Zoom is the communication tool we use at our school among all the students and teachers. After the first week of remote teaching, I found some ways to use Zoom in student-teacher meeting settings. Who knew you needed a "classroom management" skill with video conferencing?
#1 Mute Participants on Entry
Students have tendency to start talking as soon as they enter the room or start talking over each other. At the beginning of each meeting, try to do a quick ice breaker/team building activity that utilizes the Chat functions in Zoom. Ask questions that could be answered with hand raising or yes/no. For example, how many people woke up at 9:00 this morning?
#2 Enable Waiting Room
To avoid Zoombombing! As a host, you can admit students one by one into the meeting when they enter your meeting code. You can always ignore names you don't recognize and do not allow that person to enter your meeting.
#3 Uncheck "Allow Participants to Unmute Themselves"
Again, students have tendency to talk over each other, uncheck this item so you can manage the noise or chatter levels when hosting. If a student has a question, he/she can raise their virtual hands in the chat or simply raise their hands in the screen. Teacher can then unmute a student. ***Teacher needs to have the view screen in gallery mode to see all the students at once.
#4 Uncheck "Allow Participants to Rename Themselves"
To prevent silly or inappropriate names. It also lets you know whether or not you should allow someone into your meeting from the Waiting Room.
#5 Chat Room
Utilize this to start your meeting! See #1 tip. In the Chat room, check "Participants Can Chat With: Everyone Publicly" only.
These are the items I always check before hosting a meeting with students. I am sure that there are other useful tips to manage a "classroom". Feel free to comment below to share more tips or ideas!
If you are a teacher in the US during March of 2020, you are likely to be in the same boat as I am - doing remote teaching. This is my first remote teaching to a group of students. Before we started our two-week spring break, the school shared 3 different possible plans/schedules with us if the school were to close due to COVID-19. That step eased my mind and provided some clarity to all the uncertainties out there at the time.
1. Constant communication
2. Schedules for the first two weeks of school - to avoid confusions
3. Tasks to be completed by teacher before the first meeting - A CHECKLIST!
4. Tech tutorials - created by a tech department to familiar teachers with the necessary online tools
5. Expectations for teaching online classes
6. Gradings - focus a lot on immediate and productive feedback
7. Videos - in order to main a community and relationship with students, it is recommended for teachers to include a short video before each lesson.
Does the list above prepare me well for remote teaching? It is hard to say. However, the important thing is we all do what we can to ensure students are getting the most out of this experience. Technology is powerful, but at the same time, we can also burn out from extensive use of screen time. Be attentive with assignments that also allow students to be away from their computers while they learn! Take care of yourself, and let's explore the world of online teaching.