Zoom K-12 Education & Teaching Best Practices (+ FREE Checklist)
The COVID-19 pandemic means that student learning often means virtual or hybrid learning. If you’re using Zoom for education, a few best practices can help ensure the learning is effective and safe too.
Let’s look at these 5 tips for teaching classes and remote learning sessions through Zoom for K-12:
- Follow online learning accessibility guidelines.
- Go beyond the lecture to bolster student learning.
- Extend virtual education beyond class time.
- Post videos of captioned lesson recordings.
- Follow Zoom education safety precautions.
Why Zoom for remote learning?
Even if they’re not in the same room — or even in the same ZIP code — teachers and students can collaborate using Zoom education. The cloud-based video communications platform provides tools that go beyond video and audio.
Founded in 2011 to connect businesses and organizations remotely, today Zoom is everywhere. With the COVID-19 pandemic taking much of our lives online, you’ll find Zoom in virtual versions of office meetings, family get-togethers … and, yes, classrooms.
In fact, Zoom temporarily removed its standard 40-minute time limit on free, basic accounts for K-12 schools.
If you’re using Zoom for your virtual or hybrid learning experience, how can you ensure that you and your students are getting the most from it?
1. Enhance remote learning — for everyone
Make learning accessible for all students, including those with disabilities. It’s about more than following the law. It’s about online teaching that includes everyone. And that means you have more-engaged students in your virtual classroom.
Most K-12 schools must abide by accessibility laws and guidelines, like:
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) — A federal law mandating free appropriate public education (FAPE) for children up to 18 who have disabilities. Educators must follow a written Individualized Education Program (IEP) for instruction.
Rehabilitation Act — Section 504 of this federal law focuses on the rights of people with disabilities. Section 508 addresses the use of technology — and that includes technology, like captioning, used in virtual education.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) — Also a federal law, this prohibits public entities from discriminating based on disability. Schools must accept students with disabilities and provide them with appropriate accommodations.
Common Core State Standards — These guidelines call for assisting K-12 students with disabilities, allowing them to fully engage in the educational process. And your state may have other requirements.
The National Center for Learning Disabilities encourages frequent communication with administrators, students and parents. Discuss remote learning expectations and individual needs.
Then make sure you’re in compliance with accessibility laws. Offer options like the appropriate screen reader, keyboard shortcuts, live captioning, and small-group instruction.
Check with your administrators about funding for services to provide accessibility. For example, federal aid is available through IDEA and through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
2. Go beyond the talking head
Even in person, students — particularly young children or those with disabilities — don’t want to just listen to lectures. Why should your virtual classroom be any different? Zoom education provides plenty of ways to engage learners, whether they’re in elementary, high school or beyond.
From sharing your screen, to making notes, to displaying a digital whiteboard, you can provide more than lectures. Video breakout sessions? Polling? In-class chats? They’re all available, so take advantage of them to get your students involved.
Make full use of Zoom’s tools for video communications or real-time problem-solving. Break classes into smaller groups for those who would benefit. For younger students, enlist them as stars of the show. Present interactive story time lessons or show-and-tell activities.
3. Extend Zoom to after-class time
Virtual or hybrid classrooms offer more than live, class period instruction. They also provide opportunities for separate office hours. Use this time to discuss classroom or administrative questions, address concerns, and go over projects.
You can lead team or one-on-one meetings on Zoom, during office hours outside of class. Or assign your students to groups to complete assignments or projects, using Zoom’s breakout rooms for activities.
4. Keep everyone in the loop with captioned recordings
Maybe students missed a lesson due to illness, connectivity issues, or any of the other realities of this COVID-19 world. Maybe they want a refresher.
Or maybe you want to flip your classroom. Have students view presentations outside of class time; then, discuss during a live Zoom class session.
Students can learn on their own time when you share videos, class recordings and transcripts.
And with captioned videos, you’ll provide all kinds of benefits. Captioning helps you stay in compliance with the law. You’ll assist students who are deaf or hard of hearing or have cognitive or learning disabilities. You’ll also help non-native English speakers improve their language skills. In fact, all students may learn better with captioned classroom videos. Studies show that viewing educational videos with captions improves student performance. It boosts reading comprehension and raises test scores.
5. Protect your (virtual) classroom
Virtual learning comes with opportunities for class disruptions. Take steps to help minimize distractions, whether it’s from your students or would-be intruders.
Your Zoom waiting room allows you to dictate who’s in your class. And that means you can keep out anyone who’s trying to hijack — or “Zoombomb” — your learning session. You also can lock down your class once everyone’s there.
Look at how you’re handling the mute, chat and screen sharing functions. Adjust these features to best suit your class activities. And remember that students can use icons like raised hands to ask for help without interrupting the class.
How can Rev help with Zoom education?
Whether you’re ensuring accessibility, catering to individual learning styles, or encouraging positive learning outcomes, we can help. Learn more about our real-time captioning for Zoom sessions, automated and human transcription services for Zoom recordings, and captioning of recorded Zoom videos.
Download a Free Zoom Education Best Practices Checklist