Apps for virtual teaching are a necessity in modern education. The classroom environment has radically changed due to the new requirements imposed upon education for the safety of both students and teachers. We began with and continue learning to navigate the uncharted waters of ‘virtual learning’ and now educators are learning to navigate the ‘socially distanced’ classroom. Not only are we navigating both, but we are teaching in both environments simultaneously! The 5 apps and games that I have discovered for both the physical and virtual classroom will make teaching in both environments much easier.
These 5 apps for virtual teaching are essential for getting the most out of every learning experience in both environments. The best part is teachers no longer have to do ‘twice’ the work to achieve the same goal in the two environments. These apps once the lessons are created can be used in both environments with no additional work!
Virtual Teaching in the Modern Classroom
One of the many new obstacles in the physical classroom is the ‘distance’ between both ‘teacher and student’ and ‘student and peers’. Educators are aware of how significant proximity and active learning are in any learning environment. Children learn best from direct involvement in the learning process, these discussions are priceless. They too learn much from their peers when interacting with them in the learning process. The new social distancing mandates have made these more challenging to incorporate in the classroom. One needs to be more creative than ever to still incorporate peer interactions in the classroom.
We teachers quickly discovered the ‘virtual classroom’ has very similar pitfalls. Teachers are working ten times harder to assure these students are getting the best possible education from afar. This is no easy task when one knows again the magic of proximity and student interactions with their peers.
These 5 apps and games are the resolution for getting the most out of every lesson in both the physical and virtual classroom. The best part is that they do not require twice the work! They reduce the workload for the teacher, providing them more time to ‘teach’ rather than bogging themselves down with delivery systems for two different classroom environments!
Kahoot is an essential app for both the physical and virtual classroom. It is a favorite among all ages! This app can change any and every mundane task into a thrilling friendly competition for the whole class or small group. It instantly engages students with its gameshow-like appeal!
Students can play the game in a group, as a whole class, or independently. The program has premade lessons, or you can create your own swiftly with your own materials. It provides students with a multiple-choice question and answers.
Students race against the clock (you set the time) to answer the questions together, by ‘selecting’ the answer on their iPad. They earn points for correct answers and additional points depending upon how quickly they answer. Just the thought of a ‘score’ quickly motivates students in a healthy and positive way.
A suggestion of my own, when they compete, have them keep their own scores written down. Or the teacher can keep a record of the scores. This will prevent the same students from always winning and having defeat slip in for the others. Have the class compete against each other, but the only person they are trying to ‘win’ against in the end is themselves. Practice makes progress! Now, everyone has the opportunity to ‘win’ every time. Every student will then be ‘equally’ challenged. It is a win, win for everyone!
You can control the pace of the game. You can pause at any time for those teachable moments. It is a great app for actively engaging students in the learning process.
Kahoot! In the Virtual Classroom
The absolute best part is again, you can also play this game live in the ‘virtual classroom’ via Zoom, Teams, or other similar platforms. You can also assign the lessons as well for both environments. Students can then play independently, and their scores are still recorded by the app and can be set to show how they ranked against their classmates! It really does encourage them to do better each time they play the game. It has a setting to randomize questions and answers so they cannot simply memorize the questions and or position of the answers!
Fluency & Fitness provides students with a unique way of being active while engaged in fluency practice. You select the topic for students to practice. There are two settings, beginners and advanced.
A video set up like a slide show plays, students call out the ‘answer’. After a few slides a small brain break appears on a slide with music, it varies from jumping jacks to freestyle dance!
The break lasts just a few seconds, then back to the ‘problems’ and continues to repeat until the video finishes. This gives kids the much-needed time to get the wiggles out, yet stay focused on learning. Another game they offer is Fluency Find it where a sheet is provided for students to record their answers (or mark the correct answer) with corresponding colors.
A fantastic interactive app for both the physical and virtual classroom is, Seesaw!
Another limitless app essential to both the virtual and socially distanced classroom is Seesaw! The Seesaw app will engage students in active learning with their peers. Best yet, work collaboratively on an activity!
Virtual teaching made easy with short, easily, organized, student created videos!
Sample video from one of the Flipgrid, grids
Flipgrid is a site for students to share any topic a teacher can dream up for a lesson in both the Virtual and Socially Distanced Classroom. This app is great for reluctant writers and aids in building communication skills for all learners. It does not limit either, but enhances the experiences for even the most reluctant of learners.
Out of the 5 apps for virtual teaching, Nearpod exceeds them all, for an all-in-one app! It has all the bells and whistles any teacher teaching in both the virtual or socially distanced classroom! If you have not experienced this ‘diamond in the rough’ it is a game-changer for both active learning and engagement in the physical classroom as well as for your ‘virtual learners’ at home.
Nearpod’s features are nearly endless! Here are some of the countless options included in this magical bundle of learning and teaching opportunities for both the physical and virtual classrooms:
Deliver presentations with a simple drag and drop feature! No recreating materials!
Supports for students with accommodations.
You can easily distribute resources such worksheets, notes etc.
Assessments such as quizzes, polls, open-ended questions, fill in the blank, multiple-choice questions, matching pairs.
Data collected and can be viewed in real-time or at a later time.
The Draw it Feature provides for Modeling
Open Ended Tasks
Homework options – Self paced option
Create your own lessons or use one of their premade lessons!