Since the crisis of COVID-19 took hold several weeks ago, our teachers have been embracing different learning platforms while honing their skills with innovative ways of teaching digitally. In addition to Class Dojo, which is mainly used for announcements and communication with parents, and Google Classroom, which is mainly used for delivering assignments to students, teachers have been trialling other, engaging platforms.
One of these new apps is the screencasting app, Loom. For those who are not sure, screencasting is where you narrate a video recording of your computer screen – a very handy skill to learn when teaching online! The advantage of an app like Loom is that it also records a video of the teacher talking, and this appears on the side of the screencast, making the teacher’s explanation much more intuitive to follow. I have found the app to be particularly effective for the purpose of making ‘Read-Alouds’.
Here’s a quick example I made for a Read-Aloud of the book, ‘Seeds of Change’:
The second app we have been using a lot of is the video conference platform, Zoom. Participants can join a Zoom meeting without having the app installed or needing to sign into the app. It is only necessary to sign up for an account if you wish to host a video conference. We have been using this platform mainly for “meet & greet” sessions with students and parents. After many days in quarantine, this platform can provide a brilliant way for teachers and students to touch base with one another. Kahoot quizzes complement this platform well and could be used at the beginning of a lesson. Likewise, Zoom works particularly well at the end of lessons, for example for a Q & A session after students have completed an online task.
As this app involves two-way communication, it’s really important to ensure that everyone is aware of key netiquette rules to follow (that are unique to video conferences) – I explain these netiquette rules for students in the tutorial video below: