Getting to know your students virtually: 5 EdTech tips to get to know your students

As we enter this school year, we know that this will be unlike any other we have encountered. After all, there was no pandemic 101 in college, right? Let’s talk about how we can connect with our students in the online space. We know that relationships are first and foremost when it comes to teaching and delivering content. Rita Pearson states, “Kids don’t learn from people they don't like.” So true right!

I love how @GiuliaPucciEDU shared this takeaway from Rita Pierson’s “Every kid needs a champion” @TEDTalks

Teaching is about building, cultivating, and maintaining relationships with our students - now more than ever. In a space where we are all separated, we can all still be connected. Let us share some ways we can get to know and connect with our students in the online space. Here they are in no order:

  • Whiteboard collaborative drawings - You can do this with the Microsoft whiteboard app, the drawing features on nearpod or peardeck, or the site and have students introduce themselves through drawing. You can share your screen so everyone can see each other’s drawings or keep them private. You can also have students play Pictionary in small groups using one of these tools.

  • About me, a board using Buncee - Buncee has amazing resources and templates but one is the about me page that students can edit and fill in all about themselves. You can create one too to share with your students.

  • Canva about me page - Did you know that Canva has an educator account? Not only do they have lesson plans, schedules, planners, etc but they also have templates for you to use. Create a page, brochure, or bookmark that students can use to introduce themselves to their peers and you.

  • Adobe Spark - With adobe spark you can create a variety of activities to deliver content and to have your students create content. One such activity is creating an about me video. What is great about Adobe spark is that they walk you through the whole process step by step. Upload your own pics and video clips. You can even add audio to your video to explain ideas and concepts!

  • Flipgrid - This is a video tool that you can use to share videos of yourself and your students can send video responses. You can set up different prompts for your students to respond to and they can reply to the prompt using video with the addition of text and emojis. Students simply enter a code and join a grid and respond to others. Very easy to set up, share, and record! Another fun fact for flipgrid is that you can record your screen or use a board and draw on it with your audio support in the background!

Alright friends fire up those get to know you questions but let's put an EdTech spin on it. All the tools shared above are free (or paid versions), easy to use and set up, you can also share these out via email, links, or even embed them in your learning management system. As Chris Nesi shares, “Technology isn’t hard, just give it a try.”

Extra resources:

  • Virtual learning ideas with Holly Clark

  • Virtual icebreakers

Share out on social media using #EduMagic how you are getting to know your students in the virutal space.
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