Switching to remote learning is often a struggle for students because it cuts them away from physical contact with their peers. But with modern edtech tools, students can make learning more fun.
Whether using a tool to edit PDF files for an assignment or working on a group project remotely, you can find an application that makes the exercise more engaging and immersive.
Let’s check out online class activity ideas to make the learning process less boring.
1. Play virtual ice breaker games
Getting into the groove for remote learning is a challenge for student, especially when they join a new class.
Why use icebreakers?
For starters, young people always struggle to connect with their peers in a controlled classroom setting instantly. Sometimes, anxiety or social awkwardness makes them more reserved than usual, which means they need to find a unifying topic to open up conversations.
Besides, icebreakers enable students to spot people with similar character traits, which will help them make friends faster.
Use these icebreaker games for student-centered learning:
- Two truths and a lie
- 21 questions
- Virtual scavenger hunt
- Virtual water cooler
2. Organize virtual brainstorming sessions
One of the learning activities that can make education fun is brainstorming because it makes everybody an active participant.
Follow these steps to brainstorm:
- Find a topic that generates conversation (social justice, climate change, etc.)
- Stipulate time for sharing ideas.
- Ensure that participants stick to their time limit.
- Create a roster for speakers.
- Make sure every class member participates.
- Record every idea and suggestion.
Of course, brainstorming sessions can get chaotic when every class member is trying to chime in with their ideas, but it will get the students engaged in the remote learning process.
3. Create fun questionnaires
No matter how hard you try, some students will not participate in virtual brainstorming activities for personal reasons. Don’t leave them behind; find other ways to keep them engaged.
Questionnaires can help socially-awkward students share their opinions and ideas, thereby taking an active part in the e-learning process.
You can also make the questionnaires fun by asking non-academic questions, ranging from favorite movies to hobbies. Use Google Forms and Miro to set up questionnaires.
4. Host theme days
Since students no longer need to put on uniforms, they can wear whatever they want in a virtual classroom. This presents an opportunity to jazz up the entire distance learning atmosphere with theme days.
For example, you can ask your students to dress up in their traditional attires on Mondays. You can also create color themes for specific days. That way, they will look forward to this day with enthusiasm. And most importantly, parents will get involved in the e-learning process.
5. Make video conferencing debates
Take a break from teaching and hand over the learning process to your students. Arrange virtual debates to help students test their argumentation skills.
Use these tips to set up video conferencing debates:
- Announce the activity beforehand.
- Choose the participants or allow volunteers to participate.
- Lay down the ground rules.
- Divide the participants into opposing and proposing teams.
- Time every participant equally.
- Let the rest of the class decide the winners.
You can also add a twist to the debates by announcing them impromptu.
6. Reinvent classic activities into virtual versions
Distance education can only succeed in the early stages if you establish that sense of continuity for the students. And this starts from converting regular in-class activities to virtual ones.
For example, you can replicate lab activities and experiments using VR headsets, virtual labs, and simulation engines. If the school can afford this equipment, they should introduce it into the curriculum. Doing so will help students transition smoothly to online learning without experiencing culture shock.
7. Make your students feel valued
Virtual education often eliminates that element of physical connection with a teacher or close mate, which hampers students’ overall development. However, educators can still connect with students personally to help them cope with the new norms.
Chatbots, instant messaging apps, and collaboration platforms are software tools for teachers to communicate with students and make them feel valued.
8. Use technology to your advantage
Virtual learning cannot succeed without technology. Fortunately, tech companies are investing massively in edTech tools to help students stay engaged in school.
For example, you can use a PDF editor for students to make instant changes to documents. You can also use tools like Lumin PDF to give them feedback on assignments.
As a teacher, you can use ThinkWave and Crowdmark to prepare quizzes and grade them instantly.
9. Make your lessons interactive
Young students, especially Gen Z, have a short attention span, which makes it challenging to keep their concentration on one topic for long. However, you can keep them interested in the material by making it interactive.
Pause to ask questions when you feel that the class is no longer with you. Alternatively, you can ask one of the students to prepare a learning material and present it to the class. By doing so, you will add an extra excitement factor to bland virtual classroom sessions.
10. Use the right virtual classroom software
Many e-learning software tools exist online today, making it impossible to spot the right ones for your classroom. Instead of downloading any software, stick to tried-and-trusted platforms like Google Apps.
You also need to use the right tools for the appropriate activities. If you wish to create a virtual lab, use PraxiLabs. If you want the best PDF reader for students, Adobe Acrobat or Lumin PDF should be in your arsenal.
11. Create individual learning plans
Part of online learning involves creating a plan to address students’ individual needs. If you use the one-size-fits-all approach, the overall performance and engagement levels will decrease significantly.
With AI-powered and machine learning tools, you can curate material to address individual students rather than the entire collective. This approach carries every student along, regardless of their proficiency in the course.
Best software tools for your educational institution
Now that we’ve discussed virtual classroom activity ideas, let’s choose the best tools to achieve this goal for your school or university.
- Video conferencing tools — Skype, Zoom, and Google Meet.
- Tutorials and podcasts — YouTube, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Vimeo, and Curiosity Stream.
- Google apps — Google Classroom, Docs, Forms, Sheets, Slides, Calendar, etc.
- Virtual labs and simulators — PraxiLabs, 3M Young Scientist Lab, Build Your Own Brain (BYOB), and Algodoo.
- VR and AR tools — Metaverse, Oculus Quest, Google Cardboard, and Google Earth VR.
- PDF editing tools — Adobe Acrobat, Lumin PDF, Sejda, and PDFElement.
- Gamification tools — Duolingo, Babbel, Edmodo, Kahoot!, and Quizlet.
- Independent learning — Coursera, Udemy, LinkedIn Learning, and Pearson Education.
- 3D-modeling tools — SelfCAD, AutoCAD, and SolidWorks.
- Messaging and communication tools — Seesaw, Flipgrid, Classtag, ClassDojo, and Airtable.
You can find other useful tools online to make e-learning fun, but the ones on the list can guarantee you improved classroom engagement.
Adding some fun to schoolwork and increasing student engagement can be challenging, but when you get it right, you will see the impact on your students. With edTech tools, you can now introduce fun activities into the regular curriculum to make your students participate more. Go through the list above to find the best tool that meets your students’ needs.