As we approach a full year of virtual and hybrid learning, Zoom fatigue has set in -- for us as educators, but especially for our students. Navigating the ongoing meetings and staying organized online can be challenging for the best of us, and many young learners have had a particularly rough time in hybrid classrooms.
We’ve asked our expert educators and searched the web for the best ideas for keeping students engaged during online sessions. Here’s what we found:
Break Down Your Lessons! Long conference calls are a challenge, especially for young students. Keep lessons short and, whenever possible, in small groups so learners have an opportunity to engage one-on-one instead of getting lost in lectures.
• Put students into breakout rooms so they can discuss concepts in small groups and have fewer distraction
• Keep an organized list of daily/weekly assignments and goals for students to refer to
• Try a flipped classroom style or virtual learning stations to make lessons manageable
Use the Tech You’ve Got! At this point, we know our way around a Zoom call. Now’s the time to learn a new program or find a website that can change your approach -- or look at your existing tools a new way.
• Collaborative editing and annotation abilities such as those in Google Docs can be used for round-robin storytelling or group brainstorming activities
• Create a virtual vocab wall or list of free-time activities with Bitmoji or Google Sites
Keep it Interactive! Find hands-on activities like virtual scavenger hunts or games for your learners to play online together, or have them gather materials from the home for DIY experiments they can livestream for you during your call.
• Have students use gestures or hand symbols to respond to flashcards or quizzes
• Play a review game like Kahoot (free premium features during Covid-19) for test prep
• Have students lead storytime or small groups lead their own Zoom experiments
As part of our ongoing series on virtual learning, we’d love to hear from you about how you promote engagement online, especially in your K-5 classrooms. If there are ways you’ve succeeded or struggled to engage your learners online, let us know in the comments below! For more information on engaging Engineering and Computer Science curricula, explore Engineering and Computer Science Essentials.