Distance learning online webpage interface

Building an Effective Online Classroom Using 3 Tools

“You can’t just stop learning and teaching!”

Dr. Wei-Chung Wang, like many professors and teachers around the world, will be conducting the remainder of the 2020 spring semester online. Dr. Wang is a professor of business and economics at Juniata College, who offers courses at the undergraduate and graduate level, in addition to acting as Kdan’s VP of Global Marketing & Strategy. 

“I want to introduce some tools you can use to facilitate online learning,” he explains. “I know that the past few weeks, everyone has been rushing to this virtual world and has been trying to learn the best online tools.” He compiled a video lecture where he shares some of the best practices he found for creating an effective online classroom experience. Check out the full video!

We’re going to be quickly recap his tips and share some other resources for you and your students to try, including a 30-day free trial for both Creativity 365 and Document 365.

Communicate Face to Face

One of the best things about working with Zoom in an online classroom is how easy it is to share materials. It lets you share presentations, documents, websites, ets. on your screen, and gives you the option to offer handwritten lecture notes – just like a whiteboard or chalkboard would in a physical space! You can create them through different apps like EasyTeach Whiteboard or NoteLedge.

Unfortunately, there has been some news lately about people misbehaving on the Zoom platform. Don’t worry! These tricks have helped the Juniata College faculty, like Dr. Wang, continue to use Zoom safely:

  1. Disable Participant Screen Sharing (either as the default for all of your Zoom meetings or at the beginning of each meeting.
  2. Require the Host to be present.
  3. Keep your Personal Meeting ID private.  Do not share your Zoom link publicly. Send it via email to students, via meeting requests, or in Moodle.
  4. Use a meeting password and only share that with those you want to know.
  5. Use the Waiting Room to manually admit participants to your room.

 

Sharing your Phone/Tablet Screen in Zoom

The easiest way to create a “whiteboard” for your online classroom is to the screen of your tablet in Zoom. Once you click on “Share Screen” in Zoom, you’ll see an option to share your tablet’s screen. There’s been a recent stream of software updates published by Zoom that have taken away the tablet screen share option for some users. 

“If that is your case, worry not,” explains Dr. Wang. “The workaround would be for you to download QuickTime Player, then start Quick Time>>File>>New Movie Recording>>Select the video source from your tablet after it’s connected to your PC or laptop. From Zoom, you can then share the Quick Time screen in your Zoom meeting.

Create a Digital White/Chalkboard

EasyTeach Whiteboard is a quick tool to get started with. You can share the app’s screen while you teach and write down important information or run through equations in real time. 

If you want to add other multimedia to your online lectures, Dr. Wang recommends NoteLedge. NoteLedge’s strength lies in its versatility. You start by creating a custom notebook in the app to use as a whiteboard, and then add tables, photos, videos, web clips, audio files, and more – in addition to handwritten/drawn notes with a myriad of pens and other brush types. 

When you’re finished, Dr. Wang suggests downloading the notebook as a PDF file or presentation for easy sharing with your students after the lecture is over. They will also enjoy using NoteLedge’s diverse set of note taking tools during class to record important information.

Share Learning Materials in an Engaging Way

PDF Reader is great for students and professors alike. There are dozens of options to choose from, but Dr. Wang favors Kdan’s PDF Reader for himself and his students because it supports large files, like full-sized text books, and offers features that support different learning styles – including text-to-speech for audio learners and a series of annotating tools to help visual students capture key takeaways from the material.

Dr. Wang also incorporates PDF Reader into his lectures, citing the presentation mode as one of the easiest ways to share slides he prepares while taking notes directly on the material. After the lecture, he’ll share the annotated document with students and upload it to Moodle, the online learning platform Juniata College uses.

If you’d like to try NoteLedge and PDF Reader – as well as other creative tools that are perfect for the online classroom – you can sign up for a 30-day free trial using this link and entering your institutional email. 

What techniques are you or your students using to make the digital classroom more impactful? How do you create new ways of learning using EdTech to go beyond traditional experiences? Let us know and we’ll share your ideas with other students and faculty members online!apps online class


Also published on Medium.

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About the author

Joey DiGangi III

Joey DiGangi is a global marketing specialist with Kdan Mobile, located in the US office in Pennsylvania. He graduated in May 2018 from Juniata College with a degree in marketing management and a minor in communication.

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