How to Get the Most Out of a Virtual Classroom

Intel has advice and solutions for finding an approach to remote classrooms that works for you.

Key Takeaways:

  • Preparing teachers with the right strategies, tools, and resources is essential for the success of online classrooms and online learning content.

  • To help educators overcome the challenges of setting up and optimizing a virtual classroom, Intel has worked with leaders in education to develop solutions and resources.

  • Remote learning puts an extra burden on parents and caregivers, and they need special support to be able to provide students with the right environment.

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Setting Up a Virtual Classroom

When the COVID-19 pandemic closed schools all over the world, educational institutions brought learning online and classrooms became virtual virtually overnight. Now online education is widely used and also here to stay. It’s enabling schools to embrace “anywhere learning” strategies that can withstand interruptions in the future and provide students with access to education that is more flexible. But if students aren’t engaged, and teachers spend more time troubleshooting than educating, it isn’t reaching its full potential. All schools need a clear strategy and a detailed plan to ensure that teachers are ready to maximize the effectiveness of online learning formats and that IT staff are working with the technology they need to not only secure and manage devices but enable new ways of achieving schools’ education goals.

Intel is partnering with leaders and innovators in education to help educators create virtual classrooms and find the right tools and applications for keeping students engaged and on track to gain the skills they need for the future. Intel and its partners are helping educators understand how technology can address many of the current issues they’re facing.

Virtual Classroom Strategies for Teachers

The sudden transition to distance learning has been fraught with challenges, but also full of opportunities. Once teachers cross the initial barriers to creating an online classroom for their students, they’ll have a number of remote learning tools at their disposal that give them more flexibility in their approach to leading the learning experience. Here are some key considerations when establishing your virtual classroom:

Set Up Your Virtual Environment

The first key to remote learning is to clearly establish classroom norms at the start of the class. Before teaching begins in earnest, students should have a strong sense of when assignments are due and when it’s OK to make comments during class, among other expectations. These guidelines should then be enforced consistently. Educators should also support two types of virtual learning experiences: synchronous and asynchronous. Synchronous remote classrooms bring students together for real-time interaction, usually via a videoconference application with a chat function. Asynchronous distance learning means providing learners with content they can review at any time for self-directed learning and as part of collaborative, project-based learning with other students.

Adapt Your Lessons for Learning Online

It’s important that educators continue to trust their pedagogical instincts even while transitioning to a distance classroom, but some simple adjustments to make lessons more interactive go a long way. For example, use breakout rooms frequently for small-group virtual collaboration. This is a great mechanism for incorporating active and project-based learning as a regular feature of the virtual classroom. Collaborative learning helps address students’ need for social interaction while in school, as does setting up friendly online competitions with an application like Kahoot. It’s also important to create interactive experiences, such as interactive quizzes, and compelling content such as YouTube videos to vary the experience and keep students engaged. Intel has developed a helpful guide for educators with suggestions for adapting existing practices to the online classroom.

Get the Right Tools and Technology

Choosing the right device for educators—whether it’s a desktop PC, laptop, notebook, or interactive flat panel display (IFPD)—is crucial to the success of a remote classroom. It needs to be a device that can support communication peripherals like an external mic and camera for clear video and sound to enable excellent virtual collaboration. It needs to be powerful enough to efficiently create content like video and image-heavy PowerPoint presentations and to allow teachers to effectively multitask while conducting online classes. The right device must also enable students to practice the skills that will make them competitive in the job market of the future—skills such as computational and design thinking, creativity, and using technology to develop leadership skills. To do so, it must be capable of running applications that can help them learn computer programming, AI, robotics, data modeling, and other technology-driven skill sets. Another key consideration is manageability. Technical issues, even those that are easy to fix, disrupt classes and delay learning objectives. PCs with the Intel vPro® platform are easy to remedy remotely and can help increase the productivity of teachers and students alike.

Explore Innovative Skill Development

The skills needed for the careers of the future are being built now. Distance learning can be a great opportunity to help students gain technology skills for the 4th Industrial Revolution. Virtual classroom assignments that challenge them to apply design thinking, develop coding skills, or analyze data can help put them on a path to long-term success. The Intel® Skills for Innovation framework provides a guide for understanding how to help children build the skills they need to be ready for the future.

Advice for Parents of Online Learners

The sudden advent of online classrooms has meant that parents now have an extra responsibility for their children’s education. Helping them succeed at managing the remote learning experience is essential for their children’s education. Intel has worked with education experts to develop guidance and help for parents. Here are some simple measures that will help everyone get the most out of the online learning experience.

Build an Online Learning Routine

Flexible schedules that students can stick to give them a sense of structure that may be lost in at-home learning. It’s important to combine virtual and physical activities throughout the day and to mix self-directed and parent-led learning. Make sure that these routines are tailored to the age and unique needs of the student.

Create an Online Classroom Workspace

If possible, create multiple designated areas for learning online. Establish a technology zone where parents can ensure that students stay on task. Have a quiet space set aside for reading and a space for creative activities. It’s also important to create space (outdoors if possible) for physical activities and play.

The Right Device for Virtual Collaboration and Learning

Whether it’s a desktop or a laptop, there are key capabilities required for exceptional remote learning. The devices must enable smooth and clear virtual collaboration to avoid delays and frustrations during virtual classroom sessions. They must also enable efficient productivity as the student switches between apps and tasks and creates digital content. Devices powered by the latest Intel® Core™ Processors are the best way to ensure that students have what they need to succeed in online learning. Devices with Intel Core Processors are equipped with the performance to smoothly run virtual learning applications that can help them acquire mindsets such as computational thinking, digital creativity, and other technology skill sets like computer programming, working with AI and robotics, and manipulating data simulations. These mindsets and skill sets are crucial for long-term success in today’s emerging economy. Explore this guide to finding the right device.

Staying Safe While Learning Online

With increased time online, parents and teachers need to be aware of the increased cybersecurity risks students will encounter. They should keep devices fully updated and ensure that they create strong passwords for their children’s accounts. Parents should employ both in-person monitoring and online safety application to stay fully aware of their children’s online activities to avoid online predators or scams. Intel has a list of simple tips for staying safe.

Virtual Classroom for School IT Administrators

School IT administrators have a crucial role in the future of education and the long-term success of students. The decisions they make regarding the school’s technology infrastructure will have a lasting impact, both in terms of student academic performance and future careers and in terms of a school’s ability to support long-term digital transformation. Selecting educational devices and data solutions built on Intel® architecture unifies your digital infrastructure and makes integrating and updating technology simpler and seamless.

Managing Remote Learning Infrastructure

Remote learning creates highly distributed infrastructures of PCs and other devices, which can expose sensitive data. Managing these devices, keeping them up to date, securing them, and making sure that students use them properly requires devices with remote manageability—both in and out of band—built in at the hardware level. The Intel vPro® platform is designed to make it easy and efficient for IT managers to stay on top of and secure the most-difficult remote infrastructures. With the Intel vPro® platform, school IT administrators can quickly and efficiently remediate issues remotely—reducing disruptions in online learning that cut into precious class time—giving teachers one less thing to worry about.

Measuring the Virtual Classroom

Data solutions implemented by the school can help teachers address the difficulty of noting each student’s response to what’s being taught in the online classroom. The subtle cues we can pick up on in person aren’t available. Advanced analytics powered by deep learning artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to observe and measure the engagement of online classroom participants through posture and expression and provide educators feedback in real time. AI can also be used to analyze student performance to ensure that content and curriculum align with their ability to learn. This technology allows educators to tailor and personalize teaching, curriculum planning, and goal setting to the students’ individual needs. Educators can pinpoint the source of confusion and detect the need for 1:1 interventions. Learn more about how Intel is helping bring AI into the classroom to transform education.

Virtual Classroom and Smart Classroom Solutions

The future of education is being designed, developed, and tested today. Intel’s global ecosystem of innovative partners are creating powerful and scalable education technology to suit a wide range of schools, requirements, and needs. Whether it’s a multifunction interactive display that blends in-school and virtual learning or an AI-enabled analytics solution that allows schools to better leverage their data, each technology is easy to integrate into existing Intel-based IT infrastructure. Browse easy-to-manage learning devices on the Intel® Solutions Marketplace.

Technologies for Online Learning

Intel has spent years collaborating with educators and education technology innovators. Together we’ve been able to create a clear road map for educational technology that provides educational institutions with a picture of where they are in their digital transformation and how to take what they’ve gained from distance learning and apply it to integrating new innovations going forward.

Latest Gen Intel® Core™ Processors

Laptops, notebooks, Chromebooks, tablets—there are many form factors to consider when choosing a device for teachers and students—but the latest Intel® Core™ processors have built-in features that make them powerful remote learning devices. From integrated Intel® Iris® Graphics for smooth HD videoconferencing, to exceptional performance and battery life, students and teachers can create and collaborate better with the latest Intel® Core™ processors.

Find out how to choose the right device

ViewSonic myViewBoard Classroom

Intel’s education technology partner ViewSonic is working to re-create the classroom experience virtually with the ViewSonic myViewBoard. This student-centric platform brings the physical and virtual together by employing interactive flat panel displays (IFPDs) powered by Intel Unite® to enable real-time virtual collaboration. It provides a single device for teachers to create interactive content, broadcast lessons, and present in person.

Learn more about myViewBoard

Intel Unite® for Seamless Virtual Learning

Reduce the technical hassles of videoconferencing for virtual classrooms and hybrid learning with Intel Unite®. This highly refined technology is easy to use and supports the range of devices and operating systems required to enable online learning programs.

See what Intel Unite® can do for learning

Establishing the Future That Students Need Today

Virtual learning will continue to be a core part of schooling across the globe as educational institutions transition to hybrid and anywhere learning where remote and in-person classrooms blend seamlessly. Teachers can help students stay engaged while teaching remotely by finding ways to vary the experience, whether it’s project-based learning happening in breakout rooms or interactive online learning content. Teachers will continue to need support from schools to develop their online teaching skills and adapt their lessons for the virtual classroom. Parents will also need extra support to help their children manage their online classes while maintaining their social and emotional health.

Schools must respond to this challenge by creating the best possible infrastructure of manageable, interoperable remote learning devices that provide excellent performance for collaboration and learning applications. If the teacher spends more time troubleshooting technology than teaching, then the students suffer. Intel and its partners can help put schools on a path to long-term learning innovation. We can help them take the progress they’ve made with remote classrooms and put it toward a future where learning is adaptive and available whenever and wherever the student needs it.

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Remote Learning Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

A virtual classroom brings students and teachers together via an online platform, usually a videoconferencing web application. The best ones allow students and teachers to interact in real time during the class, via video and chat messages. Teachers can adapt classroom strategies for delivering instruction, and they can incorporate interactive methods such as breakout rooms, games, and videos.

Hybrid learning combines classes and learning content that happen virtually (online) and traditional classes held in person. Students access learning online remotely from their homes or other locations and attend classes at school. With the right hybrid learning solutions, teachers can move between virtual and in-person education seamlessly, giving schools more flexibility and reducing interruptions like snow days and other times when students aren’t able to attend class in person.

Most online classrooms are held via videoconferencing applications and integrate online platforms such as Google Classroom or Canvas. Most are accessed via a web browser, and many different devices can be used to participate. However, the best device is a PC that enables students to participate in class and efficiently complete their work using the same device.

Most remote learning applications have a high degree of security, but no computer system can be totally secure. Parents need to monitor their child’s online activity, make sure they are using strong passwords, and verify that they understand what information is OK to share online and what is not.