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Episode Info: Video conferences can be exhausting. You might notice that students who are highly engaged during an in-person session suddenly disengage in a virtual meeting. Often, there are challenges with video lag or simply the inability to see the room entirely. I created the following visual for how you handle video conferences depending on your Hogwarts house. If you haven’t read the Harry Potter series, it might not make sense. Video conferencing can present huge challenges. Without the built-in, in-person accountability of a classroom and a teacher, it easier to get distracted and fail to attend virtual meetings. Even when students show up, virtual meetings can feel lonely. It can feel like you’re talking under water, where there’s this delay in communication and a sense of separation between each person. When the microphones are all on mute, you can’t hear any laughter. This is amplified by the sheer number of black screens from students who do not have the video turned on. Sometimes this is an issue of slow wi-fi connectivity. Other times, students are shy or insecure and might not feel comfortable being visible. Still, other times, students might feel embarrassed or ashamed of their home environment. It’s important that we give students flexibility in this area.   However, virtual class meetings can actually be a blast. I recently attended a highly interactive, dynamic fourth grade class meeting. Students engaged in a Q&A, met in small groups, and interviewed me as an author. They had read a free book I created about a pizza with superpowers. Toward the end, each student participated in an interactive game using Kahoot. Students were highly engaged in the virtual meeting because the teacher had designed the entire experience using interactive elements. In another article, I shared some specific ideas for how to boost attendance and engagement in virtual meetings. In this article, I want to explore specific strategies for improving student interaction in virtual meetings. Listen to the Podcast If you enjoy this blog but you’d like to listen to it on the go, just click on the audio below or subscribe via  Apple Podcasts (ideal for iOS users) on Stitcher (ideal for Android users), on Amazon Podcasts, or on Spotify.  When to Use Synchronous and Asynchronous Learning Last week, I wrote an article about improving student collaboration. It helps to think strategically about when to use both synchronous and asynchronous learning: Subscribe to YouTube Channel Synchronous communication happens in real-time, in the moment. Synchronous communication might be a video conference, a webinar, a live chat, or a phone call. It’s essentially any of the type of communication you would do in-person that you are now doing with digital tools. Synchronous communication works well when you are planning for dynamic and interactive learning tasks.As a teacher, you...
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