Continuing technological developments enable video to be accessible more easily, faster, and across multiple platforms and devices. It can be viewed on multiple (student owned) devices, in multiple formats (before, during, and after class).
Distance learning has become very popular during the corona crisis. Entire schools have switched to online teaching. In VET, in addition to theory lessons, we also have a lot of practical lessons. These cannot be taught online so easily. As a teacher, how can you judge the smell of a dish made by a cook?
There are several possibilities to organize online teaching. The most common ones are Skype, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangout and Zoom. Most likely your school already has chosen one of these instruments. They all more or less offer the same possibilities, like screensharing, inviting students, recording lessons, muting students, video off and on and instant chat. Inviting students turned out to be very easy by putting the link to the Skype session of the teacher as a clickable link in their daily schedule of lessons.
10 tips for giving a successful online lesson by teachers
The physical classroom has been changed into a digital environment and the students are only visible as talking heads. Online teaching is often a different, new experience. Teacher are used to “read” the body language of the students in addition what they see in front of them. And of course there is the social component between students, the chatter and talk about many things that have nothing to do with the subject of the lesson.
This is not the only difference with an online lesson. Students are more focused during an online lesson, as the social component has fallen away. It’s the teacher who’s speaking and the student who’s listening and performing tasks. Of course there is an etiquette for online learning available. However, to give successful online lessons, it may be useful to read the following 10 recommendations.
At the beginning of the lesson.
Before the lesson, check your camera and sound settings. Everything has to work perfectly and you have to be sure of that. Use a headset and microphone so you won’t be distracted by ambient noise and you’ll be perfectly understandable.
Since you’re in front of the camera, you pay just as much attention to your appearance as in a class at school.
Make sure it is clear to everybody when the lesson starts. Not only physically, but also digitally, students can drip in. As a teacher, be clear in advance when you want the students to ‘dial in’. Then make it clear when you start your online lesson. Don’t forget to welcome the students! During the welcome make sure the students have turned their camera on. This is very close to the face to face contact in a classroom and has a very positive effect on the bond between teacher and student. It all becomes very personal and that is very important for the pedagogical climate.
- Make clear rules
An online lesson requires discipline, from both sides! Don’t make ‘rules’, but start looking for habits with each other. Use them in all your online lessons and make them team or schoolwide. Do you want a group of quiet students? Online it’s simple: agree that they only turn their microphone on when they want to say something, otherwise it will be switched off due to background noise. Ask the students to turn on their camera as well. This is desirable for you as a teacher and also more fun!
- Present? Present!
Make sure that all students present themselves online at the beginning of the lesson to state that they are there. For example, let them say something in the chat, which can also be that they place a certain emoticon in the chat. You can also share the presence and absence screen and fill it out directly with your students, but this takes (more) time. We also heard the tip to take a picture of the list of participants in Skype and fill in the presence after the lesson?
During the lesson
Take your time for the opening and your classroom explanation. In this plenary part it is nice if you as a teacher have your camera on and are visible. After this, take the time to go through the questions of the students one by one. They can also send these questions in the chat, so you will be less disturbed during your explanation.
- Getting Started
Provide variety in the lesson: avoid an ‘online lecture’! Give your lesson in Nearpod. Nearpod is a tool where you can load your Powerpoint presentation and then enrich it with interactive elements such as questions and polls. During the presentation you can let the students do the assignments as a variation, so they can get out of the role of listener for a while and become active. This will also reactivate the brain. In the free version you can use three lessons, but there’s a licensed version too. This offers also the opportunity to use other interactive tools like Mentimeter, Kahoot, Padlet and drawing tools.
But you can also take a quiz, made in Socrative, Quizizz or Forms (and there are more). Above all, put the students to work in groups
In addition to your presentation it is very recommendable to provide tasks or assignments in your LMS. During the presentation you point out what work needs to be done and when you expect them to finish this. Stay online during the time the students carry out the tasks to answer possible questions.
Students can temporarily leave the online lesson to discuss in their own group or Skype conversation. Make clear when you expect the students back in the ‘online classroom’.
And always end the lesson with the whole group of students. Provide them with schedules what to do and learn in between your lessons of as a preparation for the next lesson.
- Keep them there
Students who don’t want to, don’t want to. There is no difference between physical or online education. Make sure you keep everyone involved in your class and speak to them about it.
When students find it necessary to behave bad invite them afterwards to point out what kind of behaviour you expect during online lessons. In fact, this is no different than a lesson in a physical classroom. There, too, you talk to students about undesirable behaviour.
- Use the normally available techniques!
In an online lesson, you can easily make use of the digital possibilities that were always available to you. Open the presentation (PowerPoint, Nearpod, Prezi, Word document, website or any other thing you use for your presentation) and make sure that all other screens are closed. Within Skype you can also use the Whiteboard.
The end of your lesson
Provide a plenary closing. Just like you always did. Don’t let your online lesson go out like a nightcap! Make clear when you are going to end your online lesson and make sure that all students are digitally present again. Make any appointments for a next time. Also take the time to talk to students, in groups or individually, if there is a need for this. Make sure that you, as a teacher, are always the last to leave the lesson.
- Keep your administration up to date
At the end of the lesson you can keep track of who was present as a teacher. Also enter this in your (own) administration. This also applies to assignments that may need to be submitted digitally. By keeping the administration in order, you can keep track of the progress of the students, even remotely.
- Make instructional videos
You don’t always have to teach your lesson: you can also record an instructional video before or after (e.g. within PowerPoint, or via screencast-o-matic) Then you can upload your video in Stream and share the link in the LMS and add an assignment to be carried out based on the instructional video.
Here you can introduce, deepen or repeat a topic. It is a pleasant way for students to view instructions and explanations again (extra). The student can pause and listen to the instructor again.