During distance learning many schools have been providing lessons to students through live group video calls. This has proven to be interesting to say the least, especially when large groups of young children and their parents are all online together. (I would know!)
Different teachers have different ways of managing the chaos of live lessons. Some have a blanket policy of having students muted throughout lessons because they find the interruptions and background noise to be too distracting. Some teachers have taught their children to raise their hand if they’d like to speak although this only works if all the children have their video on and the teacher can see all of their videos (which is often not the case).
In my class I ask children to say “excuse me” if they’d like to say something whilst someone else is speaking. Unsurprisingly though, in a class of four and five years old, the practise hasn’t caught on!
None of these routines and rules are 100% effective and unfortunately this leaves many children dissatisfied by not having their voice heard or confused because they didn’t understand the lesson.
Maybe your child has been wishing they could say something but hasn’t wanted to interrupt? Or maybe they can’t get a word in edgewise because others in their class always seem to dominate the conversation?
In ‘normal’ classrooms there’s been a good couple of hundred years to develop ways to manage groups of children and they still have their fair share of distractions and background noise. Online learning in virtual classrooms has only been around for a matter of weeks. This means that we all still have a lot to learn and that our technology is still catching up!
Luckily though, some very clever and creative people have been hard at work coming up with solutions that make online learning experiences much more fun and engaging!
New Chrome Extension Nod allows students to communicate instantly with their teacher without unmuting. Kids using Nod in their lessons can send Emojis to
let their teacher know that they would like to speak (Raised Hand), agree or understand (Thumbs up) or that they’re laughing at whatever just happened (Laughing smiley)!
Nod injects a little more fun into online lessons and encourages even the shyest children to participate. It also allows teachers to get instant feedback on how well children have understood, meaning that better learning can take place too!
If your child wants to speak or answer a question they can click on the Raise Hand icon. The teacher will see a message in the bottom left of their screen and call on your child to speak when they are ready.
Here are a few technicalities to help you on your way to emoji fun in lessons:
Whoever has Nod installed on their browser can see and send Nods to others in video calls. This means that both you and the teacher should have Nod installed for it to work.
The Nod extension is only for Google Chrome (at the moment)
To use Nod you will need to be using Google Chrome to join your Google Meet lessons.
Nod is not available for mobile or tablet yet.
Both the teacher and the child are then able to remove the raised hand message once the child has had their turn to speak.
Watch out for new Emojis and new features as Nod is developed further!
Finally, remember that it could be distracting if children send too many emojis, so teach your child how to use Nod responsibly. This will ensure that lessons can be as effective and FUN as possible for everyone!
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Has your child's online learning experience improved with the use of Nod? Tell me your story here.