The classroom is an essential part of any student’s life. Educators around the world put creative energy into making classrooms and studios feel like safe places to learn. When teaching online activities, it can be harder to personalize a virtual classroom and learning experience.
Although we’re living in a digital world, that doesn’t mean your digital classroom has to feel bland or boring! Discover ways to add personality to your digital classroom — whether you’re teaching art classes for toddlers or cooking classes for teens.
1. Plan your digital classroom early
Planning the components of your digital classroom early is key to having the flexibility and time to be creative! Start by outlining what makes your in-person classroom or studio special. Do you give children special name tags? Do you customize seating charts? How do you decorate? Do you embrace new themes each season or keep things the same throughout the years? Taking note of these details can help you plan how you’ll make your digital classroom a special place to be.
Once you have a list of what makes your in-person activities feel personalized, write down what can be translated into a virtual classroom. You might not be able to have seating charts or in-person name tags, but you can still make students feel special and welcome. Consider personalizing lesson powerpoints, Zoom backgrounds, lesson plans, or your teaching props to add variety and make the virtual classroom feel memorable to students.
2. Set your teaching space up for virtual success
When you teach virtually, it’s important to consider what makes a successful virtual classroom. Technically, make sure to prioritize interactivity, variety, and keep technical glitches at a minimum. Visibly, make sure your teaching space is bright, clean, and well-lit.
If your students are learning online, you can decorate your teaching space to make it feel congruous with your in-person studio or classroom space. Add personality by incorporating simple decorations relevant to your subject matter in the background. For example, if you are teaching a cooking class, you can incorporate kitchen decorations into your space. If you are teaching art, you will probably rely on your lesson’s materials to add flair to your virtual classroom.
3. Have fun with backgrounds and themes
If you’re using a tool like Google Classroom or Zoom, you can customize the background you’ll teach on. Consider making virtual classroom backgrounds a learning experience for students. If you’re an art teacher, you can ask students to use a virtual background of their favorite painting. If you’re teaching baking, you can ask students to add their favorite dessert to their background. If your students are older, you can also teach them how to use a tool like Canva to make custom backgrounds.
4. Add Bitmoji classrooms to your teaching materials
If you’re an avid user of social media, you’ve probably heard of Bitmoji. Bitmojis are cute customizable avatars that teachers can use to depict themselves in teaching materials like powerpoints, calendars, and lessons. Bitmojis are also great for creating virtual environments for students.
According to Edutopia, the most popular use of Bitmojis in education is for creating virtual classrooms. Teachers can make digital classrooms look similar to their in-person counterparts or add a touch of whimsy with easy to customize icons.
Feeling inspired to personalize your digital classroom? We can’t wait to see what you have planned! Tell us what you’re testing in your virtual classroom — email firstname.lastname@example.org and share with your fellow Sawyer providers on our Provider Connect Facebook Group!