This post is sponsored by Logitech
When coronavirus closed schools last March, teachers transitioned to emergency schooling then reimagined teaching spaces for virtual learning in the fall. This spring many school systems are preparing to re-open and educators are rethinking instruction again.
The setups we created at home worked for all-virtual instruction, but the requirements have changed. We have to consider what teacher tech essentials for simultaneous teaching will make us seen, heard, and understood by every student.
Also called the concurrent teaching model, simultaneous teaching involves managing groups of students who are in the classroom and virtual at the same time. Classroom tech essentials for simultaneous teaching differ from setups teachers left in their classrooms when schools closed last year. They’re also quite different from what we’ve set up in our homes.
5 Teacher Tech Essentials for Simultaneous Teaching
The technology in our classrooms always should address student needs and power meaningful learning experiences. Getting a simultaneous or concurrent classroom setup right is important to creating an effective teaching space for you and your learners.
If your school is preparing to reopen with a simultaneous teaching model, here are some practical tips to keep in mind. Keep reading for 5 teacher tech essentials for simultaneous teaching of virtual and live learners as you shift to this new way of instruction to end the year.
Be Seen as You Move Around the Room
When we were teaching at home, we were pretty stationary but being back at school means freedom to move around the classroom. This means you’ll need a camera to capture your every movement to keep virtual learners engaged.
My Logitech C922 HD Pro Webcam was an essential tool in my virtual classroom. The wide angle and ability to capture sound makes it one of my teacher tech essentials for simultaneous teaching.
In my teaching from home space, I tried a couple different cameras but like the crisp clear image captured by my C922. It features a 78-degree field of view and full HD at 1080p. The lens captures a razor-sharp image of me to ensure I can be seen when teaching from my desk or in the classroom. The autofocus ensures that my virtual students will always have a clear picture of me when I’m back in the classroom.
I can screw my C922 to a tripod to put it in a spot that works best. The long cord gives me flexibility to position it to capture most of my classroom. I also plan on using blue painter’s tape on the floor to indicate an area where I should stand to be in the C922’s range.
Make Sure Your Virtual Students Can Hear You and You Can Hear Them
Making sure students can hear is critical to staying connected to the classroom. We have to be sure they can hear clearly so they can follow along to get the instruction they need.
Since the CDC recommends we double mask and some teachers are considering face shields in the classroom for extra protection, there could be a lot of layers to be heard through while moving around the room to provide instruction.
Amplify your voice by placing a USB microphone like The Blue Microphones Snowball iCE. This is an easy way to get crystal-clear sound your virtual learners can hear.
The quality is far better than a built-in computer microphone. The Snowball iCE features effortless, plug-and-play setup for both Macs and PCs. Just plug it in to your desktop or laptop’s USB port. It will work with any software to provide great sounding results in your classroom.
I plan on testing my Snowball iCE USB Microphone when I’m able to get back in the classroom to determine where I can put it within my painter’s tape box to capture the best audio. I’ll also have to tinker with the audio on my Promethean board to make sure I can hear my students over Zoom from inside my computer lab.
Keep an Eye on Your Virtual Students While Helping Those in Your Classroom
Teachers are the ultimate multitaskers, but simultaneous instruction requires us to take this to the next level. Simultaneous teaching requires us to teach our lessons in person, keep an eye on students in the room, and monitor our virtual learners and chat room for questions.
During virtual learning, teaching was easier with multiple devices and windows open for different applications. Simultaneous learning is making me reconsider my teaching workflow and what devices I’m going to be using in my classroom.
In addition to school-issued laptops, Chromebooks, and desktops, some of my colleagues are using tablets too. This allows them to teach from one device while monitoring virtual students on a portable device as they move around the room.
Having an iPad as a secondary device during lessons is a great idea, especially when housed in a Logitech case. The Slim Folio Pro makes it easier to keep an eye on your virtual students to provide timely assistance from your classroom with your iPad. The durable case helps protect it while moving around a socially distanced room.
Be Flexible and Be Portable
One big question teachers in my school system have is how much technology will be provided for us. We don’t know what we might need to bring from home or buy for our classrooms with our own money.
We’re also not quite sure about plans to share classroom space with colleagues. In the past, I shared the computer lab with other teachers. My middle school is working hard to minimize shared space in the building, but I also know I’ll have to be flexible. Socially distanced classrooms means fewer students to a room in buildings where space is already at a premium.
As I think through my teacher tech essentials for simultaneous teaching, I know my setup might not be the best for my colleagues who could be using the space for live instruction the next day. Ease of setting up and breaking down tech is another big consideration as part of my return to school planning.
While a corded C922 webcam and Snowball iCE microphone will provide a better learning experience for my virtual students than wireless ones, my mouse can be wire-free.
I’ve been using various models of wireless mice, like the Logitech M585 Wireless Mouse, at home for years. A wireless mouse like the M585 provides freedom for movement, tends to be more compact than traditional corded mice, and helps reduce the clutter in my workspace. I love not feeling tethered to my classroom desktop and it’s easy to tuck my M585 mouse in my closet at the end of the day or stash it in my laptop bag to bring it home.
Throughout the past year, we’ve all done our our best to deliver the most effective instruction to our students online. We’ve been creative problem solvers who have used technology in innovative ways.
Now as we get ready to make another shift, this transition may feel daunting but any one of these teacher tech essentials for simultaneous teaching can make your return to the classroom a bit easier.
For more tips and resources, check out Logitech’s Teach From Home portal.
Logitech provided products to facilitate this sponsored post. This post first appeared on TechSavvyMama.com. If you are reading this post on a site other than TechSavvyMama.com this means the website you are on is violating copyright laws.