The COVID-19 pandemic has quickly transformed the traditional classroom set-ups into virtual and online classes that often require them to stay in front of a computer screen for hours. Zoom, one of the most popular videoconferencing platforms as of date, has immensely helped teachers, parents, and even school administrators stay in touch while continuously looking for ways to enhance kids’ online learning experiences.
However, sometimes online classes for kids can be a little monotonous compared to real-life classroom interaction. It’s because of this very reason that kids’ attention can be easily diverted, which often takes their focus away from authentic learning when they step into the virtual world. And we all know how essential it is to keep kids engaged to ensure that effective online learning occurs. This is where fun hands-on activities, like arts and crafts, music recitals and online science classes, could come in handy.
Start With the Online Class Basics
Before each class, ensure that all the technical aspects are covered by checking the audio and video settings first. Test the microphone and speakers of your device. Try finding the best angle where you could position the camera so the video feed to your learners will not be too zoomed-in or zoomed-out. By doing this, you can ensure that only minimal technical concerns could interrupt your online classes, which is very important especially if you’re conducting online science classes for kids.
Zoom has a ton of features that you could make the most out of. Take advantage of its Screensharing and Annotation features to easily share your presentation with the kids. You can also highlight images and essential concepts that make the learning experience more interactive and fun for your learners. Or you may also let the kids write on a virtual board using Zoom’s Whiteboard feature. Enable all these extra features by going to your account settings before you start your online classes.
Brainstorm Using Breakout Rooms
You can also create avenues where your learners could share their ideas among themselves by creating breakout rooms. Once enabled, you may either select the option to let the software automatically assign the participants to each room or choose to manually assign your learners to rooms depending on your group dynamics. As the host, you can jump from one breakout room to another to facilitate and guide the students throughout each separate session.
It’s challenging for young learners to sit still for long durations. Kids’ attention span varies depending on their age, where they can only focus on one activity for two to five minutes per year old. So, if you have an online class of five year olds, expect them to focus on one task only for approximately 10–25 minutes.
Incorporating movement in your online classes should help you keep their attention longer. Even a simple task as a body break where they can do basic stretches could help ease the monotony of an online class that may be too long for their attention span. Let them create arts and crafts, or play musical instruments. Letting them work on online science experiments in their virtual classes is also a sure way to get your kids moving and engaged at the same time.
One of the best things you could do to create a fun online learning experience is to integrate games into the lesson itself. It takes a bit of brainstorming and deliberation to ensure that the selected game would be relevant to the topic. Still, it can enhance the overall interactive aspect of your online class. Some games don’t require any additional items like Charades, Would You Rather, or even Pictionary, where you can use Zoom’s Whiteboard feature.
On the other hand, some games and activities may require additional materials to pave the way to an even more authentic learning experience. One example would be conducting hands-on experiments for online science classes. Though it will require additional learning materials, these tasks can instantly make a virtual class, especially an online science class, even more engaging and worth the extra planning time and resources spent.
Incorporating hands-on activities into your daily virtual classes could help you run that (almost) ideal online class you’ve been aiming for, whether you’re using Zoom or any other online learning platform for your young ones.
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