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

Updated: Mar 5

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

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 ways to get to know and connect with our students online. 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, 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 fantastic resources and templates, but one is the About Me page that students can edit and fill in all about themselves. You can create one to share with your students.

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

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

  • Flipgrid - This is a video tool where you can 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 enter a code join a grid and respond to others. Very easy to set up, share, and record! Another fun fact about 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 via email or links or 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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