Technology has developed in amazing ways in the past two decades. It has turned the internet into one of the most significant tools of everyday life. We use the internet to make purchases, pay bills, and meet new people through the numerous social networks made available to us. We can even use it to learn a new language.In this article, I will discuss some of the advantages that our Virtual Education has to offer and compare our virtual classroom with the typical, face-to-face classroom setting.
Having taught the Hebrew language both online and in conventional, face-to-face classrooms, I must admit that the virtual Hebrew classroom has some significant advantages. Here at Lingolearn, we use WebEx for our teaching platform. WebEx allows me, as a teacher, to transfer the learning material to the students, sitting in front of their computer screen in a land far, far away, in an easy and user-friendly way.
This is particularly true regarding the technological means I can use. Our virtual classroom allows us to implement exercises, pictures, videos, or full presentations that are crucial supplements while teaching a language. Today’s technology and the virtual classroom we use at Lingolearn allow me to teach with ease. But as simple as it might sound, the computer is, unfortunately, not always available. For example, in the Jewish Congregation classrooms in Copenhagen, where I teach face-to-face Hebrew, the computer is not available and signing up for one of the courses that do not involve online teaching requires pre order and spending valuable time on bureaucracy.
As a teacher, I don’t have the time or the motivation to get involved with this kind of procedure. That is why I tend to just give up on any kind of material that requires a computer. There are better equipped classrooms with computers, and even a projectors, as integral parts of the classroom, but turning the computer on and connecting it to the projector can take a while (especially to a technology novice like myself). This results in a major delay to the start of class, let alone the students’ loss of motivation (which is critically important to have when learning a new language). At Lingolearn, the computer is already on when the lesson starts and all I have to do is to share the right file on the platform (a relatively easy task which takes even a novice like me less than a minute to perform).
Today’s advanced technology (such as the broadband speed) allows the student and me to see each other through a sharp, streaming video picture that does not affect the quality of the lesson. Growing up in the 1980’s, my first broadband speed ran at 56.6 KBps, and I thought it was a marvel to have. Nowadays, the average broadband speed is fast enough to maintain quality streaming video throughout the lesson without interfering with the connection between the teacher and the student. So, just like the face-to-face classroom, the interaction between the student and the teacher remains live and direct throughout the entire lesson. This is why I recommend for the students I teach to turn on their camera so I can see them just like they see me. This more personal interaction not only helps the student to better understand me and the learning material, but also helps me to understand the student and the student’s reactions and to better tailor the approach and learning material to the student’s abilities.
An additional advantage that might not affect the lesson quality but is still important enough to mention is the environmental aspect. The amount of pages I need to copy in order to prepare for face-to face lessons is grand, almost near that of the amount of paper that gets thrown out at the end of every live lesson. I always hate to throw out so much paper. Luckily, all of the material taught over the internet remains on the internet or is saved on the student’s computer. The homework I give at the end of every lesson can be completed right on the computer and I receive it back easily through e-mail.
LingoLearn is an online Hebrew school that offers beginners level Hebrew courses, as well as intermediate and advanced level courses. Learn Hebrew with our experienced teachers and excellent learning materials, in a state of the art virtual classroom!