As we are staring the one year anniversary of the COVID-pandemic in the face, this month’s Brilliant Activities for Birth Educators post once again focuses on ideas and tools that the virtual childbirth educator can use in their online classroom. Today I will share some benefits of using a “virtual background” in your online teaching platform and provide you will some templates that you are free to use and modify to suit your purposes. To browse all the Brilliant Activities for Birth Educators, click here.
Virtual learning is still going strong as vaccine roll-outs continue to gain momentum all over the world. Perinatal educators continue to offer classes that inform and engage families as they prepare for labor, birth and early parenting. Making a virtual classroom a fun place to learn can include something easy and passive as a useful or interesting virtual background for your online learning platform, such as Zoom, Webex, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams and others. In a previous Brilliant Activities for Birth Educators post, I have talked about using a virtual background when discussing about the operating room when a cesarean delivery has to occur.
Today I want to share a simple idea to guide your families and provide information while you are facilitating a class. Putting up an attractive and useful virtual background can provide instructions or reinforce learning while you are still the main “focus” of the classroom and are talking about a topic or leading an activity.
- Access to the free and easy Canva website
- Your own prepared templates
- Templates you have modified from these free templates I have made for you to use.
When to use these virtual backgrounds
You can use these backgrounds, or any that you make, when your classes start or end, doing a new activity you are introducing or really anytime you want to passively share information or reinforce an idea or concept. It is professional and interesting idea to further engage your families.
How to use these virtual backgrounds
You should create a free account on Canva. Then access the free templates I have created for you to get started with. I have created five for you to use.
- Introduction guidelines
- Your contact info
- Today’s topics
- Reinforce an idea or concept
- A fun background as you lead an activity
Clicking on the templates inside Canva will allow you to modify them, change the text or colors, add your logo or the hospital logo where you teach, and so much more. I am just giving you some ideas of how you can implement these virtual backgrounds in your classes, but you will most likely have many great ideas on how you can use these and ones you design yourself using the Zoom Background templates provided by Canva.
Upload the virtual background(s) of your choice to your meeting platform following the instructions of the product you are using. Make sure you test them out in advance to know how it looks with you in the image, where you need to position yourself for the best view and if you like the way it looks. If not, go back into Canva, modify the template, and try again. I often have to do this to get things “just right.” Practice changing and turning on/off the virtual backgrounds so you are confident when the class is live.
Right before class begins:
Double check that your virtual backgrounds are ready to go and select the one you want to open the class with. You can turn it on, take it down or switch to another whenever you want.
What the families say
Families have shared that they appreciate the variety and information that the virtual backgrounds I use add to their class. It also helps them to remember or reinforce specific instructions or concepts.
How you could modify this for even more fun
You can ask your families to create and load a virtual background of their own that shares a bit about themselves. Or they can include words that will remind them that they are strong and capable. They could choose an image that reflects their journey so far. You and the class can really have fun with this.
We have a responsibilities as educators to create accurate and engaging content for our students, even when the class is conducted virtually. This idea of customized templates is one easy and effective way to make things fun and memorable. Please let me know if you already use backgrounds and what kind or if you give this idea a try.