Mitigating COVID-19 Risks With Virtual Classrooms

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COVID-19 pandemic has affected all verticals. The education sector is not an exception. Most of the world’s governments recommend social distancing and staying at home.  While these are the two primary actions to combat the spread of Coronavirus, at the same time, they make classic education practices impossible. Moving to virtual classes to reduce the chances of COVID-19 is important. Having said that, it can prove tricky if you don’t have any prior experience with cloud-based LMS tools and teaching remotely.

Healthcare has been the most affected sector due to Coronavirus. The pandemic has accelerated the use of telehealth and telemedicine.  With most of the country under a shelter in place order, “seeing” your doctor via your laptop or PC has become mainstream. Healthcare providers are doing what they can to improve the patient experience.

As a matter of fact, most schools have sent their students home trying to minimize the infection rate of COVID-19.  Since education is an important part of our life, many schools and colleges have turned to virtual classroom software to ensure continuity. To help you overcome it, today, we are going to discuss some of the best virtual classroom software as well as remote teaching practices. Read on to find out.

Research As a Cornerstone of Your Efforts

There’s nothing new about online learning. Experts have been researching it for quite some time now. Also, there are plenty of educational institutions exclusively offering online programs to their students. Why are we telling you this?

There are various online resources to utilize, just like the article you are reading at the moment. You can extend your research to multiple forums and listen to what students have to say about online learning.

Finally, there are also hundreds of videos on this topic that you will find helpful.

It is important to do the groundwork and build confidence before you “set foot” in a virtual classroom. It will add value to your interaction with learners and set you up as an authority, just like in a regular classroom.

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Learning Online As A Lesson Number One

Learners of all ages are used to learning from face-to-face classroom interactions. They learn by observing teachers, listening, interacting with a teacher and other students. This is your students’ comfort zone.

That’s where they know what to expect and what is expected from them. Switching immediately to virtual classroom software and continuous learning as if nothing happened is just too fast. Taking students out of their comfort zone can negatively affect learning.

A great majority of them don’t know how to learn online. Your first step, therefore, should be to introduce students to the concept of online learning and help them find out how to learn online.

This will serve as an adjustment period and will give enough time to your students to learn the tool you are using.

There Should Be Some Rules

Teaching person-to-person can be challenging, especially when there are a lot of students in the classroom.

The problems of short attention span happen in real-life learning scenarios, let alone learning at home when Facebook, Instagram, and games are a few clicks or screen taps away.

Teaching in a virtual classroom is even more challenging because you can’t see or control all the things that are going on behind the screen. In such a situation, how to tell if the students are engaged?

Start by setting some ground rules that should be abided by everyone. The most important rules should provide structure to discussions and communication. Make these rules easy to understand. Inform students at the very beginning of a course.

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Make Sure You Engage Everyone

On the engagement level, there is one useful trick that you can apply to keep all learners engaged. During communication and discussions, take note of active students.

There are most likely to be students who don’t interact at all. To make the learning in the virtual classroom effective, you have to bring them into the discussion.

The only thing that you can do is to address them directly. You can smooth their way into the conversation by asking some easy questions. Help them build confidence to embrace digital communication and take an active role in remote learning.

The trick is not only to ask many questions but to ask the right ones. All the questions popularly called “W” questions are good (what, who, when, where, why).

Q&A learning sessions deliver results, and they are easy to implement in virtual classroom scenarios.

Group Assignments Are The Way to Go

Being home with the entire family and having to participate actively in a learning process is borderline impossible. However, learning in front of a desktop, smartphone, or tablet screen can be turned into a productive activity despite the environment.

There are dozens of studies that confirm that learning in small groups provides excellent results. Fortunately, the majority of modern cloud-based LMS software solutions support this feature.

To make learning more interesting, and boost the engagement of students, divide them into small groups.

Use the software at your disposal to give them group assignments.

Don’t forget to take an active role in each group. Stop by, ask questions, and monitor students’ progress. Make changes as you go to achieve the most optimal results.

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Gamification: Yes or No?

You should know that virtual classroom software comes with gamification features. Video game technology to help stroke patients regain functions and improve patient motivation and compliance is #11 on Becker’s list of 12 Disruptive Healthcare Innovations,

These features enable you to show scoreboards and award students with points based on their results and achievements. Why is this important?

You have to acknowledge the current situation. As a result of reducing the chances of COVID-19 infection, we now have students spending most of their waking hours at home.

They are focused on things at hand. And at the moment, the chances are that learning is not one of these things. But you can introduce it back on the list of these things if you make learning fun.

Gamification can help you turn a virtual classroom into an engaging and fun place. It can also help you make learning interactive and promote knowledge retention.

More importantly, it will help your students forget about their everyday worries and want to come back to the classroom every day for their dose of fun.

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Choosing the Best Virtual Classroom Software

Ok, now you know how to prepare and promote engagement, knowledge absorption, and retention in a virtual classroom setting. The next step relates to choosing the right virtual classroom software.

ProProfs Virtual Classroom Software

ProProfs virtual classroom software is a complete online learning management solution that lives up to the expectations of end-users. It features a virtual classroom supported by state-of-the-art cloud-based LMS software.

The tool is designed to help streamline online learning and make the entire process easier for both instructors and learners.

ProProfs classroom features a drag-and-drops course editor, which you can use without any previous experience. Creating and sharing courses takes only a couple of minutes.

If you are teaching different grades or subjects, you will be happy to find out that ProProfs is equipped with an excellent group management feature. You can create courses and invite selected students only to attend them.

The online classroom also supports quizzes and tests to assess student progress with ease. It is completely optimized for mobile, so your students can keep learning even on smartphones and tablets.

Vedamo

Vedamo is another valuable option to consider. It is built around the concept of an interactive virtual classroom and comes with a variety of tools to help you with your online course management.

The platform has built-in video conferencing features that you can use for face-to-face interactions with learners, even when teaching remotely.

Currently, Vedamo supports video conferencing with up to 25 learners per session.

You can create a custom tutoring environment and enjoy all the benefits of modern cloud-based LMS.

Vedamo is mobile-ready, meaning that you and your students can use it efficiently on any device.

You can also deliver classic text, image, and video-based online learning material or decide to blend it with face-to-face sessions. It’s all up to you.

BigBlueButton

BigBlueButton was developed as an answer to modern online learning challenges. It comes with features that are tailored for teachers.

There are, however, some features designed specifically for students. BigBlueButton supports audio, slides, chat, video, and desktop sharing.

Teachers can use this feature to explain certain concepts in detail and showcase some procedures.

The platform offers a live whiteboard. This is a really convenient tool for teachers, as it automatically facilitates communication and interaction with learners.

Standard video conferencing support is also there. To engage students, BigBlueButton introduced emoji icons, polling capabilities, and breakout rooms where students can hang out and take a break from lessons.

BigBlueButton is not a cloud-based LMS, but it supports integrations that you find in all the popular LMSs.

LearnCube

LearnCube is virtual classroom software. It is characterized by an intuitive dashboard and easy-to-use features that teachers with no technical background can start using right away.

LearnCube supports video conference calls, but it goes one step further. It enables teachers to record live sessions so that students can replay them at their own convenience.

LearnCube was developed to cater to the needs of teachers who teach languages, but the abundance of features makes it viable for teaching a variety of subjects.

Teachers can use it to facilitate collaboration and communicate new information in an easy-to-consume manner. Teachers get the option to introduce several interactive whiteboards and use them simultaneously.

Airstack

If you are familiar with Airstack, you are probably wondering what it is doing here among virtual classroom software solutions when it is not one.

Airstack is not an LMS platform nor a virtual classroom solution, but it can be your valuable ally in turning any classroom into a digital one.

Its primary role is to collect all the digital tools you and your colleagues are using and enable you to share them. Thanks to Airstack, you can see the solutions your colleagues use and incorporate the most useful ones in your workflow.

Airstack makes tool sharing seamless. All you have to do is add your tools to the catalog and include a brief description. From that point on, anyone in your team can see the tools and access them whenever they want.

CLIPP

CLIPP is a result of a years-long effort by QuickStart, a company that specializes in providing IT-related training. This learning platform features cutting-edge technologies, including AI, to help teachers deliver exceptional online lessons.

Due to the complex nature of the tool, it might take some time to learn how to use CLIPP. But once you master it, nothing will stand in your way of transforming teaching and learning.

Thanks to the AI, you will be able to personalize course material to meet the individual needs of your students.

CLIPP is a mobile-ready and cloud-based LMS that makes online learning convenient for students during social distancing and self-isolation.

It supports three learning types – self-paced asynchronous, blended learning, and synchronous virtual classroom.

Elvis Virtual Classroom

Elvis virtual classroom is a robust online learning software suite.

It is designed to help educational institutions with large student pools deliver courses efficiently. The onboarding process might take a while due to the number of features, though.

In any case, it is a viable option.

Elvis comes with all the tools needed to bring students in a virtual classroom.

Teachers can upload a variety of online course material, create polls, and organize instructor-led training sessions. All virtual classroom sessions can be recorded and shared with students.

The platform has a live chat and document sharing functions built-in to facilitate communication and collaboration among students.

Over to You

Online learning presents golden opportunities to both teachers and students. As it plays a vital role in reducing the chances of COVID-19, you have an exclusive chance to try it if you haven’t done it yet. These tips will certainly help you streamline your online learning delivery method.

When it comes to choosing the best cloud-based LMS, always take your goals and students’ needs into account. It will help you make an informed decision and get a solution that benefits you all.

 

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Kamy Anderson is an ed-tech enthusiast with a passion for writing on emerging technologies in the areas of corporate training and education. He is an expert in learning management system & eLearning authoring tools - currently associated with ProProfs Training Maker.

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