6 Tips to Managing Your Online Classroom Without Tears
My introduction to Zoom was in a stuffy classroom on the Friday morning before lockdown began: 30-plus teachers sardined in front of an interactive whiteboard with their laptops and tablets balanced on tiny desktops, all vying for temporary connection to the dodgy school Wi-Fi. After ninety minutes of watching trainers who barely had a grasp on things themselves getting overexcited about the background function, I went home pretty much none the wiser.
Here’s what I learned the hard way so you don’t have to.
- The Mute Button
The number of times I’ve prayed for a roll of duct tape to fasten certain people’s mouths while I’m giving instructions defies mathematics, so you can imagine how overjoyed I was to find I can silence group chatter with the click of a button.
You can individually silence participants using the option on their video profile, or silence as a group using the “Participants” option on your Zoom toolbar at the bottom of the screen. This is a great way to ensure individual students have the opportunity to speak without interruption from others, and for you to maintain some order.
While screen-sharing, hover your cursor over the top of the screen and a toolbar will dropdown. Select “Annotate” and another menu bar will appear. This allows you to highlight, stamp or write on the screen you’re sharing.
3. Disabling Participant “Contributions”
It didn’t take long for my younger students to figure out Zoom, and by the end of their first lesson, they were annotating my screen with smiley faces (or my name surrounded by heart-shaped stamps), sharing their screens and unmuting themselves. While it’s great to allow students to share their work and to annotate at certain times, it’s best to control when and where this happens.
Muting — In “Manage Participants” select the “Mute All” option. You will be prompted to allow participants to unmute themselves. Make sure this box is deselected.
Annotating — When sharing a screen, select the “More” option on the right. In the dropdown menu, toggle the “Enable Attendee Annotation” option on and off.