Videochat Features to Help Teachers Manage Virtual Classrooms
With many K–12 schools moving to a hybrid learning model this fall amid the coronavirus pandemic, Zoom is adding new features designed to help teachers manage virtual classrooms. The free Zoom for Education plan includes more control over virtual classroom views. Teachers will be able to customize their classroom’s gallery view to make it easier to find students and “go around the room” in order, or place a spotlight on a group of students who are presenting to the class. While Zoom typically gives control over muting or unmuting audio to participants, another new feature will let teachers selectively unmute student audio, as long as all parties opt in. This could be helpful for younger students who may not know how to use the microphone or during music lessons if students are holding instruments. To increase accessibility, teachers can “pin” up to nine students on screen in their custom personal view, so those who use sign language will still be visible even if they aren’t triggered in speaker view. And students who are deaf or hard of hearing can pin both their teacher and a translator on the screen simultaneously. For small-group work, students will be able to select a breakout room and move between rooms. And music teachers can go into Advanced Audio and select the option to enhance “original sound,” which will raise audio quality.
On June 8, from 10:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. (ET), children can join educators from the National Gallery of Art and the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art for an enjoyable hands-on Art Tales Live: Online Storytime program.
Drawing with Mr. J is a series of video episodes from Ohio Public Media, WOSU Classroom, to help students in elementary grades learn social and emotional skills through brief but engaging drawing challenges.
Created by the Fossett Laboratory for Virtual Planetary Exploration at Washington University in St. Louis, the GeoXplorerapp for iOS and Android devices helps students understand the complex, three-dimensional nature of geologic structures.