Virtual Classrooms

Fads and fashions come and go..and sometimes return again, and I’m not talking about scrunchies. Hackey sacks from the 80’s returned again in the 90’s and are now popular again at my school.

You know what else has made a huge comeback? The simple act of embedding a link into a document, and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out the Bitmoji Craze for Educators group on Facebook that has attracted over 35,000 members in just 3 weeks. We are seeing a boom in virtual classrooms, or Netflix home screens being converted into interactive resources for students.

If you’ve embedded a link in a digital hyperdoc you can create these. If you’ve made web quests, you can create these. If you’ve created a QR code, you can create these. If you embed links into your presentation slides when you present at conferences, you can create these.

My social media feed has been bombarded with teachers sharing their creations online and it has inspired others to join in, and I have to admit, it’s made me want to go back to some older creations and make them more engaging for my students. I wonder if being away from our classrooms makes us yearn to be there, even if it’s in a virtual sense.

Example #1: The Virtual Classroom

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This example from Karla Duff is a good example of what I’ve seen online. Here Karla has added a photograph of her classroom to a google slide and added frames around individual objects in the room. She has added a url link to each of those objects so that when she shares this as a pdf, each object, when tapped, will take students to a resource. These links could be anything online – examples include a worksheet in your google drive, a playlist on Spotify or a TED talk on You Tube.

I’ve done the same with this blog post. Tap the image above and it will take you to Karla’s virtual classroom.

Tap the image below and it will take you to Jessica Matheson‘s virtual health classroom. Which each of the examples shared you can make a copy and edit them to suit your needs.

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Here’s another example of a virtual health classroom, this time from Erica Yost.

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Creating these is easy and you can find so many awesome tutorials on YouTube. Here’s an example that shows you just how simple these are to create in Google slides.

But Google slides aren’t the only way (even if they are the most popular). Regular readers of this blog will know that I’m a big fan of Canva, and their Canva Teachers Community group on Facebook shared this tutorial.

If you don’t already have your own avatar/bitmoji, you can get yours here.

Example #2: The Netflix-style 

While the virtual classroom is all the rage, the Neflix/Bookflix idea has been around for a while, and is something that I’ve played around with in the past. This tweet from Kings Langley School Library shares their fantastic Bookflix idea which is a Powerpoint slide on a loop. Here is the link to their resource!

The #PhysEd community have adapted this idea to include links to workout videos and other online resources with THIS being the best example I could find, and oh my goodness doesn’t it look awesome! Miss Wiggin shared this on Twitter. Tap the image to see her resource as there’s so much more to see.

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Did you know that you can create your own version of the Netflix logo using this simple generator?

Example #3: The Starbucks-style

There really is no limit to these creations. Check out this Starbooks idea from Rebecca Hambright. Tap the image to visit the template!

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If the thought of creating these images is a little too daunting, then why not keep it simple? At the end of the day, these interactive slides/PDFs send your students in the direction of great resources. This simpler, but equally as effective, interactive image is from Kim Ohara-Borowski.

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Here’s my #PhysEd ‘Brain & Exercise Choice Board’


And there’s more…

LaDonda Porter used a similar concept to embed links into her Fitness Monopoly Board.

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And check out what Rachel Hervey created! Check the thread for tutorials on how to make an animated banner. Really there is no limit to what you can do once you grasp the basics!

Talking of graphics embedded with links, this image is popular among the #PhysEd crew and is a great way to share many links in a simple document. And guess what? Tap the image, created by Spencer Barfuss, and you can access the Twitter accounts of the people on his list.


Finally, here is an example from Joslyn Hunscher-Young who collated many of the outstanding social justice resources being shared and added them to her interactive PDF. Again, click the image to access and download the document.

social pdf

One final comment from me – if you are sharing the work of others, or are personalizing their work to better suit the needs of your students, it is still an expectation that you acknowledge that. Attribute the work to the original creator with a thank you. I reached out to everyone highlighted in this blog post to ensure that they were happy with me sharing their outstanding creations.

Have you created your own virtual classroom or something similar? Feel free to share it and tag #slowchathealth so our blog readers will see it.

Finally, this book from Holly Clarke comes highly recommended if you are looking for engaging ways to take your Google Classroom to the next level.

Other posts that you might like include:

#Summerreads 2020: See what I lined up for my summer reading, AND check out an amazing list of reading inspiration. There is something in this post for everyone.

Social Justice Podcasts: If you are looking for podcasts to broaden your knowledge on all things social/racial justice then you’ll appreciate this review of my top 10 recommendations.

17 thoughts on “Virtual Classrooms

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  3. Deana Leahy

    Just wondering Andrew if any of the different pages that you have seen – have any actually explicitly endeavoured to teach about COVID-19? or shaped content based on how kids everyday lives may have changed in lockdown /because of COVID-19? Just trying to think about how we use tech in health ed and what the transition to the use of different platforms is driven by. With thanks, Deana


    1. Hi Deana, I’ve not seen an example like that, but I do like where you are going with that. You could easily have a virtual COVID-19 page that had links to statistics and local data, educational resources about staying safe, and perhaps relevant news articles for students to access. Teachers could also consider having students make their own COVID-19 advocacy page and populate the resource with peer-to-peer content. If you or your students do create something I’d love to see it!


      1. Deana Leahy

        Thanks for getting back to me Andy – I appreciate it. I will be sure to share anything that I come by – it might be something I get my students to do. Thanks heaps again, Deana


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