Oh, the joys of teaching on Zoom.
The early morning panic to charge all the necessary equipment, gingerly balancing the ring light on top of stool, on top of a wonky table. Knocking coffee on the keyboard because I was too focused on my bowl of Cheerios. Asking the students again and again and again if; "thumbs up, thumbs down - can you see the lyrics?"
Despite all of this, I have actually relished in teaching using this format. There's something really liberating about allowing students to use technology in a safe, interactive way. So often as teachers we are discouraged from including apps and the like in our lessons. Why should this be the case when we teach the Information Generation? Why should this be the case when we teach generation information? They will all need those techno skills in the Post-Covid era, so why not cultivate them now?
For some of my students who learn in a different way, these Zoom classes have been terrific. For once, they won’t be disrupting the student sat next to them if they need to get up and have a wander round the room. They won’t be scolded for playing with a toy whilst I talk, keeping their hands busy, but minds engaged. We can all partake in the lesson together, at our own pace.
It’s a much more independent and - dare I say it? Grown up - style of learning and I truly believe that what we may have lost in face to face interaction and working as a group, we have absolute gained in student driven learning.
I’m excited to get back to a socially distanced classroom in September, but in the meantime I’m choosing to admire the benefits of using this platform. It’s certainly cut down my commute time and we can all be pleased about that! Here are a few of my favourite things about teaching on Zoom:-
Students can learn at their own pace, without distracting others
The "Mute/Unmute" feature helps promote positive behaviour, reminding us all when to speak and when to listen
Younger students seem to be more relaxed in their home environment and getting to see snippets of everyones lives really helps the class connect and bond on a deeper level
Teacher energy levels increase as we spend less time carting equipment, music, instruments to and from classes
Creativity levels go up as we all have to think creatively about how to reach our students in a fun way that is outside of the normal format
If you're looking to improve your online teaching content, why not sign up to my online course, launching 17th August? It's a five part series that will get you ready to go back in September and has a whole session dedicated to teaching online - should we have to go back into lockdown again!