Ask HN: How can I make classes taught over Zoom fun?

9 points | by closetkantian 12 days ago


  • brudgers 12 days ago
    I hear Call of Duty is a fun multiplayer game.

    That's what you are competing with.

    Either the subject matter content is engaging or the students would rather be somewhere else.

    Like on their phones.

    Boil it down to the basics and put in the hard work to make the content interesting.

    There is not a shortcut.

    Good luck.

    • mdrzn 12 days ago
      I'd pick something that you would do if you were in the same room IRL.

      Or choose from here:

      • tmaly 12 days ago
        I had this same challenge teaching Scratch programming over Zoom during the 2020 pandemic.

        I found one lady that had some good videos on techniques.

        Here are the two I found most useful.

        I would ask a question like, which character should we choose for the program. Kids loved being able to offer their opinion. Engagement was through the roof.

        The other thing I did was add a little humor into anything I was presenting on the screen. Screens full of text were a turnoff. But when I had funny but related pictures and videos, that really increased retention of the material.

        • victorhn 12 days ago
          Do you have the links for the lady's videos?
          • tmaly 9 days ago
            I might, I’ll dig through my notes and get back to you.
        • brian_spiering 12 days ago
          I used breakout rooms for small group activities. The activities were mostly discussion and solving problems. I would hop from room to room to help out (and make sure student were on task). After, I would bring all these student back together and randomly call on a student to present.

          I used a flipped classroom with video lectures created by someone else so these breakout room activities could be over 50% of the time.

          • AnimalMuppet 12 days ago
            You've got, essentially, a proscenium. You can have things surprisingly come on-scene that wouldn't have the same element of surprise in a room, because the thing would be obviously already in the room.

            It's going to take a lot of creativity to figure out what to do with that, though...

            • infinitone 11 days ago
              Try remote learning teachers use it to make learning games and share their screen. And there's already lots of good content on it.
              • achempion 12 days ago
                Make sure you have basics right: good sound, lightning and upgraded camera (or phone connected as a webcam).

                Regarding activities, there are bunch of online games like skribbl, geoguessr, song guesser and others.

                • JoeyBananas 12 days ago
                  ask open ended questions and aggressively try to get the class to participate.

                  if you are a math instructor, honestly it would be better if you don't try to make it "interesting"

                  • hnthrowaway0315 12 days ago
                    I agree with this. Force participation always forces me to focus and actually think, which albeit a bit painful but is what I'm supposed to do (to spend the $$).
                  • fat_cantor 12 days ago
                    it's not for everyone, but an interactive quiz with obviously unfair choices can get students to talk. For example,


                    • Graffur 12 days ago
                      Quizzes where people just have to enter into the chat, short breaks to reenergise