Connecting Learning to the Real World – Part 4

In this series, we have been exploring how teachers can use technology to facilitate meaningful, real-world experiences for their students. In this final blogpost, we will focus on virtual connections.

Best Practices May 16, 2024

In this series, we have been exploring how teachers can use technology to facilitate meaningful, real-world experiences for their students. In this final blogpost, we will focus on virtual connections. These experiences can help students gain valuable perspectives from others and enhance their understanding of the world without leaving the classroom. Virtual connections can be organized with a partner classroom, with community organizations, and with guest speakers, for example. Here are a few tips to help you facilitate successful virtual connections: 

  1. 1. Find a partner class or guest speaker: To connect with other students in a partner class, search Adventist Teacher Connect and email potential teachers from the database. To invite guest speakers, search local community organizations, non-profit organizations, museums, or environmental groups. Also, consider inviting experts from various fields, such as scientists, or authors to connect virtually with your classroom. 
  • 2. Use a communication tool that you are comfortable with: Use a tool that works for you, whether Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, WhatsApp video, or any other tool. If possible, conduct a test run with the technology to ensure everything works smoothly when the connection is made. If time zones are a challenge, consider sending/receiving video messages. 
  • 3. Plan and communicate with your partner teacher or guest speaker: Communicate with your partner teacher or guest speaker to schedule a mutually convenient time. Once a connection time has been confirmed, ensure that everyone is aware of the format, time, and duration of the connection. If you plan a virtual connection with another classroom, consider activities that cater to the interests of both groups of students. Share the meeting information with students and create excitement about the upcoming event. Consider sending the guest speaker or partner teacher a welcome message, introducing your students, and discussing your objectives for the virtual connection.
  • 4. Decide on a plan of action for the virtual connection: Before the virtual connection, agree on the topic for discussion, the format of the presentation and the length. Prepare a plan of action that addresses the roles and responsibilities of all parties involved. If you are working with a partner class, ensure the activities or questions align with their goals as well. Consider how your class will follow up on the discussion, such as reflection activities or additional research.
  • 5. Encourage engagement and participation: Distribute responsibilities among your students (greeter, interviewer, technology assistant, etc.). Encourage your students to listen carefully, engage actively, ask questions, and share their perspectives during the virtual connection. Have open-ended questions ready before hand to ask your partner class or guest speaker, and a specific order for the questions. Set clear expectations for communication with your students, emphasizing respect, empathy, and cultural sensitivity. 
  • 6. Reflect and evaluate: After the virtual connection, take some time to reflect on the experience. What went well? What could be improved? What did you learn from this experience? What did your students learn? Did you meet the objectives? Use this process to refine your steps and improve your next virtual connection.

Download the free teacher guide on Adventist Teacher Connect for activity ideas to conduct during virtual connections, student roles, and more. Discover new ways to enhance your virtual connections and create a more engaging and enriching learning experience for your students. 


Paola Oudri

Paola Franco-Oudri, MAT, is Associate Director for the Adventist Learning Community of the North American Division. She has worked as an elementary teacher and has a passion for Adventist Education. Her goal is to inspire a love for learning and a love for Jesus in young people.

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