A virtual classroom is an online learning environment that allows for live interaction between the tutor and the learners as they are participating in learning activities.
In other words, the virtual classroom is a shared online space where the learners and the tutor work together simultaneously. Usually, these interactions take place through video conferencing. The participants have tools to present learning content in different formats, as well as to implement collaborative and individual activities. In this type of interaction, the teacher has the particularly important role of the moderator who guides the learning process and supports group activities and discussions.
The most common tools you can find in a virtual classroom are:
- Video conferencing
- Online whiteboard for real-time collaboration
- Instant messaging tool
- Participation controls
- Breakout rooms
Although teaching and learning in a virtual classroom provide an experience similar to the physical one, it requires new pedagogical approaches and a redesign of the instructional model that includes the following characteristics:
- Virtual Classroom’s high Interactivity
- Collaborative Learning
- Student-Centered Instruction
- Variety of Content Presentation and Learning Activities
- Psychologically Safe Environment
- Positive and Constructive Feedback
Few benefits of virtual classroom include,
- Access to coursework from anywhere at any time
- Combination of structure and freedom
- Effective time management
- Expanded world view
- Asynchronous discussions with classmates
- Immediate feedback on tests
- Sharpened digital skills
However, though virtual classrooms have taken a greater pace in current education scenario, nothing can replace the conventional classroom educational system where the child is in full care, concern, attention of the dedicated teachers. Sharing and exchanging emotions, explaining experiments, clarifying doubts and the little moments of joy and memories shared among friends and teachers during intervals while in regular classrooms can never be replaced by virtual classrooms.