Teaching, for many, is a matter of love and passion. For some teachers, the calling is there from an early age. Others discover later in life how much they enjoy helping others learn. It can be wonderful to be in front of a class where everything goes exactly as you imagined. Often, teaching a class — physical or online – provides challenges that require a bit of creativity to solve..
We asked teachers in Canada what they would like to do in a course, how it translates to their online teaching, and what are some of their wishes. Some of them are already BigBlueButton users. We hope their experiences spark some creativity in your teaching.
This wish is at the top of almost all teachers’ lists. No wonder! Nobody likes to stand in front of a classroom (or in front of a computer) where the students are constantly yawning and counting down the minutes until the lesson is over. There are some tried-and-true recipes for keeping attention:
This one actually ties in with the desire to hold the students’ attention because you can create that hook in your online course. Don’t limit your geography or history lesson to a dull enumeration of a country’s characteristics and people. Prepare a Smart Slides show with predefined polling questions. Take your students by the hand, so to speak, as you guide them, for example, to Indonesia. Introduce them to the people living there, what they do, how they work, eat, sleep, and so on.
You can always pause your slideshow to play URLs from YouTube, Vimeo or enter Canvas Studio. Take advantage of that break to ask questions that your students can fill out through a poll. Allow them to respond in chat or by writing something on the multi-user whiteboard. Not only does this strengthen the immersive experience, but the children are also interacting.
Students can sometimes have a hard time concentrating, but so can you. You know full well the days when you would rather stay in bed in the morning. In this case, BigBlueButton can be an advantage for you. No, we’re not referring to the classic joke of the pyjama pants dress code. We do mean that if you’re not feeling well, it’s pleasant that you don’t have to commute from your home to school.When school is over, you don’t have to go through the evening rush hour, because you are already at home. You can truly relax now and slip into those pyjama pants.
You know it will happen, but you can never anticipate when it will strike, a student or a group of students under a giggle attack. How you’d love to know what’s so funny. But when you ask the question, their answer is hardly ever funny. That’s usually also the moment giggling subsides. While you have the mute function to silence attendees, we advise you to not do so in a case like this one. Simply let the little episode pass.
Some teachers would like to have muscles of steel. If they make a mistake or if a student acts a bit clumsy, this can result in joint hilarity. While you should continue the lesson with a straight face, it is not always easy.
Teachers tell us that they love dividing their students into smaller teams of two, three, four or more so that they can work together. Within each of these breakout rooms, teachers can dive in and out of them to support students with any additional questions they might have. Remarkably, students themselves find this very enjoyable too. Psychologists are likely to say that in a group, participants feel safer to make suggestions and feel invited to participate actively. They also get to know the other students better. If another plenary situation follows the group work, they also express themselves more easily. Your BigBlueButton web conferencing software provides the breakout room function for such occasions.
In general, announcing a pop quiz will make your students sigh and frown. Incorporate a fun factor in them to make them more palatable. Keep the questions varied and use pictures and sound clips to help find the answer. Keep your finger on the emoji button for quick, immediate rewards and have a certificate ready for the final winner, or – if you divided the players into teams in break out rooms – the victorious team. Also, consider creating a bulletin board to display in their physical classroom or a Cloud location. With it, you recognize the students’ efforts and encourage them to do better next time.
The blackboard has been a teacher’s trustworthy companion for a few centuries. But don’t you hate it when a fresh piece of chalk breaks while you’re writing? It’s even worse if your nail happens to slip over the surface. For that, we at BigBlueButton have the ideal solution. Our whiteboard does not need any chalk at all.
It can sometimes happen that you stand in front of your class and give your course with enthusiasm. Appropriate examples immediately come to mind. The children are ultra-attentive, asking pointed questions and are really “in the flow”. Such relished moments, you can record any segments of your class using the Start/Stop Record button. With some minor editing, these online classroom sessions can serve as webinars.