The Author of 'The Hybrid Teacher' Shares Why Kumospace is Her Go-To Platform for Classroom Games
The remote education expert uses the immersive virtual chat platform to spark community and play among her students.
The goal for Colorado language arts teacher Emma Pass at the start of every school year is for her students to get to know each other, and build community. With remote learning, this can be a challenge but if anyone can make the online classroom engaging it's Emma. She's the author of the recently published book "The Hybrid Teacher: Using Technology to Teach In Person and Online." As an educator who has taught remote courses for five years Emma is not afraid to get creative with new tools.
One remote learning tool she returns to is Kumospace, an immersive video chat platform that has vivid, video game-like settings that mimic the real world. Emma particularly likes the spatial audio feature in which participants can speak to anyone within their audio range, allowing for multiple conversations at once.
"I use Kumospace for any activity that requires students to be talking to several of their peers during the activity," Emma says. "It solves the problem of being able to move from a one-person speaks at a time environment, like when we're on Zoom, to a much more natural environment so we can have many different conversations with many different people going on at once."
She first discovered Kumospace from another teacher sharing the platform on TikTok, and was drawn to it because it offered an alternative to Zoom breakout rooms. "The students log into Kumospace and can navigate around with their arrows, having separate conversations and talking to several classmates without me having to facilitate tons and tons and tons of movement in breakout rooms, which gets really complicated and confusing for them," she adds.
One activity Emma teaches in Kumospace is Online Classroom Bingo, an interactive game that she has students play to get to know each other better.
The game starts with a digital bingo board the teacher creates using Google Slides, which has different prompts like "has a sibling," "dislikes tomatoes," or "has more than 6 letters in their last name." (Emma has an example and a Bingo board you can download yourself on her blog here.)
Each student is given their own board and tasked with moving around the Kumospace to find classmates who fit the Bingo prompt description.
When a student finds a match they type in their classmates' names on their board.
The first student/s who has five classmate names filled out on their board in a row calls out 'Bingo,' and wins.
According to Emma, the key is for students to move around and chat more naturally like they would in a classroom. She chooses Kumospace for the activity because it allows her students to move around the virtual space with their arrow keys and talk to only the students close to them just like in a real-life setting.
"I definitely am aware of a few other tools that do the same thing as Kumospace. But Kumospace is the cleanest looking and it's certainly the most professional," Emma says.
She's not the only one that's a Kumospace fan.
"The students really love it," Emma says. "I was teaching this morning, and in the chatbox, one of my students said, 'When are we doing Kumospace again?.' They're excited and engaged with it and really want to connect with each other."