The Digital Classroom: An In-Depth Guide

Sam Thompson
Sam Thompson
Updated November 24 2021
Young girl attends a virtual classroom
Sam Thompson
Sam Thompson
Updated November 24 2021

As educators, our goal is to prepare our students for what comes next. We lead them to mastery in the subjects we teach as well as improve their ability to think critically, collaborate, explore their creativity, and communicate effectively. In an increasingly digital world, it also means helping them apply these skillsets in the digital space. Higher education and the modern workplace are going remote, so we need to mirror these trends to best prepare our students for the future. The digital classroom is an effective platform for future-proofing our students. 

 

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Intro 

So, who needs a digital classroom? Who’s it for and why is creating a digital classroom important? Well, every student needs it, so every teacher should create a digital classroom. Our students are digital natives. They have grown up in a world that has already been internet-enabled and they have been relying on such devices to learn and play before they stepped into their first physical classroom. 

 

The digital classroom can provide students with the know-how to use their devices and the internet productively. It helps them better utilize the tools at their disposal to learn, communicate, and collaborate. 

 

Though we may think that the digital classroom is only for remote students that are part of virtual academies and online schools, digital classrooms can also be implemented to extend and enhance more traditional, brick-and-mortar learning experiences. 

 

Let’s explore what a digital classroom is, how to create one, and what are the essential features of a successful digital classroom. 

 

digital classroom

 

What is a Digital Classroom? 

A digital classroom is a classroom that uses computers and tablets, the internet, and educational software to enhance student learning. The digital classroom can be an extension of the physical classroom that provides additional opportunities for collaboration and research. The digital classroom can also be a student’s only classroom – virtual classrooms for synchronous instruction and collaboration, VOD for self-paced, anytime learning, and online quizzes and projects for assessment and application. 

 

A digital classroom must utilize technology to encourage and facilitate collaboration, promote self-study and reinforcement, and drive learning discussions in a digital medium. The digital classroom can provide easy access to information resources and forums to discuss class topics. Students can engage with one another in real-time as well as get feedback on their work to easily track their progress. 

 

A major benefit of a digital classroom is that it’s super flexible. It isn’t one set thing and there are endless possibilities in how it can be put together. 

 

 

How to Create a Digital Classroom? 

Before creating a digital classroom, it is important to make sure that your students can participate in a digital classroom. If your school district provides devices such as computers and tablets to your students, then that’s a potentially major hurdle you’ve already overcome. However, if your district does not provide such devices, then you need to be sure that your students have access to the internet and internet-enabled devices. 

 

Once we’re sure that our students can participate in the digital classroom, let’s explore different ways to create it. 

 

Virtual Classrooms and Group Work 

Virtual classrooms are perfect for engaging students in real-time. If your school has an LMS, then you can even look to utilize an LMS virtual classroom. The virtual classroom doesn’t have to be the heart of the digital classroom, but it’s certainly a great place to help students acclimate to a digital learning environment. 

 

The virtual classroom is teacher-led providing face-to-face time between students and teachers. In the virtual classroom, teachers can engage students through a variety of tools such as polling and quizzing, a digital whiteboard, file sharing, and more. Because the teacher is the center of the virtual classroom, the environment is especially comfortable for younger students that don’t yet have the skillsets to work independently or in groups. 

 

For older students, virtual classrooms can be utilized for group projects. They can either be placed in breakout rooms for group work in a contextual virtual class or they can have their own virtual classrooms to arrange group work on their own time. These virtual rooms give students the ability to sharpen their communication and collaboration skills as they would when sitting in a room with their peers. 

 

Digital Classroom

 

Video Courses, Anytime Learning 

The digital classroom provides students with the opportunity to take more control of their learning. It also gives them the ability to interact with class material in a format that is more comfortable and potentially more engaging than a simple worksheet or standard reading assignment.  

 

The digital classroom is often mentioned in the same breath as the flipped classroom. It’s true. The flipped classroom often relies on the creation of the digital classroom.

 

Record video lectures or demonstrations on a specific topic. Students can then watch the video assignments and complete an assessment activity such as an online quiz or an online project.  

 

Many video tools even provide options for adding quiz layers or hotspots to videos to make them interactive. Additionally, teachers can get rich sets of data to help track student progress to ensure students are completing their assignments. 

 

Video Creation Tools 

Video is especially effective for students as they enjoy video as a medium for nearly everything from YouTube to TikTok and everything in between. Video creation and video literacy is a critical skill for students and it’s one that teachers should embrace in the digital classroom. 

 

Students can exercise their creativity by contributing their own videos as projects for the class. They can use capture tools to record a presentation or use their mobile devices to record a video. They can then upload it to a shared space for the teacher and their peers to review and offer feedback. 

 

Having students record videos to demonstrate something or present their work is a great way to enhance their communication skills. The ability to edit and prepare their video may even provide shyer students more confidence in sharing their work. They can get feedback after sharing their video and even work up to presenting in real-time in a virtual classroom or in the physical classroom itself. 

 

Digital classroom

 

5 Essential Features of a Digital Classroom 

Even though there’s no set digital classroom model, we can mostly agree on some of the base requirements for any digital classroom: 

 

1. Virtual Classrooms and Breakout Rooms 

A digital classroom – especially if used for remote only students – can be an isolating place. The classroom is not only a place to develop subject mastery, but it is also a space for students to learn how to collaborate and communicate. Though chat and commenting forums are great for sharing information and even encouraging conversations, students need to have a space for face-to-face instruction and group work. A virtual classroom and breakout rooms provide just that.  

 

2. Video Creation Tools 

Students need a way to express their creative selves. Creativity comes in many forms, but let’s consider video creation for now. Video is everywhere and students interact with it daily on their internet-enabled devices. Provide tools for students to create videos for their class as independent or group projects. Not only is it fun for them, but it also helps them learn valuable skills that are becoming more important in the professional world.   

 

3. Video and File Sharing Platform 

Once your students create their videos or start working on their projects, they need to share them in one central place. You can set up a shared folder in a file management system or utilize more robust tools. The key is for students to be able to easily find the files you are sharing with them and for them to be able to share their work with you and their peers. 

 

4. Feedback and Assessment 

A digital classroom relies heavily on feedback cycles. Digital assessment tools can provide real-time feedback when a quiz is completed and shared work provides spaces such as commenting for a steady stream of feedback. Feedback in the classroom is always important and it’s even more important in the digital classroom as it builds a sense of togetherness even though students may be remote. 

 

5. Data 

Many of the essential features of the digital classroom are matched quite well with the physical classroom. You may do things differently, but they are comparable. However, the digital classroom excels at providing data. From automatically tracking attendance and scoring assessments to providing detailed reports on who watched what or commented that or contributed this, digital classrooms do it all.  

 

Kaltura Virtual Classroom French Datasheet 

 

Kaltura Digital Classroom Solution 

Kaltura education solutions are built for the digital classroom helping hundreds of thousands of students learn through their digital classrooms every day. 

 

We do this by working closely with educational institutions in K-12 and higher education to build education-first tools.  

 

Kaltura video solutions provide an entire ecosystem of video for education:  

  • Virtual Classrooms – Engaging virtual classrooms that provide real-time engagement through live quizzes and polls, directed breakout room experiences, file sharing, digital whiteboards and annotations, collaborative notes, as well as text voice and video chat. The virtual classroom is accessed directly on the web and fully integrates into all major learning management systems. 
  • Video Portal – Whether uploading video or sharing recorded classes, it’s important to have a way to safely share class videos. Public video sharing sites are great, but they don’t provide the level of privacy and control you’ll need when sharing sensitive classroom videos. Kaltura’s video portal provides just the space to create, share, and manage all of your digital classroom’s video content. 
  • Video Creation – Speaking of video content. We need the opportunity to create video. Kaltura offers tools such as Kaltura Capture, lecture capture, express capture to record class lectures and demonstrations then share them through the video portal. Teachers and students alike can then leverage tools such as video paths (choose your own adventure) and hot spots to make videos even more engaging. Teachers can add quizzes to videos to ensure students are not only watching the shared video but understanding the material as well. 
  • Data – Get rich sets of data on everything. Teachers get attendance data, chat history, poll and quiz responses, and even reports on student focus during the virtual classroom. The virtual class can be recorded and shared as VOD. Teachers can then see who watched what video and gain valuable insights from all the shared videos. 

Final Thoughts 

Though the delivery method can be much different, the goals of the digital classroom are the same as those of the physical classroom. Teachers are utilizing a variety of tools and skills to engage students and help them to succeed. The digital classroom helps teachers future-proof students by embracing the tools they will continue to use in their education and professional development. The right tools in the digital classroom will promote student curiosity, encourage student participation and collaboration, provide a forum for feedback and communication, and unlock student creativity. 

Kaltura Virtual Classroom French Datasheet

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