Tip #10, the final tip in our “10 Tips for a Successful Synchronous Lesson” series, is: Don’t forget your synchronous toolbox!
Make sure to take advantage of all the tools in your synchronous toolbox! They’ll help make your lessons more interesting and interactive. Here are some common synchronous learning tools:
Whiteboard – Use this to write, draw, or display pre-made content, as you would on a classroom whiteboard or flipchart. Write key points on the board, or ask students a question and write down their answers. When having students brainstorm, jot down their ideas. You can also invite students to write on the board too. For instance, you can ask them to write all the words they know relating to a topic, or example sentences that practice a certain grammar point.
Breakout rooms – These enable you to break up the class into smaller groups, which increases opportunities for student interaction and participation. In breakout rooms, students can have discussions, work on projects, do role plays, or have brainstorming sessions. Breakout rooms help students get to know each other better. They’re also beneficial for students who are uncomfortable participating or speaking up in a large group.
Chats – While you’re talking, students can use the chat to ask questions without interrupting. They can also use chat to respond or react to content being presented. Students can also send private text messages to you when they need help. The chat tool is particularly helpful for shy students who prefer writing over speaking.
Emojis – Use emojis to send non-verbal feedback. Encourage your students to do the same. For positive feedback, for example, you can use the applause emoji, or students can use the thumbs up or down emojis to show if they agree or disagree with a statement or opinion.
Polls – Use polls to boost student engagement, to transition to a new topic, or to find out how much students already know. You can also use polls such as a survey of class hobbies or interesting experiences to help you and your students get to know each other
Screen sharing – Screen sharing is a great way to show your students a video, slide presentation or pictures. You can also demonstrate how to do assignments by having students watch you give an example on your own screen.
These tools, along with others in the synchronous toolbox, will ensure you and your students become excited about and engaged in your online synchronous lessons.