There is no word on when exactly regular classes will resume but this does not mean that learning has to stop. Indeed, advances in technology have made it so that teachers and students don’t have to physically attend a classroom. With virtual classrooms having been made possible by video chat technologies such as Gumzo, teachers can continue to do what they excel in: bring the best out of their students.
The first step teachers must take before they can use Gumzo as a teaching tool is to complete a quick and easy registration process. Getting started on Gumzo is pretty straightforward. All one needs is to be verified via SMS and you’re good to go.
And yes, there is no need to download apps or plugins. An open browser window on your laptop, mobile phone, tablet, or desktop computer (make sure it has a webcam, a microphone, and speakers or headphones) is the only requirement.
Once you have registered, you’ll need to create a virtual room where you will be admitting your students. Set a date and time to schedule your class, then copy the room’s generated link and send it to your students.
Naturally, you will want to set and send any instructions on etiquette or general session guidelines to your students and guest speakers or co-presenters, if applicable, well before they join the video chat. Once everyone has joined the class, here’s how you fully exploit Gumzo’s features to deliver the best teaching experience possible:
We have all heard the golden rule: show, don’t tell. Instead of just going on and on about a concept as students stare blankly at you, share your notes, demos, or PowerPoint slides instead. The screen share feature provided by Gumzo gives an instructor a choice of the screen content to share.
You can choose to share your entire screen, an application window, or even that Chrome tab you might have open that’s relevant to your class! And yes, you get to choose whether to share playing audio or not. Used appropriately, the screen share feature can prove critical in presenting to your class.
Deploy the whiteboard
A creative teacher might be inclined to use a camera perched over some sheets of paper to demonstrate a concept. But Gumzo provides an easier alternative: a whiteboard feature that can be turned on from the menu at the bottom of your chat room screen.
Once activated, you can use the whiteboard to guide students, explain concepts, or emphasize critical details in what becomes an interactive presentation. Using this feature works best with a tablet and stylus, though you could also draw with your finger or mouse, depending on your device. This article provides more details on using Gumzo’s whiteboard feature.
Record and broadcast sessions
Some quick research into e-learning will reveal that there exists synchronous and asynchronous learning. Synchronous learning happens online and in real-time, which provides peer support and collaboration. Asynchronous learning, on the other hand, occurs through online channels but without real-time interaction, thus allowing for self-pacing and convenient scheduling. Gumzo is giving instructors a chance to use both learning styles by making it possible to record live interactive classes or future classes.
This move allows teachers to easily share recorded classes with students who cannot attend classes in real-time. YouTube Live integration also makes it possible for teachers or visiting professors, for instance, to reach larger audiences than those invited to their virtual classrooms.
A good number of instructors will find that muting participants can be a great way to minimize background noise while ensuring that students focus on the lesson. Teachers can ask students to use Gumzo’s ‘Send emoji’ button to give a thumbs up or thumbs down sign, among other classroom-appropriate emojis.
A raised or waving hand emoji, for example, is a great way to choose students who would like to speak. These non-verbal features allow students to communicate with their instructors without interrupting the class. Just make sure you routinely check in with your students to address any non-verbal feedback.
Finally, teachers can use Gumzo’s chat tool to encourage classroom engagement while ensuring students are not just passive listeners. Chatting makes it possible to get large numbers of responses to questions immediately or gauge where students are on a specific issue.
Remember, you don’t have to manage all aspects of the online classroom just because you are the teacher. You can ask a teaching assistant or a student to monitor the chat or help other students with tech issues. This win-win scenario ensures you concentrate on teaching while giving students some much-needed extra digital skills practice.