The learning process doesn’t depend on the place for learning. So long as teachers are performing their role correctly, location is no hindrance. The virtual classroom is a new invention that is spreading out in the education sector.
When defining it, a virtual classroom is a teaching and learning space where the members can interact and contribute to different subjects and topics regardless of the location they are. It is done in an online setting where there are various media used to enhance communication and understanding amongst the members.
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While many may critic its application and relevance, this is a technology set to revolutionize learning. It is not entirely new as the concept might have been borrowed from the flight simulator used to prepare pilots for real flights. The idea is more or less the same. This is because the educator is placed in a virtual classroom and has to teach as if it is a real class. This technology is not only beneficial to the student, but also for the teacher since it improves their skills. Equally, it makes it easier for students to attend classes even from far-away locations.
How does it work?
In a virtual classroom setting, students are grouped based on abilities. Everyone has distinct characters, and we cannot assume that students are all similar. There are those with higher capabilities, medium, and lower capacities. All of them need to be given a chance to grow their skills, and virtual reality makes this possible. Each student is set with distinct challenges and personality to help the teacher judge the best way to help everyone. This system makes sure that even the students with special needs are attended to in the right manner. The teacher here, just as in a real classroom, has a role to play in terms of the individual performance of every student.
This is primarily an excellent experience for teachers in practice, as they will learn quickly about the skills of every student and how to properly manage. If you are a teacher and in case you are new to it, classroom management is not a walk in the park. And the worst part of it all is that most preparation programs ignore this essential segment of teaching. A virtual classroom can help you as a teacher to learn how to contain students and manage them correctly. This is made possible through constant practice using the classroom simulator, which helps to prep the teacher for real future classes. After going through this process, it may be more comfortable handling a real classroom. A virtual class enables the teachers to practice their skills on an audience that is similar to one they will face with real students.
Why virtual classrooms are sometimes better
One other advantage of virtual classrooms is the ability to get an instant response. In reality, students may be shy or uneasy telling off their teachers when they go wrong. But this is not the case for virtual classrooms. Besides, this type of classroom can be fitted to cater for the individual requirements of teachers. The needs of a professional teacher differ from those of training tutors. While the pros can deal with hard times, their training counterparts may not be cut out for this. With virtual reality, the classroom setting can be adjusted to suit both sides.
Teachers can also use virtual classrooms to prepare themselves on how to handle kids with different disabilities. It is common knowledge that these kids are not the same as the typical students and thus need extra care and attention. Moreover, this has become a standard requirement since laws dictating the placement of disabled children in general education, were formulated. This has made it even more challenging for teachers to come up with a schedule that is inclusive of all. Therefore, a virtual class creates an opportunity for teachers to learn how to deal with special needs students.
On the other hand, a virtual classroom based on distance learning for students needs to have the following items:
- A media player
This helps to play the educational videos and audios from the tutor. It works where the teacher uploads the content, and students can view and listen from any location. The best part is the student can remain with the content and watch at a later time.
- A whiteboard
This is for the tutor to write on and the students to see. There are many online whiteboards where both the teacher and students write or draw. The teacher has a dedicated pointer with a distinct color for easy identification.
- Dedicated rooms or groups
As a teacher, at one point or the other, you will need to group your students during classes. And since the classrooms are virtual, the groups are no different. The tutor can quickly come up with multiple groups and send invites to students based on where he or she wants them to join. This gives them the independence to work from different locations but as a team working for the same goals. If it was some speed test, a given timeframe is set and after which everyone comes back to the primary group with their findings for analysis.
This is a tool that helps to have a one-on-one interaction with students. As a teacher in a real classroom, very few students may be willing to speak to you at a personal level. This may be due to fear or mere hesitation. A virtual classroom provides a chat provision for the teacher to send links to students who require individual-based consultations. It is easier for a student to use this since there is no physical interaction with the teacher.
The virtual classroom is the new technology, and its use is growing at high speed. With the many improvements made to it every day, it is set to revolutionize the education system.
published Gloucestercitynews.net | July 24, 2019
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