It’s not a novel concept to offer online versions of activities that were previously only available in person. Even while interest in virtual workplaces, events, and courses has been increasing in recent years, there has also been an increase in interest in finding ways to connect people who are geographically separated, as the COVID-19 pandemic has shown.
From both a technological and a human perspective, the thought of going virtual might be daunting. Fortunately, modern technology makes it easier than ever to achieve this goal. Even after the pandemic subsides, virtual classes are expected to maintain their ubiquity.
What is a virtual classroom?
A virtual classroom is a place where students can participate in a virtual manner. When a California community college decided to offer a full degree programme via telecommuting in 1976, the virtual classroom was born. The use of pre-recorded material, telephone, and television meant that students were completing their classwork and interacting with their teachers via these methods.
The internet has made it possible for students to learn in virtual classrooms. Both in-class and out-of-class communication can be accomplished through the use of these tools. In addition, virtual classrooms allow students to collaborate with each other and access course materials. This includes video lecture archives, message boards and discussion forums as well as quizzing and video authoring tools. Students should be able to refer back to whiteboard notes from earlier classes and expand on them at a later time in the course if these features are maintained between classroom sessions. Students of all ages can benefit from virtual classes, whether they are in elementary school, middle school, high school, or college.
Benefits of creating virtual classrooms
There are many advantages to virtual classrooms, not just for allowing education to continue during a pandemic. Flexibility, distance surmounting, support for a variety of learning styles, and an environment that encourages collaboration are all advantages of virtual classrooms. Let’s take a closer look at each of these subjects before moving on to other features of virtual classrooms.
Both students with variable work schedules, virtual classrooms are a great option because they allow for asynchronous and synchronous instruction. Non-traditional students at the university level, who may be working and raising children, may find this particularly beneficial.
Students who have medical issues that require them to be out of the classroom or who are sharing one computer with family members who are working or studying from home may find the flexibility of virtual classrooms to be a blessing. Because of the pandemic, the adaptability of virtual classrooms has become even more critical. Virtual classrooms will continue to be expected in the future, even after the pandemic is gone, as more students, instructors, institutions, and families realise the benefits of this flexibility.
In a virtual classroom, learning may take place from any location with an internet connection, making the world smaller and the range of our experiences greater. Also, the complete process is highly cost effective as compared to the traditional system. To increase enrolment and diversify the student body, your institution can use virtual classrooms to reach out to students who aren’t located in your nearby area.
Equitability in the classroom
Students benefit from increasing diversity in the classroom because it provides them with a better understanding of the world in which they live. Language interchange between countries, regions, and continents can help those who are working on their language abilities. Finally, students don’t have to miss class when they have to travel for employment or family reasons because they can learn from anywhere. This means you’ll never have to deal with an absence request because someone “accidentally” arranged vacation right in the middle of the term again, as a teacher.
Virtual classrooms, class types
Virtual classrooms offer a wide range of design and functionality options for educators who want to use them for distance education. One of the most important aspects of any curriculum is how it incorporates the use of virtual classrooms. Even virtual classrooms built on the same platform tend to be modified to the instructor’s demands, given the drastically varying needs of different groups.
Synchronous vs asynchronous
Two possibilities exist for instructors who wish to run classes through the internet. An example of a synchronous learning environment would be a classroom where teachers and students are all present at the same time and engage in “real time” conversation.
Instructors create course materials ahead of time and provide them to students on a predetermined day and time. Students can access the course materials whenever they want and can engage with one another for a longer period of time than they would in a traditional classroom setting.
In a flipped classroom, students do most of their studying at home (typically online) and come to class to review and reinforce what they learned at home.
In a MOOC, anyone who wants to take a course can do so, and there is no limit on the number of people who can participate. MOOCs normally have a set start and completion date, they run a few times a year, and they last for weeks rather than months or years like traditional university courses do. In a nutshell, MOOCs are free online courses that can be taken by a large number of people.
10 best tools for virtual classrooms
1. Kahoot! – Competition games
Kahoot is one of the most well-known examples of a live Ed-tech game. It’s also a competitive sport. Those are the kinds of things that students enjoy. They are motivated to succeed. Students are timed to get as many correct answers as possible on their answer sheets. They receive points for each correct response. When a student correctly answers a question in a short amount of time, the student receives a higher grade.
What is it about Kahoot that makes it so enjoyable? Students enjoy it, but teachers enjoy it, too. It’s simple to use and gives you a clear picture of your pupils’ responses. What you can observe is which pupils are still having difficulty with the topic and which questions still pose a problem.
Students enjoy it because they can access it from anywhere, on any device, including their smartphones, tablets, and computers. Answers do not have to be typed in. All they have to do is touch on the vibrant colours on their device to get started. Kahoot’s team mode is ideal for encouraging student collaboration. More students with one device. You can also initiate discussions and conduct surveys using Kahoot.
2. EducaPlay – Educational activities
Educaplay is a web-based application that enables the creation of a wide range of multimedia educational activities. In addition to being free, the website eliminates the requirement for multiple pieces of software. Educaplay allows you to construct a variety of different types of activities, such as interactive maps, riddles, slide shows, fill-in-the-blank/crossword/word search puzzles, jumbled word/sentence exercises, and dictation. Matching games, internet quizzes, and video quizzes can all be made.
The New Activity tab will appear once you’ve created your account. You’ll then have to decide what kind of event you’d like to host. To get started, simply select the type of activity you’d want to participate in and follow the on-screen instructions. You will receive a link to your activity when you are finished. Students don’t have to sign in to access your resources. The URL is all they need. In order to post anything, you must first create a username and password. Using this website with your students has numerous advantages.
Individual mastery, a flexible learning environment, and tailored learning are all possible with this technology. Learning is tailored to meet the specific needs of each student through the use of personalised instruction. Students benefit from an adaptable learning environment, which offers a variety of educational delivery options to best utilise the available resources. The level of mastery displayed by each student determines the next step in their education.
3. Quizizz – Questions, games and competition
Using Quizziz, teachers and students can collaborate on quizzes that can then be used by each other. It is possible to use a quiz for homework or a live competition after giving pupils a unique access code. It’s up to students to review their answers after the quizzes are over. A spreadsheet created from the students’ performance data is used by the instructor to identify which parts of the curriculum may need the most attention in the future. Teachers can utilise this real-time feedback to make adjustments to their lesson plans and hone in on ideas that students are having difficulty grasping.
Quizizz offers an easy-to-navigate structure and walks you through the quiz-making process step-by-step, so you don’t feel overwhelmed by the procedure. There is also a great deal of ease in taking the quizzes. Selecting an answer from a list of options appears when students enter the access code. The quizzes can also be accessed on any device with a web browser. There are no premium services on Quizizz for K-12 teachers, therefore instructors can join the site for free.
4. Cerebriti – Interactive learning activities
Cerebriti.edu is a platform that makes it simple and fast to design educational games. Gamification in the classroom and collaborative learning are its primary goals. Over a thousand games, activities, and languages from kindergarten through 12th grade are all available, with a total of up to ten different game types. You can use the platform to introduce your school’s name and the names of your students in every single one of your lessons. Students’ motivation can be boosted with the addition of items such as avatars, challenges, and insignias. It’s simple to make a game based on the sort of game you select by following basic instructions. Every game made and shared by other users is available to every registered user.
A PC with a Wi-Fi connection is required for access. Before using edu.cerebriti.com, users must first register with the site at edu.cerebriti.com. Inquiries can be made on a forum on the site, and online chat is also available. Taking on other schools, cities, and even individuals from around the world can be done online. Classmates might compete with one another to see who can receive the best grades.
Teachers at all levels of education can benefit from the tool. It is possible for students to design their own games. The tool’s pedagogical aims include encouraging pupils to collaborate and boosting their motivation. In the classroom, Celebriti enables for the use of Information Technology. Since students’ interest and focus grow as a result of more exposure to course material, they become more actively involved in their education.
5. AhaSlides – Interactive Presentations
In contrast to the business atmosphere of Aha Slides, the company has made a concentrated effort to be more friendly-feeling. Using Aha Slides to design feedback/brainstorming sessions or gaming events to present to a small to medium-sized group is a great use case for the tool.
The slides can be coded faster this way, but the user experience is harmed as a result. There are eight types of interactivity and six types of static material. Toggling between slide kinds allows you to modify a slide’s type but not the content. In the right builder menu, you’ll find the “content” option, where you can change their settings.
You may choose your own avatars for an event, and Aha Slides makes a determined attempt to be more entertaining with its standard decks, which have weird gifs as background images. To keep an eye on things, the moderator uses a left hover view. Since they at least tell you how many responses have been submitted, the event experience feels more inclusive and joined. It was developed by educators with the goal of helping teachers create powerful learning moments for every student, every day.
6. Mentemiter – Interactive Presentations
“Inspiration” decks can be copied into your own files and edited for personal use. This is helpful because the settings-heavy builder has a learning curve. The settings menu editor is extensive and full-featured for enterprise users who require a great deal of particular meta-functionality from their decks.
Multiple choice questions, string comparison text slides, a ranking system, and word clouds are all included. There are eight different types of static content slides and 12 different types of interactive content slides.
In many cases, you can choose from a variety of ways to display your results (Example: Display the selections from your multiple choice question as a graph, donut, or pie chart). Each interaction type gains a significant amount of capability as a result of this. There are a number of pre-made themes available to help you personalise your decks. In the Prop plan, you can use BG pictures and colours to design your own slide looks (so, not available for free users).
7. PearDeck – Interactive Presentations
Connecting with students across the spectrum is easier than ever thanks to our solutions based on active learning and formative evaluation. Create dynamic classroom discussions by using Pear Deck’s PowerPoint Online Add-in. If you’d want a more seamless classroom experience, look into integrating Microsoft Teams.
Adding interactivity and formative assessments to current PowerPoint presentations may be as simple as creating a Pear Deck from start. Students can learn how to start your presentation, handle student feedback, and access the teacher dashboard.
8. Brainscape – Flashcards for Better Learning
The online flashcards from Brainscape help you study more effectively by repeating difficult concepts at the right intervals so that they stick in your mind. Real-time content distribution is possible with Brainscape, which allows trainers to organise their “decks,” add graphics & sounds, and collaborate with numerous editors.
It has proven to be two times more effective than the old-fashioned ways. Study participants who used Brainscape for just 30 minutes scored an average of two times higher on post-tests than those who used books or paper flashcards, according to Columbia University researchers. When you have weeks or months of material to study, these benefits grow dramatically.
9. Geneally – Interactive Presentations and More
In an effort to be innovative, many presenting tools risk losing sight of the idea they are trying to convey. In addition, many other presentation tools are in danger of becoming “death by PowerPoint.” Creative presentations, on the other hand, rely on holding the attention of the audience. When your presentations are dynamic and engaging, you can achieve this goal. Genially may be the frontrunner when it comes to interactive presentations.
As many of its users would agree, Genially is an outstanding product that may replace older presentation software, even if it is relatively new in the market. There are numerous uses for Genially in the business, educational, and personal arenas. To be clear, it’s not just useful for creating presentation slides, but also for creating informational graphics and photos as well as a variety of other media. The end result is the same: interactive and richer.
Produce Material for a Presentation
Genially doesn’t require any prior knowledge of graphic design or coding. Users of the application will be able to produce stunning designs in a matter of minutes because to the application’s user-friendly layout and capabilities.
Genially’s collection of pre-designed material is one of its best features. Every slide in your presentation may be made more memorable by using the library’s extensive collection of animations, interactive effects, themes, and other images. Pre-designed layouts from prominent designers are also available for you to use. Visual content that conveys your message can be readily created using these tools.
10. ClassDojo – Dynamics and competition
Teachers can use a smart board to display each student’s score and generate reports that can be sent home to their parents. Two million teachers and 30 million students across 180 countries, including one in three schools in the United States, were using ClassDojo in the spring of this year.
ClassDojo’s ultimate goal is to improve the communication between educators, students, and parents. ClassDojo provides teachers with a simple and fast approach to track individual students’ progress and provide them immediate feedback on their conduct. Teachers don’t have to interrupt class to correct student misbehaviour; they can just deduct points.
ClassDojo is a powerful classroom management tool, but it should be used in conjunction with other methods, such as one-on-one discussions with students who are misbehaving or a quick word of praise for students who are doing well. There is benefit in ClassDojo as a supplement to other educational tools, especially when used in a thoughtful, deliberate manner that promotes social and emotional learning in the classroom.
Students in a virtual classroom have access to all of these methods of instruction, as well as many more. Students can watch recorded lectures as many times as they’d like at their convenience. In both live classrooms and asynchronous materials, visual information can be shared via slide presentations or screen sharing. Students can use group note-taking apps to not only identify what stands out in a presentation, but they can also profit from the perceptions and notes of their fellow participants.
Students can easily design and deliver their own materials in virtual classes. A teacher facilitates peer-to-peer learning in this technique to learning by doing. In virtual courses, it’s a terrific method to keep students involved and creatively demonstrate their understanding of the content.