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Then there is the extra communicative element for students, a greater sense of intimacy between classmates, bonding, creativity and lots of fun.
Beyond that you may wish to supplement your basic course offerings, specialise for specific purposes or simply follow your own instincts and inspiration.This was how I learnt the ropes, and learnt how to manage groups online.Once a week I held an open creativity class on poetry, games or story-telling, and students from all over the world would log in.Personally speaking, when I started, I made a beeline for platforms with virtual classrooms, as it just seemed the natural thing to do.I found a community of teachers on Wiz IQ who were very inspiring, and we worked together for two years on our Edupunk creativity experiments.You can divide classes up into groups or pairs and send them to different sub-classrooms.
In this way you can introduce many new games as you have the advantage of information gaps to exploit.
Power Point will be your basic essential, as only Power Point will work in most virtual classrooms, though you can screen-share to work on interactive sites.
My number one tip here is to make Power Points as visual as possible.
If I had a class in a brick and mortar school and a language lab, I would have a field-day.
The fun activities one can use to supplement courses and have students creating their own educational masterpieces are endless.
Sylvia Guinan, online English teacher and current winner of the British Council Teaching English blog award, walks us through the opportunities and pitfalls.