Just do what you’d normally do for school. Try not to have too many distractions visible on camera, but sharing a little bit of your home life and personality can really help your students plug in.
- Use the tools at your disposal.
Videoconferencing platforms can enable highly interactive online learning. There are a couple Webex tools that you might want to leverage for remote learning:
- Whiteboard: Pull up the Webex virtual Whiteboard to both demonstrate concepts and interact with students. This can be used for lessons or quick games during break time.
- Polling: Do you need to do a quick check for understanding, or do you want to give students a chance to vote on how content will be delivered today? Use a snap Webex poll.
- Find simple web-based tools for other functions. Display slide decks, shared documents, tutorials and other simple web-based tools by using screen sharing Remember, you’re not moving the class from one location to the next, so anything you can do to give students breaks and cues that it’s time to switch tasks will help keep things running smoothly throughout the day.
If you are running synchronous classes on Webex, it could still be beneficial to incorporate a little independent work time and quick opportunities for sharing into the lesson. Doing so will let students focus on tasks that will help them retain the lesson and listening to their classmates share takeaways and thoughts will give them prompt feedback about their in-class work.
Asynchronous class time on Webex
During asynchronous work time and collaboration in small groups, make sure students know how to use shared documents and set up Webex Teams and spaces so they can work together and send assignments back to you.
Remember, if you have to change the participants in a small group, add or remove individuals instead of deleting the space and creating a new one. Students will appreciate being able to see the context so they can catch up quickly.
Most of all, remember, there’s going to be a lot of opportunities for testing out techniques to see what works for your class and what doesn’t. Don’t be afraid to readjust as you get a better sense of how to engage your K-12 students through e-learning.
There’s a wealth of learning opportunities available from Cisco Webex to help teachers explore how videoconferencing and Cisco Teams can help them connect with their students.
The first stop for teachers, students and parents, as well as IT professionals and higher education faculty, should be this web page. You’ll find tips for creating lesson plans, launching group projects and more.
Like you, we know that everybody’s learning style is different. That’s why we produce video tutorials to help teachers learn how to use Webex with their students. Topics we’ve covered so far include how to set expectations with students, tips to help teachers with scheduling and advice for establishing classroom culture during remote learning.
For more about the transition to virtual learning, check out this blog post.
Lastly, one thing we’ve noticed during our current situation is that when times are tough, people step up. Today, there’s no shortage of additional resources, including those outside of what we offer at Cisco Webex. A recent rundown from CNET includes K-12 e-learning resources on topics ranging from literacy to math, science and coding, as well as languages and Advanced Placement preparation. You’ll even find opportunities to take a virtual field trip with your class.
Reach out for more information or get started with our free offer.
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