Let’s take a tour of the VIPKID classroom.
Watch this video for a walkthrough of the Classroom: “Navigating the VIPKID classroom” Please note that this video was made about a year ago and the classroom has changed a lot since then. They moved things around but the basics are the same.
First, there are 2 versions of the classroom that we are seeing now. The one you saw in the interview and mock classes is what we call the old classroom. It has the slides on the left, the student and teacher videos on the right, then the chat box on the far right. This format is used for the interview and demo and sometimes if they are having technical difficulty they will switch you to this version.
This is the new classroom format. The video feeds have been moved to the top. Everything is still there, but moved around.
When you enter the classroom for the first time, it might have a box that says “Allow or Deny.” This is for the Flash settings. Click Allow and Remember. You may also have a box that says, “The website is trying to access your camera and microphone.” Click on “I see” and it will clear off.
Let’s walk through where everything is in the classroom.
Top Line in the old format. I will indicate where it moved to in the new format.
This line lists the Course code, the class name and the student’s name. Remember this when you get in the middle of the class and can’t remember the child’s name! Course codes are discussed in Chapter 8. It’s not always visible in the app but the student’s name will be on their video screen.
The timer is on the top left corner. It counts down to the start time and then up once class time starts. It will continue timing for about 30 minutes after class is over. It will also keep recording during that time if you or the student is still in the classroom. It’s fine to stay in the classroom to leave your feedback. Just keep the camera closed and your mic muted.
We now have a button that says “Start Class” below the timer. When you first enter the classroom, your camera and mic will be off and you will see a page with the lesson objectives on it. At the bottom left of the page you can click on “view slides” to see the slides. They will not actually be in the classroom yet. When you click on “Start Class,” the slides will load and your camera and mic will turn on. Click it about 15 seconds before zero to make sure everything loads correctly and you ready to start teaching exactly at 0.
When you finish teaching, click “Finish class.” DO NOT FINISH CLASS BEFORE 25 minutes! If you do you could be marked as a Teacher No Show and it will be as if you didn’t teach it at all! Even if you are finished with the lesson, extend! Pull out flashcards. Draw pictures, Use a whiteboard for spelling phonics words. Go back to a previous slide. Read a simple book. Play with the AR stickers. Do no hit finish before 25 minutes!
You’ve heard about them but here they are in action. To award a star, click the plus sign and say, “You get a star!” Your student will hear a little chime and the star will show on their screen but not on yours. You may here a little echo of the chime from their speaker. Make sure you award 5 stars in every class! Don’t wait until the end to award them. Do them throughout the class. They are very important to the students and the parents. The kids collect them and can buy games and rewards with them. When you submit feedback, make sure all 5 stars are checked.
I give an award about every other slide: a secondary reward, then a star, secondary, star, etc. By the end of the class, they have 5 stars and 5 or 6 secondary rewards.
Yes, you can take away a star for behavior issues by clicking the minus sign. Try to get them to earn it back and end the class with all 5. In almost 2000 classes, I have taken away a star twice!
Class Info, Student Info, Tips
In the old classroom format, above the teaching slides, you will find a box with 3 tabs: Class info, Student Info, Tips. In the new format they are on the left side of the slides. The lesson objectives, target sentences and vocabulary are listed under class info. These are the main things they want you to focus on for each class. Under Student info you will find details about your student, how many classes they have had total and how many with you, their birthdate (which may or may not be accurate), and previous teacher feedback. Tips has the teacher tips of how to teach the slides. They are moving the tips to this section rather than having them at the bottom of each slide. A
Click here to give your advice on the slides or the classroom.
Click this to leave the classroom. If you have not entered feedback, a popup box will come up asking about that. Just click ok and plan to come back later to enter the feedback.
If you are having any IT problems (lag, can’t hear/see student, slides won’t advance, student can’t hear/see you, etc.) start by hitting the refresh button. It will reload the entire page and often will clear up any problems you may be having.
Click this button and choose another line. That often clears up IT problems if the refresh doesn’t work. If your student is not in the classroom and it’s time to start, try switch lines. They may be on another line.
If refreshing the page or switching lines does not work to solve your problem, click here to contact the firemen. Select the problem and click submit. Type the problem in the chat box. They will come as soon as they can. Keep teaching if you possibly can. I’ve taught classes where I couldn’t see the student or hear them. If they can hear me, we keep going!
If your student is not in the class at 1 minute after class time starts, you can click “Contact Fireman” and select “Can’t see student” and submit. You do not have to contact them for a no show.
FAQ (somewhere near the top right corner)
This opens up another page with frequently asked questions for the classroom. There is a tab there with Chinese phrases that you can copy and paste and put into the chat box for your student.
The classroom should load your slides automatically when you enter for the interview and mock class and for regular classes. In case it doesn’t, follow these steps.
Old Classroom Format: Click on “Docs” on the left side of the area where the slides should be. A new window will pop-up with 4 tabs across the top. Click on “Uploaded by myself” and your slides will be there. If they are not there, click on the 4th tab, “Interactive Lessons” and it should be there. Click Open. If this is a Major Course class, there will only be one set of slides to choose from. If this is a trial class, there several choices for the different levels. You can change levels by choosing a different presentation. The trials class are discussed in detail here.
New Classroom Format: There is a button with “slides” at the bottom of the slides area. Click it and then open. For most classes there will only be one set available.
The clear button is only available in the old format classroom. It’s on the left of the slides. In the new format, they use the interactive controls discussed below. We can draw on the screen and so can the student. Our drawing is in red and theirs is in blue. Use this button to clear the screen of all writing. When you switch to a new slide, all the drawing automatically disappears.
These bars will move if your mic is working. It may show “Audio not working” if your mic is muted or the room is very quiet and you are not speaking. In the old classroom they are white bars at the bottom left. In the new format classroom they are in the same window as your video and are green when you speak.
The Interactive Classroom
In early 2018, Level 1 classes were changed to Interactive lessons. Shortly after, level 2 classes were changed to be interactive. In the Interactive lessons, the students and teachers can move things around on the screen to help teach the lesson. The kids love them! All Level 1 and 2 students are now using the interactive lessons.
There should be reading material on the portal to show you how the interactive slides work but I will go through them here.
There are different controls at the bottom of the screen for the interactive classroom. Many of our upper level lessons are still the old style of static slides where nothing moves around but they will load into the classroom with these controls at the bottom of the screen.
- Slide number – a box on the bottom left side that shows what slide you are on and how many slides there are like this: 6/26. That shows that you are on slide 6 out of 26 slides. The space next to that allows you to type in a slide number and jump to that slide.
- Reward slide button – this button takes you back to the reward slide from wherever you are. It is a red and yellow gift box in a class with an interactive reward. It then changes to a back arrow that will take you back to the slide you were on.
- Mouse control – turns the students mouse off. This is handy for scribblers or those who just want to play with the interactive pics or draw.
- Eraser – when you click the erase button you can now select any line and it turns green. Click to erase it. You can erase as many as you want. You have to click on the eraser again to change back to drawing.
- Reset – erases all drawing and moves all the slide elements back to where they were at the beginning.
- Timer (only in some classes) simple countdown timer that you can set for 15, 30, or 60 seconds. It is not shown in the screenshot above.
Drawing on the Slides
The large block is where the slides will appear. You can draw on them. Draw by left click and hold on your mouse. Keep in mind that the student cannot see your cursor showing where your mouse is. If you want to draw attention to something you have to draw the line. They also cannot see your line until you release the click on your mouse. That is handy for circling the next thing and holding the click until they are ready. When you go to a new slide, it automatically erases all drawing.
In an interactive classroom, use the buttons at the bottom right of the line to erase a line or reset the entire slide. In the old classroom, once you go to a new slide the drawing disappears forever. In the new interactive classroom, if you go back to a slide that you drew on, the drawing will still be there.
To move to the next slide, there are small black or blue arrows on either side of the slide about half way up. Click on the right arrow to move forward and the left arrow to move back.
If your student is brand new you will have to teach them to draw on the screen. Do this by showing a mouse and show to click. If it says they are on a mobile device, show your tablet or phone and you drawing on the screen. You can also show your whiteboard as the screen.
The screenshot below is of one of the classes. It shows Andy’s drawing of me in blue! Notice the small arrows on the sides to move back and forth in the slides.
In the old classroom format, the student video is to the right of the slides in the top box. In the new classroom format it is above the slides on the left. If they are not int he classroom yet it will say “Andy offline.” When they enter the classroom, their name will appear. You may be able to hear them but you won’t see them until you hit the “Start Class” button.
This is where your video will appear. In the old classroom, hover over it to bring up 2 buttons, “Open Camera” and “Settings.” Click settings to bring up the settings for volume, choosing the correct mic, camera and to test the sound. See “Test the Tech stuff” below.
In the new classroom there are several items.
- REC – On the top line, you see REC which means it is recording me. It records from the time the student enters the class or you hit the “Start Class” button. It continues to record even after you hit “Finish Class.”
- Mic indicator – If the lines turn green, it is picking up your mic.
- Ping meter – Ping is the amount of interference you have on your internet connection. Mine is shown at 86. You want this to be below 100.
- Swap screens – The 2 squares allows you to swap your video and the slides and make your video bigger. This is handy when you want them to see your mouth movement or a prop.
- Mic – turns your mic off or on. When you enter the classroom, it should be set to mute but check to make sure before you blow your nose or yell at the kids!
- Camera – turns your camera on or off. When you hit “Start Class” it will turn your mic and camera on.
- Settings – click this to access the settings. Make sure that it has your correct mic and camera chosen. You can turn your volume up on your mic. Make sure the headset itself is not muted. Often, I will go into the classroom and it has switched my camera to another camera feed, so check that before you hit “Start Class” to make sure your camera is working. You can also test your speaker by playing some music.
AR stickers are only available in the new classroom format. lick on the little gift box in the bottom right of your video feed to bring up the AR stickers. Click on one to download it (takes a few seconds the first time you download it) and then it will show up on your screen. If your student is using a computer (not a tablet), you can also put AR stickers on them! So fun!
The chat box is where you can type messages to your student, parents, or the Firemen. Keep in mind that everyone can see what is typed here. This is really useful for older students to type answers, spell words, or just chat. You can introduce new words that are not in the lesson. If your student is on a computer they can type back to you. If they are on an iPad, they can see what you type but cannot type back to you.
They recently added a thumbs up button to the chat box. Click it then several pictures will appear that you can send your student: Perfect. Good job. Good reading, etc.
Test the Tech Stuff
- If the classroom won’t load, check to make your Flash player is up to date at http://www.adobe.com.
- If you have a popup blocker, disable it.
- Check if your mic on your headset is muted.
- Click on settings in the box where your video should be. There is a drop down menu on the mic tab. Make sure it has your headset mic selected, not the communication or computer mic. Check the camera tab as well to make sure it has the correct camera selected. On the speaker tab, click play and it will play music. If you don’t hear it through your headphones but through your computer speakers then something is wrong.
- Close the settings box and right click on the slides area (old classroom only). Choose settings. This brings up the Flash settings. Click on the different tabs and make sure that they all have the correct headset, speakers and camera chosen. The new classroom format does not allow you to access these settings.
- Go into your computer settings and find your audio settings. The mic will be listed under recording devices on a windows computer. Make sure the headphones are chosen there for the mic and the speakers. On a Mac it will have input (mic) and output (speaker).
All 3 of these settings have to agree for it to work right. Often if you reboot the computer with the headphones plugged in it will automatically detect them and start working right.