An activity that many educators look forward to each year is decorating and personalizing their classrooms. Not only does this help create an engaging space for students, but it also provides a way for teachers to express themselves creatively.
While this tradition shows no signs of slowing down for the 2020-2021 school year, due to the uncertainties caused by COVID-19, and the increased need for distance learning, some teachers have taken this practice online.
What is a Bitmoji classroom?
By first using the Bitmoji app to create a look-alike avatar and then using other free tools like Canva and Google to construct a virtual classroom, some educators have created friendly virtual spaces to act as a digital home for their classes.
Within Bitmoji classrooms, each image or graphic (whiteboard, book, laptop computer, etc.) offers an opportunity for interaction, with teachers hyperlinking the items in their virtual spaces to class assignments and supplemental resources.
An article recently published in Education Week explores this phenomenon and reports that through social media, teachers across the country have been sharing their colorful classroom designs. According to the author of the story, Catherine Gewertz, one reason why Bitmoji classrooms have become so popular is that they help “create a sense of familiarity and connection with new students remotely.”
Given the amount of uncertainty that children, teachers and parents alike are experiencing when it comes to the new school year, these inviting virtual spaces can help provide much-needed fun and excitement.
Are there any drawbacks to this trend?
While many teachers have joined the Bitmoji classroom craze, some warn that it can be easy to forget the importance of equity when designing them. Erica Brooks, a special education teacher in Jefferson County, Ky., agrees and believes that a one-size-fits-all approach is insufficient. She suggests that teachers upload their Bitmoji classrooms to a platform like Google Classroom, where they can better navigate the room and the resources contained within it in ways that address each child’s individual needs. “You’re in there with them, helping them find and use things in the room, and working with them on the assignments [you’ve] made for them there,” Brooks explained in an interview.
For some, Bitmoji classrooms are distracting from more serious issues that schools will face that in the coming months, including health and safety concerns, scheduling conflicts and emotional trauma caused by the spread of COVID-19.
These concerns are exacerbated by the fact that some districts have started requiring their educators to attend Bitmoji professional training sessions. With so much to prepare for, there are concerns that requiring this kind of training is unhelpful.
Still, many teachers have embraced Bitmoji classrooms and are quite proud of their designs.
Have you made a Bitmoji classroom?
What are your thoughts on Bitmoji classroom trend? Do you have one you’re particularly proud of? If so, we’d love to see your work and encourage you to share a picture with us on our Camp Invention® Facebook page.
Photo Attribution: Camp Invention Director Marilyn Carey's Bitmoji classroom for the new school year.