Virtual Fans in Virtual School

The other night, my kids and I were watching the NBA playoffs together, and a few minutes into the game my daughter pointed out the virtual fan screens and asked, “Can we do that?” After a quick Google search, I learned that most of the virtual seats are for season ticket holders, but her excitement over the thought of being a virtual fan sparked an idea.

My children currently go to school on an A/B split. Half of the students attend in-person learning on Mondays and Tuesdays, and then they switch with their at-home peers on Thursdays and Fridays and learn remotely. Wednesdays are reserved for a brief SEL lesson, cleaning, and teacher prep time. For 2/3rds of each learning day, their classroom teachers are leading a live lesson in-class while simultaneously teaching to half of their learners via video conferencing online. 

It has to be both exhausting and incredibly challenging to essentially run two experiences at once. I’ve often wondered what strategies from the traditional experience might best translate into this unique situation. And my daughter’s question brought one to mind: Trashketball.  Could we play Trashketball in a hybrid setting and pipe in remote learners as virtual fans?!?

Trashketball A FUN Review Game of Collaboration

In case you’re not familiar with this review game, Trashketball is played by placing students into groups or teams, and then the entire class is asked a question. Each team collaborates to create an answer, which they then share aloud when all groups have finished discussing. Answers are typically shared on a small whiteboard. If you get the correct answer, someone from your team gets to take a crumpled-up piece of paper and shoot it into the trashcan for team points. 

Some Trashketball games can get pretty involved. Teachers might designate a 1, 2, and 3 point line to add a layer of choice and suspense. Personally, I’ve brought in a nerf hoop before to replace the trashcan as the basket. I like to place that hoop above the projector where I cast videos of crazy fans onto the board as a gimmick to distract the students who are shooting.

It’s a lot of fun!

The Hybrid Version

So imagine learners being placed into teams that consist of both at-school and at-home students. The teacher then would ask a question, and the teams would collaborate via video conferencing and/or Google Docs or Slides, working together towards a final answer. Next, any team who answered the question correctly would (in turns) send an at-school learner to the front to take their shot. 

This strategy allows for peer-to-peer collaboration, it builds comradery and culture across the two learning environments, and it promotes in-class movement while maintaining social distancing. Plus no materials are being shared! Just be sure to place the hoop or wastebasket near the projector, so the at-home learners can live out my daughter’s dream of becoming a virtual fan as they either cheer on or (appropriately) attempt to distract their peers who are trying to score points for their respective team.

PS: You could also do the same thing with a paper football and field goals if football is more your jam!

Above all, this would be so fun, and we all truly need that to continue to be a part of our learners’ experiences! 

About Andrew Easton

Andrew Easton
@EastonA1

Andrew Easton is an educator who advocates for blended and personalized learning as an author, speaker, consultant, blogger, and podcaster. He serves the state of Nebraska as their ESUCC’s Digital Learning Coordinator. In that role, Andrew hosts weekly conversations on The Good Life EDU podcast as a way to promote the latest in digital learning across Nebraska and around the country. 

Andrew is a future author for Dave Burgess Consulting Inc. on the topic of personalized learning. He was PBS’s Digital Innovator of the year for Nebraska in 2016, and in 2020, Andrew was recognized by ISTE’s Professional Learning Network, receiving runner-up honors for the Spotlight Literacy Practices Award.

Follow Andrew on Twitter @EastonA1 and on Instagram @andrew.d.easton. Andrew also blogs at andrewdeaston.com.

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