A virtual classroom is an online educational platform. A virtual classroom provides the platform to the learners for communicating with their teachers. This is an online shared platform where the learners and teachers work together in interactive ways. Such communications are held through video-conferencing. Both the learners and teachers use different tools to perform learning activities in variable formats. Such learning activities include individual and collaborative activities. The teacher takes the primary and responsible role to carry out such learning activities in a well-structured format. The teacher needs to be a good communicator to create and maintain the interest of the learners in the different sessions of group activities, learning processes, and discussions.
The tools of virtual classroom
- Tools for instant messaging
- Video conferencing
- Online whiteboard
- Breakout rooms
- Participation control
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Virtual classrooms added significant value to the online learning process by focusing on the learners’ needs. The learners’ needs are interlinked with psychological safety and social interaction. This learning experience unties the traditional and in-classroom formulae of teaching and learning.
The virtual classroom extends a wide range of opportunities, especially in the self-learning platform. The virtual classroom provides opportunities such as student engagement through different learning activities, direct interaction of students-teachers, active participation, and instant feedback. Such activities increase the motivation of the learners and help to create strong bonding between the learners and teachers.
Characteristics of the virtual classroom
The characteristics of the virtual classroom are,
◊ Collaborative learning:
Here the learners perform activities to achieve their shared goal, solve problems, share views and opinions, and concept clarification. This also helps the students to sharpen the interaction skills of the participants. This is also a shared and beneficial platform for sharing the skills and knowledge of the learners.
◊Innovative presentation of learning activities and contents:
The teachers take the responsibility to judge the levels and needs of different students. Based on that. The teacher crafts different styles of presenting the content. This enhances the rate of learner’s success rate and learning experience. The teacher always explores the learning process through video, text, diagram, audio, and images. This provides the flexible experience of learning to the learners based on their needs.
Blending different types of learning patterns helps to increase the learners’ participation rate, engagement, and the level of interest. This also helps the teachers to understand the needs and learning capacity of the individual students.
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◊A higher level of interaction:
The success rate of the virtual classroom depends on the engagement and active participation of the learners. This can only be possible through an effective and efficient interaction process. The engagement and active participation process help to build a positive learning atmosphere. This helps the participants to achieve their expected results. The interactions during the virtual classroom include the interaction between learners, teachers and learners, content, and learners. The learners need to participate every three to five minutes to make the virtual session interactive and interesting. This process can be done through the question-answer session, individual and collaborative activities, group discussion, and brainstorming.
◊Constructive and positive feedback:
The virtual classroom provides instant positive feedback by the teachers and the virtual classmates. The teacher gives positive and constructive feedback to maintain a higher level of group interactions. When the teacher appraises one learner with positive feedback, that encourages and motivates the other students to earn the same feedback from the teacher. The praised student also tries to maintain and improve the level of performance for further appraisals. This will encourage the student to share their answers and views on the context of learning. That will level up the confidence of the learners.
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◊The safe environment from the psychological aspect:
The virtual classrooms provide a safe and informal emotional learning ambience. The learners can comfortably participate in the cosy corner of their homes. The virtual classrooms provide more constructive learning sessions than the traditional classrooms as there are no such physical distractions associated. Where the students found better psychological safety, the students can perform better. The teacher of the virtual classroom should maintain equal and shared opportunities for every student, mutual respect, safe discussion, and shared viewpoints.
What Is Virtual Classroom Software?
The virtual classroom software provides the online platform to support and showcase real-classroom activities. This considers a wide range of effective tools to maintain the teachers-learners’ interactions.
Benefits of virtual classroom software
- Enhances the features to support the engagement of the teacher and judge the learning capacity of learners
- The teachers can teach the participants sitting in any part of the world through such virtual classroom software
- Encourages online collaboration of the participants
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Features of virtual classroom software
- Multimedia presentation
- Password protection and video encryption
- Text chat
- Session recording
- Storage and file sharing
- Surveys and polls
- Screen sharing
- Breakdown of the large sessions
Difference between a webinar and virtual classroom
|Type||Online lecture||Virtual learning process through the internet|
|Group size||Large and small groups (10 to 10000 participants)||Small groups (less than twenty participants)|
|Content||Broadcast on topics and information||Actual learning activities on specific topics|
|Interaction||One-way interaction to the larger audience||Both-way interactions among the participants|
|Duration||45 to 60 minutes||One to two hours|
|Recording||Recording available for the unable participants||The recording is available for repeated guidance|
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How to choose Virtual Classroom Software?
- Mobile/customer support: The software needs to be accessible from any operating systems and devices.
- Live classes: The virtual classroom software needs to provide the scheduling of live classes.
- Language accessibility: The virtual classroom software needs to provide multiple language options. Participants of multiple language-speaking can join the virtual classroom.
- Theme customization: This property of the virtual classroom software increases the level of interest and involvement of the participants.
- Secured socket layer: This characteristic provides a trusted leaning atmosphere and experience. This also helps to encrypt the hostname and thus win the consumer’s trust.
- Countdown timer: This characteristic helps the participants estimate the time factor of the session. Based on that they can become active to ask questions, clarify doubts, and resolve queries.
- Instant interactive tools: Through this property, the participants can establish real-time interactions with the teacher or instructor. During a running lecture, the learners can raise a question and the instructor can solve the issue with such an instant messaging service.
- Backup: The teacher can go through the data of the students’ performances through the backup method. The participants can go through the class and self-performance repeatedly with the help of backups.
- Interactive features: This feature is essentially required for the best virtual classroom software. Better the interactive process better the virtual classroom software will be.
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Top virtual classroom app
GOOGLE CLASSROOM: This classroom extends its free services to non-profit organizations, schools, and google account holders. There are easy instructions available for the participants to join the classroom. Camera, google account, and storage are essentially required to participate and continue the Google Classroom. The plus points of this virtual classroom,
- Saves time
- Easy to join
- Enhances communication skills of the participants
- Improves organization through google drive
- Secure and affordable
ELECTA LIVE: This virtual classroom software provides online live classes for learning the management system in a better and organized way. With the help of this online platform, anyone can upload the tutorials, add online classes, individual teaching sessions, online meetings, online lectures, and live group sessions.
DUOLINGO: This is an American online language-learning platform. This software is both mobile and computer friendly. This is free not access with no charge. Only the Duolingo premium is chargeable.
EDX: This is an open portal for online university course providers. A few online courses are available with no charge. This also undertakes several research programs to understand utility to users. The headquarter is located in the USA. This was created and designed by Harvard University and MIT.
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What Do Educational Apps Bring to The Table?
The students can enjoy the followings,
- New, updated and innovative methods of learning
- Enhanced the level of communication between the students, teacher-student, and parent-teachers
- Easy availability and accessibility of eBooks
- Reduces the communication gaps among the institutions and students
- Improved performance of the students
Educational institutions can track the students’ activities and they can communicate with their students easily. Such applications make the learning process easier for the students by adding relevant videos, audios, text, diagrams, and examples. This also increases the involvement and engagement of the students in different educational activities.
The introduction of the virtual classroom changes the way of learning and teaching process. Students from different parts of the world can take part in such a session. The flexibility of this learning process makes it more popular for the participants. The participants enjoy the free and easy accessibility of such apps. Through such virtual classroom software, the students and teachers can easily communicate and clear and clarify the contents related doubts instantly. These apps help education more popular and interesting to a large community.