No doubt about it: learning a foreign language requires face-to-face interaction. Is it then at all possible to conduct lessons exclusively online? This question was quickly answered with a “yes” last year. What we could hardly imagine before quickly became the norm. My German courses now only take place online. Since then, it is no longer necessary to travel to German classes. Instead, the students sit comfortably in their living room with a cup of tea or a cocktail.
The first benefit we discovered in class was the chat function. During the lesson, I type in what those present are saying. The students can read along and review the lesson afterwards.
Virtual classrooms have improved extremely in the past year: whiteboards allow students to share and instructors to upload presentations; the voting function can be used to quickly create a poll of opinions; and participants can meet in breakout rooms to share ideas in small groups.
But there are always two sides to a coin. One challenge in online teaching is the lack of movement and often the shorter concentration span. For this, I incorporate movement questions and also interactive games. This gets the brain into new oscillations. And regular breaks are also very important. We need breaks, movement and drinks in class.
Last but not least, a discovery for me: the learning platform with which I connect the virtual classroom. I add small exercises and quizzes to the learning platform that supplement the subject matter.
The Corona pandemic presented us with many challenges last year – rapid digitization has probably emerged as one of the biggest successes from it. I’m curious to see how virtual learning will continue after Corona. For me, it means that I can teach anywhere in the world, regardless of location. Only the time difference still sets limits.