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Tips from the online classroom: How to engage students and activate their interest


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Anu Nathan, itslearning

The future of education after the pandemic is increasingly being shaped by alternative, remote, and hybrid learning. But, to succeed with any form of instruction a teacher must have one very essential component – engaged students. And that brings us to what is considered to be a million dollar question for many teachers, ‘How can I, as a teacher, engage my students?’

To answer that question and learn more about other important classroom developments, we turned to itslearning superuser Angela Burgess. She is a French teacher turned Instructional Technology Specialist at Forsyth County Schools in Georgia, USA, who also works with middle and high school EdTech coaches and teachers. Here are some of the highlights from her latest webinar. You can also watch the recording.

Let’s start with some fundamental tips

To help students succeed, it is important to ensure teacher success. Start by onboarding all new teachers on using the LMS, and holding regular training sessions for faculty. This will help them stay up to date with any new features and tools available in itslearning. You can also set up a professional development hub for teachers as a course in itslearning complete with activities and resources.

Other basic principles

  • Make the online class similar to the face-to-face enviroment (e.g. by using multimedia and live online lessons).
  • Regularly share best practices with teaching staff.
  • Build “team spirit” so everybody knows that they are on this journey together.
  • Understand how students use the internet to gather information and to better communicate with them.
  • Adapt learning to the pace of your students by using Learning Paths in itslearning.
  • Prepare a discussion board. Be active with responses to questions from your colleagues and students.
  • Create opportunities to interact in live sessions.
  • Integrate gamification aspects such as role-play and quizzes.

Best practices

  1. Always have a plan
    • Have a general idea of what you are going to do.
    • Identify what students should be able to do and know after the lesson.
    • Ask how you can use your LMS to achieve these goals.
  2. Make online “normal” (also in your regular classroom)
    • Empower students and give them agency by letting them know the learning objectives. You can connect the goals to Plans in itslearning.
    • Show them how to use the LMS.
  3. Be yourself
    • Let the students get to know you as a person, and not just their teacher.
    • Get to know your students and understand what makes them tick (what motivates them).
    • Use informal language, make sure you are approachable (also when answering messages).
    • Record yourself on video to give online lessons a ‘personal touch’.
    • Show yourself on video during live online lessons, as this will encourage students to switch on their cameras too. However, do not force them to appear on video as they may have circumstances at home that they are uncomfortable showing you or the class.
  4. Create opportunities for students to create
    • Vary exercises by getting students to create something or make an audio/video recording.
  5. Don’t be afraid of trying something new or starting over
    • Be bold and ready for change.
    • Test and improve your approach and methodology over time.
    • Collect feedback and implement what you have learned.
    • Engage with other teachers to share and learn from them.

Come join the conversation about the future of education at our online convention happening in May. We will be talking to educational experts and the itslearning community about hybrid and remote learning, flipped classrooms and other instructional methodology, as well as sharing tips and ideas to overcome challenges in schools today. You can also join the itslearning Teachers’ Lounge where you get to touch base with other teachers, ask questions, and share suggestions every day with educators from all around the world, including Angela.

Watch the recording of Angela’s webinar:

online demo

Online demo

In just 15 minutes, learn how the itslearning LMS can support your education institution’s goals, and empower teachers and students.


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