Bringing your studio into the virtual world during Covid-19
By Erin Pride
I want to start by saying my heart goes out to you at this time with the spread of Covid-19. I have been coaching a lot of dance educators on 1:1 calls, group Zoom masterclasses, and private messages, and understand this isn’t an easy thing for anyone to go through.
With everything that is happening, we need to be both prepared and supported.
Today, I want to share with you how to take your dance classes and rehearsals online. This may totally be out of your comfort zone, and that is ok! You can do this, we can do this together.
A little about my online teaching experience...
I have been teaching part of my curriculum online for the past 3 years...
What does that mean?
- I communicate virtually with my students and parents using the Band App.
- My student's assignments are delivered virtually using Google classroom and Google drive.
- We have the habit of uploading ALL of our class exercises, combo, and rehearsal videos to the Band app.
Honestly, the transition wasn't difficult for me because I already used what was in place, but I know for many this is not the case. Today, I will be sharing all you need to know about taking your dance classes online.
Recently I did a Facebook live with Audra Allen inside of my membership program Dance Boss University. Audra is amazing, and she's been teaching virtually for over a year.
Together we went live and shared different platforms that you can successfully use to transition your teaching online.
We did the pros and cons of each, and we talked about mapping out a plan for success. One of the most important things in this entire process is mapping out a plan with the least amount of steps to ensure your parents and students are successful during this transition.
I want to share with you what I believe to be the first step when transitioning to an online setting.
Choosing Your Virtual Platform(s):
When taking your studio/dance classes into a virtual setting you must find a platform(s) to deliver instruction, give assignments, communicate, and give feedback to your students.
Here are a few of Audra and my favs...
Pros: The Band app is a free app, available on both Android and iOS. The Band app is essentially an amazing way for educators to communicate to their students and parents because there is a community board, you can upload videos, files, schedules, a to-do list, go live, etc. You can set up different channels for different classes, give assignments, etc. And It has such a big drive/capacity for videos and files.
Cons: You can stream live classes, but you won't be able to see your students. If you are a teacher who wants to see your students, this is not an option for live teaching. Also, I have found that videos longer than 30 minutes may no upload, you would then have to cut videos in half.
Zoom is our favorite for live streaming by far!
Pros: Zoom is very similar to Skype but has way more features. It is free for up to 40 minutes if you want extended time the cost is about $15 per month. K-12 educators can use Zoom for free. You also have the capacity to record your classes, which is great because you can share it with your students later. Zoom is super easy to set up.
Cons: High-speed internet needed, call your internet provider and upgrade.
Google anything at this point is honestly my favorite as I feel like I become an organizational wizard when using the programs, plus it’s all in one place, on one account!!
Pros: Google Classroom is SECURE, which means people can't share your classes or material. On this platform, you can segment classes, upload video directly, give assignments, questionnaires, etc. There is a chat feature between students, and between students and staff. Many public schools already use google classroom, so chances are your students may be already familiar with it.
Con’s: Set up, but patience can fix that.
4. Google Drive
Pro’s: Amazing amount of storage, sharing capability, amazing organization capabilities.
Con’s: Security, internet speed.
Now I am not even going to go into Facebook or Youtube as these platforms can ban your music, and you can not see your students. I highly suggest using Zoom for live classes.
The takeaway - there are many options and apps out there. Don’t get overwhelmed, take it slow, choose what you can handle right now, and modify/ improve as you go.
I am currently offering a free coaching session to help dance educators set up their online learning system. Click here to schedule your time.
Want to learn more about teaching your classes online during Covid-19? Click Here. To listen to my latest episode of the Dance Boss Podcast: COVID-19 Prep: How to Take Classes and Rehearsals Online with Audra Allen.
Erin is your personal dance education coach. A Jersey girl all the way, she graduated from Montclair State University with a B.F.A. in Dance and received her Masters in Dance Education from New York University. Erin is a dance classroom expert and specializes in lesson planning, unit plan design, and curriculum creation, as well as classroom management strategies. She has over a decade of experience teaching, writing curriculum, and developing programming. Erin is the Director of a High School Dance Program in New Jersey, and the Host of the Dance Boss Podcast. To learn more about Erin visit erindpride.com, and you can hang out with Erin on Instagram and Facebook.