Article written by Pamoja Teacher, Haoken Huoermaiti

In his second post offering advice to teachers who are having to quickly adapt from in class teaching to online teaching in the face of school closures, Haoken Huoermaiti provides eight tips and tricks for managing an online classroom. If you haven’t done so already, take a look at Haoken’s first post on how to facilitate inquiry-based learning in online classrooms.

Eight tips to get you started with an online classroom:

1. Before you start, first familiarise yourself with the platform you will use. Test your video, audio, and microphone. Set up reminders to ensure that you do not miss an important scheduled meeting.

2. Begin your class by briefing over your agenda or plan for the session, by screen-sharing a document or slide. This gives students a clear idea of how the class will progress, topics that will be covered, and the activities they will engage in.

3. Discuss ‘online etiquette’ and your expectations of the students in your first virtual class.g. appropriate use of language, active participation, not interrupting over other participants, respecting other opinions, etc.

4. Always engage your students; the more interactive the class, the better. Share images, videos, documents or presentations you are using. For example, students can annotate to highlight items, such as grammar mistakes, on a paper you’re sharing. If possible, utilise an online collaborative whiteboard. A tablet with pen will be needed.

5. Divide the class into smaller groups for focused discussions on a certain topic. Zoom, for instance, provides the Breakout Room feature to either pre-assign or auto-assign students into groups for a short period of time.

6. Have students share and present their projects with the class. This way, students can show what they have worked on, and practice their presentation skills at the same time. Peer feedback allows students to learn from each other.

7. Take some time to promote questions, comments, and reactions from your class. Students may use reactions, write their questions in the chat room, or unmute themselves to ask their questions live.

8. Always look at the camera to maintain eye contact with your students. This helps to create a more personal connection. It is recommended to use a headset and microphones so that your voice will be enunciated loud and clearly.

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