Modern learning tools are now utilized in many schools worldwide. Because of the potency of new technologies, students and teachers can reap the rewards of the 21st-century education more than ever before. One of these is a new and easier way of communicating. Though communication is already effective in face-to-face education, teachers are finding more ways to enhance it further by incorporating technology in the classroom. One way is through the use of online chat rooms.
Online chat rooms make way to more active discussions and participation among students. It also provides real-time feedback, which is much faster than traditional communication. However, teachers must be cautious and receptive in integrating online chats in the classroom. Here are some helpful ways to effectively utilize classroom chat rooms.
Foresee and Consider the Students’ Needs
Before you start implementing online chat in your classroom, you have to anticipate what your students need for effective and successful discussions. Some students may still get used to asking questions, verbally, so make it clear to them that they are encouraged to do it online. Your students may need more time to adjust to this new educational platform, so take it easy and guide them along the way until they finally get used to it.
Make Good Use of Visuals
Even with the use of technology, it is still hard to retain the attention of students. Thus, you have to make good use of visuals like photos and videos. Although online chats are interactive, students can get easily bored if you won’t show them something interesting. Use appealing yet informative videos and images that relate to the topic you are discussing. This will help students remember your lessons and discussions easily. Ask them questions about the visuals, and allow them to have a more profound discussion about the lesson using the class chat room. Given that online chats are real-time, you can get instantaneous feedback from the students. Additionally, students can express their thoughts more easily through chat than through verbal communication.
Encourage Team Building
Chatting as only one group is somewhat tricky. You will have a hard time keeping track of the students who respond to your questions. Some students may just keep quiet while reading messages in the chat box without participating. Thus, you have to form groups every once in a while to encourage the active participation of every student. Dividing them into groups will also allow them to mingle with other students and know them better. Grouping your students will also enhance their leadership and team building skills, thus preparing them for more group activities in the future.
Enhance their Critical Thinking
Learning isn’t just about memorizing what’s in the textbooks. It is also important for students to improve their critical thinking skills. Hence, as a teacher, it is your role to help them achieve this learning goal. Apart from group discussions, you also have to provide individual activities that will help them enhance critical thinking. This can be done through text analysis, role-playing through online chat, and problem-solving. These activities can sharpen their minds and help them become better critical thinkers.
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