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How to Make Your Virtual Classroom a Success for Distance Learning Written by: Nadav Avni

We all learned some lessons this spring as we were forced to quickly create distance learning programs and virtual classrooms under intense pressure. Now that you have a rough outline for how you’ll proceed,  it’s time to identify the techniques you need to improve upon or the technology you need to acquire before school resumes in the fall.

As an administrator, principal, or educator, you’re having to redesign the way students are being taught. Teachers need to learn new skillsets to create engaging remote classrooms and continue to provide quality education.

IT teams are being asked to manage ever-increasing amounts of devices and provide support even for student’s personal devices. For IT administrators, you need to be able to manage all connected devices for programs. This includes the ability to troubleshoot remotely, manage device usage and performance, and handle software updates, and protect the integrity (and security) of school resources.

Everyone from the CFO on down is looking for a high-quality solution that is cost-effective.

During the forced online learning process brought on by the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), we did the best we could in exceptionally difficult circumstances. We now know that many students were left behind and lost months of education. Starting this fall, parents and students will be less forgiving about the quality of distance learning.

Replicating the Classroom Experience Virtually

In a traditional classroom, teachers are in front of students. They lead discussions, walk around the classroom, and check on how students are doing. They use low-tech tools, such as chalkboards and textbooks, along with ways to show videos, project lessons, write on screens, or direct students to work on laptops.

Moving to distance learning programs or remote classrooms, teachers and students will benefit the most when EdTech can replicate the in-classroom experience as much as possible. As teachers get more deeply immersed in a remote learning strategy, they’ve seen the shortfalls of working with off-the-shelf products made for a general consumer market. Using basic video conferencing tools, such as Zoom, Hangouts, or MS Teams, can’t provide the full functionality that’s needed. It’s not enough to simply provide a basic video conferencing environment. Teachers need to be able to see students, engage with them as a group or individually, and monitor activity.

Research conducted on rapidly moving students to remote classrooms during the COVID-19 outbreak shows that it’s much more difficult to keep students engaged with virtual lessons no matter what content is used.

As Jered Borup, Associate Professor in Learning Technologies at George Mason University, told the New York Times, it’s what supports the student has when learning virtually that makes the difference. In other words, it’s as much about the platform used and the way the information is communicated as it is about the actual lesson itself.

One of the solutions currently available on the market is VISO TeacherView. It gives teachers the tools they need to provide a robust interactive experience whether they are in the classroom or using remote learning resources.

A Cloud-Based Virtual Classroom for Distance Learning

Modeling the same seamless experience of a traditional classroom environment, VISO TeacherView allows teachers to virtually “walk” between students and see their screens and faces in real-time.

Teachers can monitor student activities and evaluate performance in real-time, provide individual or group assistance, and implement collaborative learning methodologies. They can respond to a virtual hand raises and discretely assist students that need help without singling them out among their peers. Video sessions can even switch from classrooms to a 1:1 session with individual students.

There are a variety of collaboration tools that help create a more engaging and interactive experience.

Distance Learning Resources: Collaboration Tools

  • Share screen between teacher and students
  • Establish visual and vocal communication
  • Bring a student’s screen to the forefront
  • Set and coordinate all devices on one platform
  • Simultaneously launch apps and play, stop or skip videos for a synchronized experience
  • Permit, block or lock certain apps
  • Apply kiosk modes, policy, and settings
  • Share interactive virtual whiteboards, websites, surveys, and quizzes
  • Transfer and collect files simultaneously

Teachers can manage distance learning on both school or personal devices whether they are in a physical classroom or virtual classroom.

Synchronous and Asynchronous Learning

Teachers need the tools to manage both synchronous and asynchronous learning.

Synchronous learning happens in real-time. However, not every student interaction will be in real-time in front of the teacher. Just as educators provide homework assignments and give students time to work on lessons in class, remote learning also includes asynchronous learning – where students work independently of the teacher.

This means a different level of preparation for educators to be able to provide access to the lesson content as part of your remote learning resources. In distance learning, asynchronous lessons can be more difficult to monitor and manage. You need a way to generate interest, motivate participation, and monitor progress. It also means creating an organizational system to manage student work submitted during distance learning.

All of this will take extra time and attention, including generating the rubric for success and measuring performance. Without the advanced technology educators need, it’s going to be extremely difficult to stay on top of the additional demands for remote classrooms.

Keep Standards High While Managing Virtual Classrooms

Virtual classrooms and distance learning programs are no longer luxury items. In today’s environment, they are an expectation and a necessity. Without the right distance learning resources, it will be difficult to maintain high educational standards and provide the quality education students deserve.

By using one tech platform that can combine classroom management tools and enhanced video conferencing capabilities to conduct efficient remote learning, VISO TeacherView provides a foundation for interactive learning. VISO TeacherView can help you continue to provide the highest standard of education to your students no matter where they are. A cloud-based platform, VISO TeacherView, allows teachers to teach and students to learn remotely while having the same seamless experience of a traditional classroom environment.

To learn more about VISO TeacherView and how it can help you manage remote classrooms click here.

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