While taking an online class, the students often turn off their cameras. Although they cannot be forced but with experimentation and persistence they can be encouraged to turn their cameras on.
Build Relationships- Trust…both teacher to student and student to student. Students who feel safe and cared for will be more comfortable having their camera on.
Survey Students- Conduct a survey, individually or in a Google form, and ask as to what keeps them from turning their cameras on and what makes them comfortable. Once you know the reason, you can collaborate with them to work towards removing those barriers.
Use Icebreakers- You could try playful community building activities that encourage camera use. For example, you could ask them to bring a large yellow thing in the house and show it on camera.
Play Games- Certain games like Rock, paper, Scissors, pictionary and charades generally work in a remote class. More age appropriate options can be searched on the internet.
Visually vote or share understanding- You could ask students to vote or share understanding of a topic with their thumbs up or down or you could ask students to name a few students they would like to ‘see’ or be in the breakout room with.
Be Empathetic- Share your experience when you yourself did not feel like being on camera and then how you prepared yourself. Such sharing brings out your humanness.
ZOOM TIPS TO ENCOURAGE CAMERA USE
Be in class 5 minutes before and admit all students one by one. This way you can also check about the camera use individually. Use the private chat feature to coax the student to turn the camera on. In case the student feels uncomfortable due to their home environment, they can use Zoom virtual background.
INSTRUCTIONAL TIPS TO ENCOURAGE CAMERA USE
Brainstorm with your class as to when it is fine to have the camera off and when best to use it. This will provide them predictability and autonomy. Allow them to show only a part of their body or space on camera as some could be camera shy. Camera usage can be added as a rubric. At the beginning of the lesson or unit set usage of the camera as a relevant objective. Allow the student to submit pre-recorded video to demonstrate a skill or objective.