Engaging Lectures Using Technology

By Dr. Paul Fishell

Great lecturers create comfortable learning environments, present students with varied forms of learning material, and emphasize key points during lecture. In this article, techniques in ZOOM will be discussed on creating environment, presenting learning materials, and emphasizing key points of the lecture.

Creating a Good Classroom Environment

Lecture should be comfortable for the speaker and listeners. Hunkering over the computer creates tension for the lecturer and the listener. Moving away from the hunkering position lowers tension on the speaker. One’s hardware can allow the teacher to relax more when lecturing.

Within ZOOM, options exist to avoid headphones. Wired headphones puts the lecturer on a leash and dehumanizes the lecturer. One way to avoid feedback is to use speakers or microphones not on the same device. One can situate a directional microphone between the speakers and lecturer. Or, a Bluetooth may be synced to computer or a phone with meeting audio.

Another way to free up the lecturer is to positioned webcam on a music stand. Then, it can be raised, lowered, or pan the office of the lecturer. Having a portable camera allows the lecturer to write on a physical whiteboard with a clear view of the whiteboard. By using a webcam, the teacher is now teaching like Mr. Rodgers. Mr. Rodgers taught his students while moving about his room, which happened to have a camera. Whether standing or walking about, a lecturer in ZOOM may now speak with their hands and use body language. The portable camera allows the lecturer to create online an environment similar to traditional classrooms.

Curriculum Presentation

ZOOM allows the teacher to share one’s own desktop. Whatever slides a teacher has prepared may be shared. Presentation slides are naturally formatted for topical outlines. Bulleted slides require students to listen for information to ‘fill in’ the outlines. Slides guide the lecture rather than give the lecture. Slides that contain all the information negates the need for the student to listen.

Change is good. Change creates mini-learning curves. Learning curves studies show