Still doing the distance teaching thing? Why not plop yourself into an interactive “Virtual Living Room” to offer your students a fun visual dashboard with links to all of the resources they might ever need for your class!
Saw this concept floating around a few days ago on Twitter, and noticed a bunch of educators pulling together creative “virtual” classrooms and living rooms, tricked out with reading lists and all sorts of cool little Easter eggs to help introduce the world to how they’re keeping sane in this time away from school. This first one incorporated a variation of the Netflix inspired distance learning templates I created to help students see what sort of “binge learning” they would be up to in the week ahead:
— George Janeteas (@GJaneteas) May 8, 2020
Or this one, which immediately caught my eye thanks to one of the titles it featured so prominently on the digital book shelf:
— Alison Franz (@alisonmfranz) May 9, 2020
I really dug the laid back vibe of this one, which showed off my buddy Jason’s reading list (and his love of Star Wars):
Looks great! pic.twitter.com/YCsahmTSo3
— Jason “Stuck in the” Howse (@MrHExperience) May 9, 2020
And this one from the #PD4UandMe Twitter chat trio even offered a rundown of the day’s agenda:
— ᑭᗩᗰ ᕼᑌᗷᒪᗴᖇ 🔜#2020utc (@specialtechie) May 9, 2020
Immediately I thought this could become a really clever way to provide students (or teachers) a sort of “one stop shop” where folks could simply click on the images in the slideshow to take themselves to just about any web-based resource you’d like to share their way. And all you’ll need to make this magic happen is a blank Google Slides presentation!
For the sample living room scene I created, you’ll find links to:
- Google Drive icon (top left) – links to the latest short story we’re reading as a class
- Google Sheets icon – takes students to a digital sign-up sheet for upcoming events
- Zoom icon – takes students to your password-protected office hour Zoom room
- Flipgrid icon – directs students to your password-protected video discussion thread
- White book – links to Amazon so students know which book we’re reading
- Football – directs to the NFL Draft inspired templates I created
- Shield icon – takes students to our school website & class discussion forums
- Yoga mat – links to a video about doing #30Days100Burpees (my latest hobby)
- Mask – takes you to a Pandemic inspired digital escape room
- EDflix TV image – redirects to the Netflix inspired template I created
- EDrenaline Rush icon – sends users to my website
- Running sneakers – sends users to the training plan I’m using for my next marathon
You’re welcome to make any changes you’d like! Swap out background photos (I love using free images from www.Pexels.com), icons, Bitmoji, screenshots of actual classroom posters, textbooks or other digital resources — you name it. Once you get the hang for dropping images* onto the background of your choice and layering items to help the scene feel a bit more authentic, there’s really no limit to what you can do.
*Note: to make your life easier, I recommend using images that are .png and not .jpg — since they’ll have a transparent background. If you’re using Google to search for images or logos, make sure to include the word “transparent” in your search. If you’re screenshotting templates, simply resize the images directly inside of Google Slides and crop as necessary to fit your scene.
Here’s what my good friend Matt Levy has in store for his Maryland high school social studies students in case they’ll be looking at a digital return to school.
Note: After sharing my template, I did some cyber sleuthing and found a pretty thorough YouTube tutorial on how to put these suckers together courtesy of a super talented third grade teacher named Katherine Panczer. If you need additional support on how to create these bad boys, it’s an excellent resource. Thanks likewise to Twitter user Ms. Badovinac for pointing to this link!
— Ms.Badovinac (@BadovinacL) May 7, 2020