Capturing What Photography Class Looks Like in a Virtual Setting

Ever since school became virtual, creative classes that typically survive through physical experience now have to deal with their art behind screens, and engaging students can be a real struggle.

Every student has a different way of learning and understanding a course. “I always provide or I try to provide videos like screencasts that will show different steps. Also, there are a lot of photos going over different concepts and answering individual questions if anybody has them,” photography teacher Melisa Matthews states. 

“There is a barrier with online learning so a lot of people are not comfortable with talking or turning their cameras on so getting to know everyone is probably the most difficult part,” says Ms. Matthews. Getting kids to contribute in virtual classes can be a struggle for teachers who rely on communication to operate a class.

Since virtual education started, adapting to changes has been vital for success. Turning in assignments, the different software being used, and the lessons themselves are all taught differently. “Changing the different programs we use and allowing more freedom when it comes to different assignments,” she says. “I have changed the type of lessons that I teach instead of whatever is available online so that everyone can access them.” 

Getting students to participate in class is a concern for her. To get students to participate, she engages them by starting conversations that make students feel inclined to be a part of the conversation.

Managing students both virtually and in-person might sound like a struggle, but Ms. Matthews, who prefers in-person classes, says, “Whatever we do in school, I will ensure that students at home get the same experience as the in person kids do.” 

When the pandemic began, many teachers didn’t know who to look to for advice. Miss Matthews didn’t know how to plan her lessons or give the students the same experience they would have in person. Luckily our principal, Mr Sinclair, was there with direction.“[He] has been an awesome help and is always available with answers and providing any guidance that we need during this time,” she acknowledges.

Creative classes during virtual education might be a struggle, but with teachers making sure every student participates and feels comfortable in class, while engaging them in what they are learning, they can make online school quite the dynamic experience.