There are various options for schools to go online learning or popularly called virtual classroom. A virtual classroom is a teaching and learning environment where participants can interact, communicate, view and discuss presentations, and engage with learning resources while working in groups, all in an online setting
A virtual classroom enables students to access quality teachers anywhere on the planet so long as they both have a reliable internet connection. This can break down most of the common barriers to synchronous learning: cost, distance and timing.
Key Features of virtual classroom
- Video conferencing ability (so teachers and students can see each other)
- Audio conferencing(so participants can hear each other)
- online whiteboard
- Real-time text chat
- Interactive online whiteboard (so users can interact on the same online page).
- Library of learning materials (essential for providing more structured lessons)
- Teacher tools and controls (just like in a physical classroom)
Setting Virtual Classroom in your School with School Software Pro
In case you are looking for tips on how to create a virtual classroom learning for your school/ institution. Below are how you can set up virtual classroom for your institution in Nigeria for online teaching.
A classroom can be described as a system of communication which makes it possible for a group of people or students and teacher to come together to talk or learn about something. A virtual classroom is quite similar to this only that it is just different from the normal physical classroom. Web-based classrooms have their great benefits because you can teach just about anyone from anywhere around the globe.
Sign up an account
You first need to sign up for an account with the platform. For school (Primary, secondary, polytechnics and universities) in Nigeria can leverage in School Software Pro, a school management system that has majority of Virtual classroom features.
The good thing about the School Software Pro platform it is affordable and has student information management systems and school management system together with the Virtual classroom features for your learnings.
Setting up a virtual classroom on Google Meet using Google Calendar School Software Pro
There are three ways to access Google Meet to set up a virtual classroom for your students:
For teachers, we highly recommend using the Google Calendar route to set up your virtual classroom. Google Calendar can send out reminder alarms to your students shortly before class starts. For example, if you have a psychology class at 9:30 a.m. every Wednesday, you can input this into Google Calendar and the platform will alert your students at 9:20 a.m. to join your virtual classroom on Google Meet. This guide will focus on setting up distance learning using Google Meet/ Calendar.
Useful features on Google Meet for teachers and students
Google Meet is jam-packed with beneficial features that will enhance your virtual teaching experience and optimize distance learning for your students.
Adding captions in Google Meet
On the bottom-right corner, you can click on “Turn on captions” for students who may find captions helpful. The captions aren’t perfect, but they’re useful for students who may be hard of hearing, speak English as a second language or have attention issues.
Pinning in Google Meet
Pinning is a useful tool when you have a student presenting his or her project to the entire class. In the “People” section, you can hover your cursor over the student’s window and click on the pin. Google Meet will then make their window the center-of-focus for all the participants in your virtual classroom.
Using the Google Meet chat for Q&A sessions
If students have a question, they can click on the Chat button on the top-right corner and type in their query.
Recording your Google Meet classes
One of the coolest features of Google Hangouts Meet — and also a temporary post-COVID-19 perk that was once only for premium G Suite members — is the option to record your lectures. You can do this by navigating to the three-dot icon on the bottom right and clicking “Record Meeting.” Once you hang up from the video call with your students, the recorded lecture will be saved to your Google Drive.
As distance learning and remote teaching become our new normal, we’re becoming increasingly more reliant on technology to meet our educational needs during the disruptive COVID-19 outbreak.
Google Meet is another one of the more well-known video conferencing options. Similar to Skype, this means that many people will have access to it. This is driven by the fact that it’s implemented with much of the Google suite, which makes it easy to use if you have Gmail or other apps.
Though this lacks some of the more advanced features that accompany other solutions, it’s much more cost effective. This can make it great for smaller businesses and startups
RingCentral Video delivers a seamlessly integrated Message, Video, and Phone experience that’s fast, unified, open and trusted. RingCentral Video is designed for teams of all sizes, whether it’s a small company or a large enterprise. RingCentral Video offers HD voice and video conferencing, and an industry-best 99.999% uptime.
You don’t need to download anything to use RingCentral Video, as it automatically works on all devices via a browser or app.
RingCentral Video also offers enterprise-grade security, and integrates with commonly used apps such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, Salesforce, Canvas, and others.
Zoom is popular choice for many businesses and offers several plan options. The “Basic” option is free, offers unlimited 1 to 1 meetings yet limits calls to 40 minutes. The Basic plan can be a smart choice for many SMEs and start-ups and comes with a variety of additional features including online support.
Zoom’s paid versions offer many added features attractive to small, medium, large and enterprise businesses including increased meeting participants, storage, admin capabilities and more.
BigBlueButton implements the core web conferencing features you would expect in a commercial system, but under an open source license. These core feature include audio/video sharing, presentations with extended whiteboard capabilities – such as a pointer, zooming and drawing – public and private chat, breakout rooms, screen sharing, integrated VoIP using FreeSWITCH, and support for presentation of PDF documents and Microsoft Office documents.
BigBlueButton is a pure HTML5 client. It uses the browser’s support for web real-time communications WebRTC to send/receive audio, video, and screen.
In a BigBlueButton session there are two types of users: viewer or moderator.
As a viewer, a user may join the voice conference, share their webcam, raise their hand, and chat with others. As a moderator, a user may mute/unmute others, eject any user from the session, and make any user the current presenter. The presenter may upload slides and control the presentation.
Adobe is a large name in several areas and brings a variety of features to video conferencing. This includes a significant amount of control over documentation and other areas. Users will also be able to create rich multimedia to use with the video calls.
Adobe Connect doesn’t require any software downloads, so it can be much more accessible to users. As such, business owners will be able to sign in and start calling quickly from any device. This convenience extends to first-time users, as the software is easy to understand and use.
GoToMeeting is a solution that can be connected to a variety of other apps, such as Outlook and other email services, among others. Through this, it offers a simple click-and-call feature that makes video conferencing much easier than many other providers.
This is also one of the few options that allows you to record HD video and share it with others on the call immediately afterward. This can make view back and note-taking much easier.
Cisco Webex is another popular video conference solution that’s used by millions of people across the world. This popularity is seen across both smaller firms and Fortune 500 companies, as it offers a considerable number of features.
This is also one of the more cost-effective solutions, as one of its more affordable options allows for up to 100 people to take part in a video conference for a low monthly price.
Lifesize is one of the more expensive options available for companies, as it’s geared more toward international businesses. The price works out to about $11 per user per month, with this equating to $12,999 per year for 100 users; the cost per person goes up if there are fewer people using it.
For the price, however, companies are getting much more, as Lifesize offers some of the best collaboration. This is true, regardless of whether a company is using multi-point or point-to-point calls.
LoopUp offers a variety of features that business owners will be able to take advantage of. One of the more notable of these is that it provides users with dedicated account managers, with support being available 24/7. This support is worldwide and in most major languages, which can be beneficial for many users.
When it comes to cost, LoopUp offers a Pay-As-You-Go approach. This means that many entrepreneurs will be able to ensure that they can keep costs low while scaling up when needed.
Many conferencing solutions restrict the number of calls that a business can make depending on the package that they have. This isn’t the case with Omnijoin, which offers unlimited calls with each of its packages. There are three packages available depending on the number of people that will be using it.
While this might not be an appropriate choice for larger businesses, it can be a smart choice for startups, as it’s cost effective while offering many of the features seen with other software. With its dynamic HD video feeds, companies will see a seamless meeting experience with each use.
Pexip offers a tailored approach to business video conferencing, with much of this being adjusted depending on the industry that you’re in. Companies that use Pexip can host the conferencing themselves, or in the cloud of their choice (like AWS or Google). This is enhanced by the company’s support network, which includes certified professionals that will work with you to assess your needs.
This is enhanced by the resources that the company offers, which business owners will be able to take advantage of whenever needed. This can include cloud-based or premises-based infrastructure or even a combination of both.
BlueJeans provides rich-content sharing for each of its users, which means that customers will be able to offer effective presentations without compromising on streaming quality. Alongside this is stream recording that doesn’t affect the frame rate or cause the call to freeze or slow down.
Being cloud-based, BlueJeans can connect with a variety of other apps without any issues. This means that users can sign in through several ways without affecting performance.
Skype is one of the more well-known video conferencing platforms. While many people will be aware of the benefits that it offers individuals, some mightn’t know that there are a few business advantages. Some of these are partly influenced by how well-known and accessible the app is.
Businesses will also be able to take advantage of the phone numbers that can come with the service. These can be called from virtually any phone. As a result, your customers shouldn’t need to have a Skype account to ring you.
This is also one of the more cost-effective ways of making and taking business calls, as it offers much more choice when it comes to billing. Users will be able to control the number of credits they use, which means that they’ll only have to pay for the amount that they use.
Vidyo has a few relatively unique features for companies, such as Native Rate Matching. This automatically adjusts frame rates based on a caller’s and receiver’s internet connection and computer power. By doing so, it avoids freezing while keeping video quality high.
The conferencing service has a large amount of intuitiveness, which makes it quite easy to use for newer users. There’s also a dynamic quality to the design, which adjusts on-the-fly when people join or leave the conference.
While each of the above video conferencing services can be beneficial, every business will need to consider how they’re using them. One of the larger mistakes that entrepreneurs can make is with their voicemail greeting. This is a vital part of your communication, as it often makes a substantial first impression for potential clients and customers.
As such, it’s vital that you optimize your voicemail as much as possible, although many business owners may not know how to. There are several areas that you’ll need to look at, with the first being to identify any mistakes that you may already be making.