It sounds like a lot of schools, organizations, and conferences, are still having to teach and share their content in a virtual environment. So, if you are teaching entrepreneurship, one of the subjects that is truly better learned in person, how do you convert your content to a virtual environment? This past summer, I did just that. I ended up teaching entrepreneurship at summer camp virtually. I figured out how to convert the in-person content to online via Zoom so I know it can be done successfully. If you missed my last blog post on the 10 things I learned from teaching a youth entrepreneur camp online click here.
Since March when COVID-19 started becoming a factor, most of us have had to step out of our comfort zones. As someone who is teaching entrepreneurship, one of the things that I teach to young entrepreneurs is that when you step out of your comfort zone is where growth happens. So I decided that if I wanted to continue to make an impact on empowering the next generation of entrepreneurs by teaching entrepreneurship that is what I needed to do. So I started learning and practicing so I could convert the Eseedling youth entrepreneurship curriculum from in-person to online.
The real question was teaching entrepreneurship in a virtual environment as effective? The parents were quite pleased (some even said it was the best camp their kids attended), and even more importantly, the kids developed their business ideas and were empowered through the entrepreneurial mindset. The only thing that we did not get to do that we normally did at camp was hold a fundraiser lemonade stand where we raised funds for the camp scholarship fund. I encouraged the kids to hold their own lemonade stands once COVID was no longer a safety issue in their area.
So in order to help others I put together a list of 10 tips that you can use for teaching entrepreneurship (or any other subject) this fall in a virtual environment.
- Learn the features of the platform you are teaching entrepreneurship in. I used Zoom which I find quite easy to use and it has a lot of features that help create engagement such as chat, annotate, whiteboard, breakout rooms and polls which make it a good tool for teaching entrepreneurship and other topics online. Want to learn more about the features and how to use them, here is a link to the webinar I did earlier in the summer to help others teach online at the Julie Ann Wood YouTube Channel.
- Review the content you are using for teaching entrepreneurship and how you are teaching it. Think about how how you can put it into a slide presentation program. Here’s a hack that I use for handouts that are used to explain an activity to my students – I convert it to a .jpg file (either by saving it as a .jpg or taking a picture and saving it as a .jpg) and then insert the picture in the slide presentation.
- Make sure that the students have all the materials they need ahead of time and that they are organized so they can find what need quickly. I made them kits with the information they needed. They had a folder with all of their handouts and extra supplies in them and then a plastic zipped bag with supplies such as markers, pens, glue stick, pencil and what else they needed for the activities that were planned.
- Weave in engaging activities every 10-15 minutes to keep the students engaged. This does not mean add activities just for the sake of adding things. Use the features of the platform that you are using such as chat, breakout rooms, and annotate to add meaning to the content you are using for teaching entrepreneurship.
- Sharing Screens is very easy in Zoom. You will want to make sure you have the screens up ahead of time so it is easy to choose from when you Click on Share Screen in Zoom. For PowerPoint you will want to make sure the slide show is up (not just the PowerPoint file). The other thing to make sure is that when you are sharing videos, that you have Share Computer Sound checked so the students can hear the sound of the video.
- Here is an example of how you can convert an Ice Breaker activity, The Name Game, that we do in person in a circle when teaching entrepreneurship in person. This is a great way to learn your students name and for each of the students to get to know each other. Make sure the students have their video on and are in gallery view. Then you start out by saying your name, an adjective that describes you and starts with first letter of your name along with an action. For example, I would use Jumping Julie as I jump up and down. Then you choose the next person to your right (based on what you see on your screen and then they say your name, adjective and motion and then add theirs. Then they pick the next person that they see to their right and so on until all of the kids are included.
- An online Branding Quiz was another great activity that I found to add to the branding unit of teaching entrepreneurship. The quiz shows different logos and the kids had to guess what the logo was. Then that led into creating their own logo and brand. All you need to do is share the screen and then all the kids can contribute.
- Another example of an engaging learning activity that can be converted to a virtual environment is what I call the Ultimate Entrepreneur. This is usually a worksheet, so it is one I saved as a .jpg and put it into a Power Point slide so I could share the screen with the students. Then I have them use the annotate feature and write the entrepreneurial characteristics they learned onto the slide. Then I do a print screen so I can copy and paste it into our Awards Ceremony Slide show when either the program or unit of teaching entrepreneurship is complete.
- This leads into the Awards Ceremony. In person, we usually handout physical certificates and have a slide show of pictures for the kids and parents. I was wondering how I was going to do this, so I used Canva and created certificates for the kids and saved them as .jpg files. Then I watched the recordings of the Zoom meetings and did several print screens with the kids so I could use them in the slide show. I then inserted the pictures into the PowerPoint file, invited the parents to join in and narrated and showed the slide show.
- The most challenging activity to convert was the Biz Ops Game. It is a simulation board game that is played in small teams of kids running their own paper airplane businesses. I thought I would not be able to watch kids fly paper airplanes over the internet with limited camera angles, so I switched it to kids making and flying paper helicopters and being their own paper helicopter company. Each kid had their own materials to play the game and we made .jpg files of the handouts, the helicopter pattern and the game board pieces so we could guide them through the game. It was still a lot of fun and the kids loved it (but I have to admit, it is more fun in person😊).
I hope these 10 tips will help you as you navigate teaching entrepreneurship (or any other subject) in the online environment. After teaching 2 summer camps virtually, I realize that you can convert almost any content into an online format and still make it engaging and interactive. If you would like to learn more about the Eseedling youth entrepreneurship curriculum and how you can teach it virtually visit our website at eseedling.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.