I have had a couple of teachers recently ask me how to prep their students for videoconferences. We do have a list of protocols at our New Links website, and many content providers do on their sites. But here is a brief overview of etiquette, protocols and set ups, compiled by me, from many content providers:
Vanderbilt Virtual School
- Communicate videoconference information to participating teachers and students.
- Before the videoconference, teachers should discuss the topic with students.
- Before the videoconference, students should prepare possible questions to ask presenter during question and answer session.
- Make sure ALL participants can see the monitor and be heard.
- Frame a picture of participants that is not too close or too far away.
- Set up several camera pre-sets to use during question and answer period.
- MUTE your microphone when the presenter is speaking.
From TWICE/ SouthwestNet Distance Learning
Before the Videoconference
If at all possible, orient the students to the technology beforehand so that they are less distracted by it and ready to learn from the videoconference.
Have the students practice speaking loudly and clearly when asking questions.
Set a preset to show the whole room and start the videoconference showing the whole class.
If the site supplies materials, do all the pre conference activities as suggested. The more your students are informed about the material, the better it will go. If the site doesn’t supply materials, then have your students prepare questions ahead of time.
If students ask questions about the topic before the videoconference, suggest that this might be a good question to ask the presenter/author.
- Prepare questions for the videoconference.
Invite your principal to drop in to watch the videoconference.
During the Videoconference
Teachers: resist the urge to talk! Often students will quit talking when the teacher makes a comment or asks a question. Let the presenter lead the discussion. Save your comments for your students after the videoconference. UNLESS! Sometimes students are shy, and you could suggest questions for them to ask. Or if you are in a v/c with more than one school, use the “mute” time to prompt students if necessary.
Set the camera so it shows the whole room. If possible for lower elementary students, have a designated question area close to the mic & have students move there to ask questions. Set a preset on the mic area.
Don’t make the students take notes, unless the presenter is asking them to write something. This can distract them from the interaction.
What’s your favorite tip for participating classes?