Connecting via webcam is not always easy and it takes creativity to stimulate students’ brains!
In fact, teaching online requires the use of completely different skills than teaching in person!
With the home environment surrounded by potential distractions, keeping students engaged, motivated, and interested in their lessons can be one of the biggest challenges facing teachers online.
The question most of us online educators ask ourselves at least once is, “How can I make the online classroom experience more exciting for my students?
Fortunately, there are plenty of tips and tricks to help you increase classroom engagement.
Here are the top 8 tips that will help you learn how to make lessons fun and engaging in an online classroom:
- Showcase your best (online)
- Use technology to your advantage
- Find what inspires your students
- Set goals and help them students to Respect them
- Keep it interactive
- Break the lessons down and make them digestible
- Make your students feel appreciated
- Be patient with your students
Showcase your best (online)
If your students can see you using a webcam, make sure that not just you, but also the environment you’re in, is presentable.
To avoid any distractions, start with a plain background.
And that’s only the beginning!
If students can see your face, it will motivate them 100 times more if you appear engaged and interested in what they are saying (even if this needs all of your saintly teacher patience!).
Your visual assets must also be up to par.
Ensure that your slides are clean and clear, and that any movies you utilise are of high quality.
To introduce new activities or change the tempo of your class, try changing the tone of your voice!
Exercising your storytelling abilities and publicly praising others is a good idea. This can go a long way toward motivating your students.
Also, make sure that any audio clips you intend to include are of high quality.
Finally, while this may seem self-evident, make sure you can teach your online classes from a location with a stable internet connection.
A shaky connection that continually cutting off will cause pupils to lose interest faster than anything else.
Make the most of technology.
Teaching online has its drawbacks, but it also provides you with access to a plethora of useful resources.
You can use the technology you have to bring diversity to your classes and keep students on their toes, whether you employ whiteboards, pointers, virtual games, text editors, drawing tools, file editors, breakout rooms, or screen-sharing applications.
First and foremost, ensure that you understand how to utilise these virtual tools and take the time to teach them to students so that they are comfortable utilising them as well.
Then consider how you could include them into your teaching to make them more engaging.
You may, for example, attract students with entertaining rewards.
There isn’t a kid alive who doesn’t get excited at the idea of 30 seconds of free play with a drawing tool!
Discover what motivates your students.
The good news is that, just like in any other face-to-face classroom, the key to engaging your online students is to discover what motivates them and provides them a reason to participate in class.
Use the same means you would in a real-life classroom when teaching English online or if you are a classroom instructor who has gone virtual.
Play some music or just use the drawing tool to your heart’s content!
Don’t be scared to experiment with your kids until you find something that they like.
Help your kids set goals and stick to them.
Setting goals and reminding online students of their progress is another approach to help them stay on track with their studies (and maintain a feeling of purpose).
Setting objectives for online students
Make sure each lesson has a clear outline that you share with your students so they know where they are in the learning process and the context for any activity they are doing. This is a simple approach to add short-term goals into your online classroom.
Then consider how you may motivate pupils to complete assignments (or, even better, to work hard) throughout a session.
You might use positive reinforcement, badges, points, games, or other enjoyable learning activities to engage your students.
Going too far into the future with long-term goals may not be productive, but take time now and then to check in with your students and set goals together for the next month, three months, or six months.
Checking on the progress of online students
Make sure you build continuity between classes by doing quick revisions or quizzes on previous topics for short-term progress assessments.
Building a portfolio of work with students is a terrific approach to remind them of their long-term success so they can look back and see how far they’ve gone.
Starting an achievement page is one way to do this online.
If you’re teaching kids, you may go to the success page and ask them to draw something that reminds them of what they’ve learned every time they do anything (you might want to make it an achievement tree they can add to or a trophy shelf.) If you’re working with teenagers or adults, you might want to ask them to compose something.
As the course proceeds, the website will be filled with reminders of your kids’ accomplishments and proud moments.
Make it participatory.
In a face-to-face session, it’s common to allow students some time to work alone or read a text for silent meditation.
However, these kind of activities do not work well in online classes.
On a screen, long, thick texts are difficult to read (it’s much easier to divide things up into bits).
Silence in virtual classrooms does not transmit well since it provides the perfect excuse for a student’s attention to wander!
The way to proceed is to plan activities that keep your pupils engaged clicking, typing, or conversing throughout the class.
This can be accomplished by asking a lot of questions, introducing games, and requiring learners to physically do things like draw or type in dialogue boxes.
You can also make sure your student has to say something every three minutes or so when you’re organising your class.
Break the lecture down into manageable chunks.
In online teaching, timing is key, and you may discover that you need to break up your online courses differently than you would face-to-face classes.
It’s a good idea to keep a fast pace and break down information into small, easily digestible chunks as a general rule.
In practise, this means avoiding long explanations and PowerPoint slides with too much text!
Adding a range of activity kinds to your sessions to change up the speed is another fantastic method to help the time fly by for your pupils.
You may also use free lesson planners like Planboard to write your lesson plans for the online classroom.
There are many of free tools available for online English teachers to get started.
Give your kids a sense of worth.
The truth is that the isolation that students in online classrooms feel might be a major factor in their demotivation.
They may believe that no one will notice or care if they miss a class, or they may find it all too tempting to skip class if they’re tired.
Making their pupils feel valued in the classroom is the best approach for online teachers to aid with this.
You might be wondering how I go about doing it.
Here are a few recommendations:
- Learn and use your student’s name throughout the lesson, and make sure they know yours.
- Continue to build on what you’ve done in past classes to show your students that you’re paying attention to what they’re learning (and they should be too)
- Discover your student’s passions and include them into the class as much as feasible.
- Regularly provide feedback on your students’ efforts.
- Make an effort to be a positive, encouraging, and present person.
Take your time with your students.
It’s no secret that keeping pupils engaged and stimulated is difficult. Remember that young children often have short attention spans, making it difficult for them to sit still and concentrate at times.
This is very natural and acceptable!
It’s critical to take a break from them now and then and to be patient with them.
When something isn’t working, your pupils can tell whether you’re annoyed or frustrated.
And this aggravates the situation.
Allow them to take a small break now and then.
It’ll make a significant difference!
Make your virtual classroom more engaging.
It takes ingenuity to teach online.
At first, online settings can be difficult to master, but with a little effort and time, your students will have the finest possible experience.
They’ll be eager to log into your classroom as well.
To summarise, here are the eight techniques to boost online engagement:
- Put your best (online) foot forward.
- Make the most of technology.
- Find out what motivates your students.
- Set goals for students and assist them in achieving them.
- Maintain a lively atmosphere.
- Make the lessons more consumable by breaking them down.
- Make your kids feel important and respected.
- Remember to be patient with your students.
We hope these suggestions provided you with a solid basis for creating better online classrooms, but don’t be discouraged if you still require additional assistance.
If you need more assistance, you can refer our article “New Ideas To Increase Student Engagement In Online Classes”, which will boost your confidence and help you transition seamlessly into the realm of online teaching.