When COVID-19 has taken its toll globally, schools are adopting and mandating virtual learning to avoid disruptions of classes. In response, schools in the spring have scrambled around virtual learning options to continue the delivery of quality education.
Owing to this fact, students have to attend school virtually.
Whence, this post cascaded safety tips for a virtual classroom to give students productive learning experiences despite the global health crisis. And I find it really necessary to learn online safety tips to keep our students protected from the flaws and misuse of the internet.
Since remote learning has become a common modality in the educational landscape, teachers and school administrators made sure that student learning will be successful.
Better than that, let’s delve into online safety tips to give the best education to children, despite the distinctive essence of the educational sphere today.
Thereby, let’s get started!
<<Want to improve student learning in a virtual classroom? Consider the following effective strategies for making online education productive.
Top 8 Safety Tips for the Virtual Classroom
1. Orient students on internet hazards
How to keep your students safe online? How do you promote online safety? Educating young website users about internet safety is important in this time that schools have adopted distance learning. All the more, our students of today are more inclined to use smart gadgets and to surf the net for learning and entertainment.
Remember, inappropriate content abounds.
Internet safety should be made a priority knowing how vast this technological advancement is. Since the internet has become an incredible source of learning tools and resources, students are given opportunities to explore and access.
However, they have to be informed of the dangers of the web. Students, especially young children, should be aware of what they are into.
Increasingly, students have incredible access to information, they have to be guided very well on what to click and what not to. Above all, the internet is everywhere.
Because of that, when students are exploring digital learning resources as educators it’s our responsibility to guide them and to give them what’s appropriate.
Although parents can be close in proximity, the students’ optimal access to the learning resources and edTech tools are still in our hands because we are the manager of the virtual classroom and the facilitator of learning.
2. Choose reliable online platforms
Opting for remote learning is necessary to avoid interruptions in classes. For this reason, as educators, we have to choose the best online learning platforms that work well for our students.
Into the bargain, schools have to be extra careful to choose which among the online platforms best support student learning. Aside from the extreme need for us to rethink our teaching pedagogies to make fit the situation, we have to consider the platforms recommended by the school administration.
Over and above, video conferencing platforms should amplify engagement in the virtual classroom aside from promoting a safe learning environment.
One of the most highly interactive online teaching platforms used aside from the Zoom classroom is the Vedamo virtual classroom, where teachers can make use of an online whiteboard and other enriching online tools to present the learning material and encourage collaboration. Through the platform’s breakout rooms, teachers can introduce group activities to the students as if they were in a face-to-face classroom.
You can check for its reliability through its 30-day free trial. It’s safe to use and very straightforward that even non-tech-savvy users can make the best of it.
3. Teach students how to log in and out safely
As you educate your students to browse the web carefully, you should not forget the very simple thing of logging in and out. Tell your students to be more responsible and keep passwords carefully.
By teaching students how to log in and out of their accounts properly, you are helping them learn how to stay secure online. Since using digital technologies has become familiar these days, your students should know how to keep their personal information by becoming digitally literate.
Teaching students about digital literacy is giving them guidance on how to properly use their accounts and how to check privacy settings. If you are handling kindergarteners, then you should begin early at this stage and tap the support of the parents so they can guide their children very well. In other words, parents should have full access to their children’s accounts.
Your students should know exactly what to do 30 mins before you begin the online session and what to do after the virtual learning. Knowing that they are young consumers of technology, specifically the web, they should be informed of the risks of staying logged in all the time.
Hence, you have to remind them repeatedly to keep their passwords so they can log in easily. Most importantly, you should also remind the parents to ensure that their children have logged out after every class. Tell them that closing the browser is totally different from logging out first.
4. Require full support from the parents
Teaching children about digital literacy isn’t only the responsibility of educators as it should be the ultimate concern of the parents to promote online safety. With their children learning at home, it’s also their concern of giving their children a safe learning environment.
When children are homeschooled, the parents have the maximum responsibility of monitoring the online activities of their children. Parents should take full measures because their children are using technology and attending online classes.
Thereupon, for a smooth-flowing and safe virtual class, parents should be as well educated about their roles. This is a way of helping parents to always be alert of the online actions of their children. In an elaborate nature, it’s moving children into a digital world with utmost caution and guidance.
Being a digital citizen should begin as early as the preparatory schools. It’s most needed these days when schools have embraced remote learning.
5. Implement guidelines for video conferencing and set expectations
Just like in face-to-face interaction, virtual classrooms should also observe implementing guidelines to make sure that a safe learning environment is a priority. And you should set expectations with your learners to help them make the most of every learning encounter.
Although screencasting is also a reliable screen recording tool to support asynchronous virtual learning, most instances are for video conferencing.
When kids attend school virtually, it’s a quantum leap from the usual face-to-face interaction. Many young learners and even teachers still wrestled about interacting in front of the screens. Some feel awkward while others are too conscious of how they look on screen.
Everything is different when the camera is on. Ergo, rules and expectations have to surface so there will be no distractions in learning as well. You have to clearly emphasize and enforce the do’s and don’ts while video conferencing so your students will be guided properly.
Other than logging in early, students should be asked to choose a spot at home that is quiet and orderly so as to minimize distractions. By the same token, they have to be required to wear appropriate attire if their school uniform is not available.
But in our case, we are requiring our students to wear their school uniforms to add sincerity to the virtual classroom. With that, they really feel that they are just like in a regular classroom.
Another important thing is to always remind students to always be prepared to avoid disruptions along the way. They should be ready with their gadgets or have their PCs plugged in.
Correspondingly, students should be reminded of online etiquette like treating one another with respect, being mindful of the expectations being established, and being careful of their language when they give their ideas.
6. Orient students about cyberbullying
Cyberbullying could happen in a virtual class. Hence, your students should be well-informed about the nature and effects of cyberbullying to highly avoid its adverse effects on learning and on their well-being.
Moreover, parents should also be oriented about cyberbullying so they can protect their children in the first place. They should be well-informed about cyberbullying prevention to ensure that their children are learning in a safe virtual environment.
Students attending virtual classes are opening their homes or showing their rooms or a spot of their home to their classmates which need to be looked into by the parents.
Equivalently, students might hear unnecessary conversations at home. This can make family issues be known to everyone in the virtual classroom. Hence, parents or adults who are at home should be mindful of their actions and should bear in mind that children are interacting behind screens.
As explained by Rania Mankarious, Executive Director with Crime Stoppers of Houston, “There is a moral code of conduct in every school and it applies whether you’re sitting in school or you are remote learning. You have to behave as a good digital citizen or as a good citizen in your school and teachers can only do so much.”
Hence, parents should ask teachers if chat rooms in Zoom classes and other platforms are closely monitored to avoid harassment. You, as a teacher, should respond right away and should include in your implementation guidelines to avoid doing things that lead to bullying like name-calling and taking screenshots.
7. Introduce age-appropriate websites for optimal learning
As great online educators, you have to check for websites highly recommended by the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) to ensure that your young learners really get what they deserve.
Virtual learning means empowering students to learn through technology and digital tools which are the major sources of interaction. With the vast choices on the internet, you should be aware of the safe range of resources to make sure that children are learning the necessary knowledge and skills.
Introducing age-appropriate resources to young learners is much needed to promote a safe virtual classroom. On top of that, you should be certain in the first place where to access safe learning resources so you’re confident that your students are interacting with reliable and engaging content.
8. Make learning fun and interactive
For students to feel a safe learning environment even in virtual nature, they have to love learning and keep engaged. Therefore, as teachers, we must make learning fun and interactive.
It can be very challenging on our part to keep students motivated, especially since they’re not in the physical classroom. But with our accommodating teaching pedagogies, we can establish connections with our students even at a distance.
Through the use of different interactive lesson presentations such as games and reliable online platforms, we can keep in touch with our students, monitor their progress, and provide immediate feedback so they’ll never feel the physical distance in learning.
As our students feel our genuine support, they become confident that we are always their second parents and that they can feel our comfort in the virtual classroom. Just make learning more enjoyable and fun!
On the whole
Teaching and learning in a home classroom are really overwhelming. There will be repercussions along the way knowing that we are still adjusting to the nature of the current educational setup.
But as we lean towards online classes, we should embrace this learning modality fully so we can give our children a safe learning environment.
As we want to give our children a productive and safe virtual learning environment and as we are deeply responsible with live lectures, we should empower ourselves with the know-how of the whole process to guarantee that our learners feel secure and become productive.
Moreover, a safe virtual classroom teaches children about independence in learning and digital responsibility. Hopefully, the things mentioned above can help you establish a safe virtual classroom.
Do you have anything to add to secure a safe virtual classroom and to teach online effectively? Leave it below and let’s share our best online practices.