Tips For Making Virtual Classroom Sessions More Interactive

Jo Hart facilitated an amazing session on tips for making virtual classrooms such as Elluminate more interactive at this week’s free online PD. Here is the link to the recording if you want to check it out.

Our next Friday session will also be on virtual classrooms but this time participants will be given the opportunity to take turns moderating the virtual classroom and developing their own skills. We’re hoping that participants take a concept(s) that Jo covered during the session to create resources suitable for their own teaching and bring them to the next session.

To aid this process here is a summary of some of the tips covered.

Some Background Info

Virtual classrooms are essential aspect of training at Jo’s College as their students are spread across the Wheatbelt region (155,000 km²) of Western Australia.

Always remember that there is a social dimension to learning and this aspect is even more important for online learning because students can feel more isolated. Virtual classrooms are one of the tools that can help reduce this sense of isolation for online students.

Keeping everyone awake in a virtual classroom is a challenge because unlike a physical classroom you can’t read student’s body language. It’s important to provide students with things to do other than just listening; build interactive tasks into the session.

PowerPoint and Whiteboard ToolsWhen you upload a PowerPoint into Elluminate any text or images on the slides are fixed in place and can’t be moved. However any text or images you add to those slides from within Elluminate can moved around on the slide. This aspect can be used to create a wide range of activities.

Labeling Activities Using the Whiteboard

Image of MicroscopeInsert an image or list of terms you want the students to define on a PowerPoint slide. Once uploaded, prior to the start of the session, add text to serve as labels to the bottom of the slide.

During the session get the students to drag and drop the text labels to the right locations on the image. Alternatively get the students to type the labels themselves.

If you want to re-use this same activity for other groups of students save the Whiteboard as a wbd file (File > Save Whiteboard > Save as wbd).

Image of Wordsearch

Wordseach

Create a Wordsearch on a PowerPoint slide and upload. Get the students to use the pen tool to highlight the terms.

You can choose whether you do/don’t provide a wordlist.

Wordstorms

Wordstorms are great for exploring ideas/opinions, developing concept maps and checking understanding. On your PowerPoint slide write the task in the middle and upload. Get the students to type their ideas/thoughts onto the whiteboard.

Image of a Wordstorm

What is Activities

Examples of What is Activities are getting students to define terms in pairs, find information using the Internet.

Jo did a clever trick of asking us all to put up our hands and using the order we put up our hands to pair us with partners e.g. Number 1 partnered with number 2 etc. Then she put a question on the whiteboard and partners had to text answers to each other so only the partners and moderator could see the responses.

Image of activity

We were all given 45 seconds to text our answers then she put the answer up on the board and asked us to text our partners name to the room if they got the answer correct.

The activity was finished off by participating searching for images relating to the question — Which was what is a bobolink? Images were saved to our desktop then uploaded onto the Whiteboard.

Alternatively you can distribute the participants into break out rooms and get the to brainstorm ideas or research topics in their rooms. Set a time limit using the timer and bring them back to the main room to present their results.

Poll Tool and Quiz Manager

Image of a pollCreating polls and Quizzes are good for revision, assessment activity or reinforcer of learning.

Choices in polls are Yes/No or multiple choice options such as A, B, C. You can choose to hide their responses so they don’t know each others vote until you choose to display.

The Quiz manager allows you to create multiple choice and short answer questions. Both the poll tool and quiz manager are accessed through the Tools menu.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Definitely worth taking the time to listen to the recording from the session. If you are looking for “How To’s” guides for using Elluminate you will find them here on the Elluminate website.  Don’t forget anyone can get their own Elluminate Vroom.

Our next session is this Friday 21 November from 9-10 AM (Perth, Western Australia). Anyone can join! Doesn’t matter if you missed the last session we will be taking that into account. Remember – If you get a chance – create some material to test during our next session.

If you attended the session:

  1. What ideas did you get from it?
  2. And how could you use it with your students?

And if you’re enjoying this blog, please consider Subscribing for free!

Subscribe To Our Calendar for Free Online PD!

Image of A CalendarJo Hart (from C.Y O’Connor College of TAFE) and I have been running free online professional development every Friday since 31 October from 9-10 AM (Perth, Western Australia time). Anyone can join us and each week we cover different topics based on input from the participants.

This Friday’s topic is techniques for making Live Classrooms such as Elluminate more interactive. Both Jo and I have been using Elluminate for several years with our distance learning students. Elluminate is also really good for hosting meetings. You can get your own free Vroom here which is handy when you want to hold discussions or doing training with a small number of people.

I’ve set up a Google Calendar for this PD and will be adding online PD/Conferences to the calendar as they are brought to my attention. If you would like to attend our PD and be automatically notified please subscribe to our calendar. Google Calendar will automatically converts our time zone to your time zone. Read this post to learn more about using Google Calendar to make your life easier.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I will be writing up a review of what was covered in the last two sessions — soon!

This online PD session is free for anyone to attend. Please leave a comment:

  1. If you’re considering attending
  2. Have ideas of topics you would like covered
  3. Need any assistance setting up Elluminate on your computer

Click on this Elluminate link to join the session on Friday. If you have any trouble using the Elluminate link on Friday please email me at suewater{at]gmail[dot]com or send me a tweet using twitter.

And if you’re enjoying this blog, please consider Subscribing for free!

Interested In FREE Online PD This Friday?

Image of Team workInteresting in joining us for some “hands on” online professional development this Friday? Free, online and ANYONE can attend!!!!

Jo Hart (from C.Y O’Connor College of TAFE) and I will be running online professional development this Friday 31 October from 9-10 AM (Western Australia time which is UTC/GMT +9 hours – check this time converter for the time in your location – thanks to Carla Arena for creating the link for us) using Elluminate (a live classroom). This will be a “hand’s on” session designed for participants to share their knowledge/skills and help each other increase their skills in using web technologies for elearning.

At the start of the session we will be asking for participant’s input on what they would like covered during the session. All suggestions welcomed!

Here are some examples of topic ideas that we could cover during the session:

  • Using various features of Elluminate to make it interactive
  • What is a ….. wiki/blog/podcast/digital story etc and how can we use them with students
  • Using ARED or Hot Potatoes (only one feature at a time)
  • Using Photofiltre to make images appropriate size etc
  • Creating Toondoos

To get the most out of attending the session we recommend you have a headset with microphone so you can talk to the other participants. However you will be able to hear and write text messages if you have external speakers.

If you’ve never used Elluminate we recommend that prior to the session you go to Elluminate Product Support and complete:

  • Step 1 Java software check – If not installed follow the instructions to install
  • Step 2 Complete your set up – Join the Configuration Room to test your connection and configure your audio.
  • Step 3 Learn more about Elluminate Live! – Check out the online tutorials

Click on this Elluminate link to join the session on Friday.

FINAL THOUGHTS

This online PD session is free for anyone to attend. Please leave a comment:

  1. If you’re considering attending
  2. Have ideas of topics you would like covered
  3. Need any assistance setting up Elluminate on your computer

If you have any trouble using the Elluminate link on Friday please email me at suewater{at]gmail[dot]com or send me a tweet using twitter.

Image by Lumaxart licensed under Creative Commons.

And if you’re enjoying this blog, please consider Subscribing for free!