A person logging into the virtual classroom

How to Make the Virtual Classroom Experience Better

Teaching or learning in the virtual classroom can be difficult but there are some easy things you can do to have a better classroom experience. Unfortunately, not everyone has adapted nicely to this new way of learning and it has lead to classroom disruptions and a less than favorable environment.

After teaching for multiple years online and now a couple of months using platforms like Zoom and Google Meeting I have learned some tricks for parents, students and teachers to help you navigate this new form of learning.

The biggest thing to remember is that the virtual classroom is an extension of the physical classroom. So, here are a few tips to help you have a better educational experience:

Remember to dress appropriately

Whether you’re a teacher or a student you should dress as if you were leaving your home. It not only communicates seriousness and respect to others from you but it will also change your attitude and you will be more open to learning and being productive. Dress for success!

Learn proper microphone use

When you join the virtual classroom make sure your microphone is muted until you need to participate. There is nothing worse than a bunch of background noise that distracts the teacher and students. Also, make sure you check your audio levels before joining so that you’re not too low or too high. Finally, remember to unmute when it’s your turn to speak.

Be mindful of what is transmitted through your camera

Remember! People can see you and your environment so be careful. If you’re a teacher make sure to select a well-lit room that has no distractions in the background. The same goes for students. Make sure to avoid connecting in a busy room and having a distracting background. Distractions are bad for you and the rest of the class even if you mute the microphone. Oh! and avoid distracting virtual backgrounds.

Use the features provided by the virtual classroom to ask questions.

It’s very difficult to have discussions when you can’t see everyone else in the room and you might have noticed that it’s common to speak over each other. If you need to participate, post a comment in the chat box or if you have the raised hand feature like in Zoom then do that. It will create a more organized conversation and the conversations will have a better flow. If you’re a teacher be sure to provide guidelines ahead of time.

Avoid distractions

When you’re in the virtual classroom It’s very easy to get distracted. Close all of apps and other browsers. Having these open will tempt you to switch screens and browse the internet while you’re in class. Also, make sure to put away your phone and if possible, turn it off so you don’t feel the need to check your screen.

Sometimes the meeting is recorded

Always make sure to ask or check if the virtual call is being recorded. As a teacher or host you can deactivate the function. If you’re a student and the meeting is being recorded remember that everything you say and that your camera sees will be permanent until the video is deleted.

Always protect your privacy

The best advice I can give here is to say that it’s always better to be safe than sorry. If you’re a teacher or student never share any personal information even if you think it’s safe. It’s always better to do so using another platform or in person. For parents, it’s important to monitor your children consistently to make sure they are safe.

Whether you’re a student or teacher or even a parent you need to always be aware of proper etiquette and use of the virtual classroom. It will help you better teach or learn and have a more enjoyable experience as we continue working through the challenges presented by remote learning.

Here are a few resources to help you out:

Video for teachers on Zoom

A Great YouTube Channel for everything Google Classroom

Safety on Zoom

There are probably many more tips and tricks that we should remember when in a virtual classroom. Can you add to this list? Comment below and share your experience.


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