The educational sphere is constantly changing to go with the times, and numerous technologies are used today. Virtual learning has been around for many years already, but it really took off during the pandemic. Thanks to the latest video conferencing solutions, teachers, students, and their parents can communicate easily and learn without issues. Almost every school or college uses online classroom software to enhance the educational process and provide all students with the opportunity to learn under any circumstances. Much like with any other class, it is important to include various activities when studying digitally, such as warm-ups and icebreakers.
What Are Icebreakers and Warm-ups
Both icebreakers and warm-ups are fun activities to have in a class apart from actually studying. These are two different things that teachers all around the globe use to improve the experience of their students. They are used at different times and for specific purposes. Here is some basic info about warm-ups and icebreakers:
- Icebreakers – there are activities to have at the beginning of a new course or when new students arrive at your usual class. They allow students to tell about themselves in a non-pressuring way, unlike simply standing in front of the class and telling your life story. For an icebreaker, you can play two truths and a lie or show and tell, ask the students to share a few words about why they took your course, come up with an interesting activity in groups, etc.
- Warm-ups – these are exactly what they sound like. Warm-ups at school can be both physical and mental. The goal of a warm-up activity is to encourage students to keep learning or make them more active. When it is early in the morning, most students need a little shake-up to be ready to receive information. This kind of stimulation can be useful before, during, and after any class.
As you can see, similar activities can be used for warm-ups and icebreakers, although they have specific purposes and slight differences. In any case, thanks to video call programs, it is incredibly convenient to host classes online and benefit from all the usual activities that you would have in a real classroom.
The Advantages of Incorporating Warm-ups and Icebreakers in your Classes
Both icebreakers and warm-ups have a positive impact on your students and the educational process overall if done right. Some teachers might think that there is no time for playing during class, but spending a few minutes on something fun can boost the performance of each student significantly. Here are a few key benefits of incorporating fun activities during your video conferences with students:
- Students get acquainted – virtual education makes it a little more difficult for students to get close and comfortable with each other. It is rather difficult for many students to open up in the first place. To make everyone as comfortable as possible, it is advised to use icebreaker games and activities. This way, all students will become friends more easily and work together efficiently. There are a lot of icebreakers that will suit both extroverts and introverts.
- Becoming familiar with students – teachers need some time to get to know their students as well. When a new class arrives, it is necessary to learn everybody’s names and their proper pronunciation. It also would be good to know more about your students for a closer connection.
- Waking up – so many students (and teachers) have a hard time waking up in the morning and being productive during the first class. Many people also find it hard to focus after lunch when their bodies crave some rest, but they need to continue studying. It is especially difficult to stay focused when you are studying from home and your warm bed is so close. To wake everybody up, you can use warm-ups. Whether you will make your students jump and scream like during PE or play a quick and fun game of trivia or something like that, you will have excited and ready to receive new information afterward.
- Reviewing progress – it is crucial to review the information you have learned regularly. Reviews in a test format are usually boring and a little scary. However, you can review the words, dates, or facts you have learned with the help of warm-ups. You can question your students individually, in pairs, or in groups. Make them list the necessary words and repeat them one after another. Ask quick questions and see who will answer first. There are many ways to engage students without making it feel like a serious test.
- Calm down before the test – many students feel anxious before tests and similar tasks even if they are simple and not very significant. By playing a fun and short game, you can make everyone calm down a little and regain confidence. After a good laugh and team effort, students will not get in their heads as much.
Spending some time improving the mood of your students will pay off big time. Not only they will study better but feel better as well.
Thanks to modern video conference programs, it is easy to set up a lesson for a few dozen students. Neither teachers nor students need expensive or specialized equipment to be able to study. All you need is a stable Internet connection, a computer, a webcam, and a microphone. Whether you are using a laptop to see and hear the other video call members or your smartphone with headphones, you should be able to have convenient virtual lessons.
One of the most important things for convenient digital studying is choosing an appropriate video conferencing platform. Modern video call apps come with a variety of useful features that will be irreplaceable for teachers. Screen sharing will allow showing your students all kinds of materials, from videos and documentaries to PowerPoints and images. Polls and questionnaires can be used for tests and quizzes, as well as receiving feedback. There are many more useful features to explore.