Technology can pave the way to interactive and engaged virtual classrooms. “Asynchronous interactive learning” takes place with the right set of tools that induce interactivity in self-paced learning.
Recommended tools include:
Discussion forums in any Learning Management Systems are a good way for students to participate and reflect on their own experience. It is oftentimes considered the platform for learners whose style is not suited for oral communication, especially in an in-person setting. A discussion forum can also stage asynchronous debates. As an authentic form of assessing learning on an online platform, this methodology has been studied as an effective way of nurturing creative thinking skills.
Asynchronous interactivity is possible, thanks to the collaborative features of the G Suite for Education tools. These tools are available to the instructor and the student who can use them to collaborate in an online activity, through the comment, share, edit, explore, view, link, etc. buttons. A shift from an offline Word or Pages file will instantly transform an online work to a student centric and collaborative activity in no time.
To collaborate using Google Docs, the activity suggested here is useful in both synchronous and asynchronous learning classrooms. As a tool, Google Docs allows peer to peer evaluation of a student’s post, reflection or research.
To begin, open Google Docs from the G Suite app. Next, create teams of 2-3 students, in which each student is given a chance to comment and use the explore and hyperlinks functions to evaluate another student’s work. Peruse over the literature or watch tutorials to know more.
Google Slides is one of those tools that works best in both synchronous and asynchronous environments. Collaboration using Google Slides is possible through small groups of 2-3 in which each group is assigned some slides to work on in response to a given question or to follow a set of instructions. The outcome of this collaboration is a master Slide, which teams present parts of or segments to contribute to that single presentation.
In order to collaborate using Slides, open Slides from the G Suite application. Be sure to write down 1 or 2 essential questions or instructions on the first slide. Create teams of 2 to 3 or more students. The total number of Slides of the final presentation should equal the number of teams.
In a synchronous class, each team answers the essential questions in real time. On the other hand, asynchronous sessions encourage teams to view the other teams’ slides on their own preferred time and pace. Both modalities are able to build one single presentation collaboratively. They also equip the students with team player and collaboration skills!
With Slides, there is no turning back to Powerpoint again!
For tutorials, read 6 Ideas for Student Projects Using Google Docs, Slides, and Forms or watch How to Make Google Slides Projects with Students