coaching for improved performance

Bill Hoogterp, Founder & CEO


In a crisis like this, no one can do everything but everyone can do something. We have found a small way to give back by supporting teachers. Teachers suddenly have to conduct classes virtually. Many never had the chance (or needed) to do that before. To provide educators some guidance and support, we partnered with Zoom Communications to offer two different kinds of weekly webinars, both free for educators. 

  1. Led by Zoom’s great presenters, on how to use the technical features of Zoom for the online classroom.
  2. Led by Own The Room, on how to make the classroom come alive virtually.  This class was offered each Wednesday until the end of May.  Check back for upcoming dates for this Zoom training for educators from Own The Room.  For more information about these professional development trainings, contact


We have already trained over 1,000 teachers. Here are some of the tips they have found most helpful:

  1. Do something different every 8 minutes to keep attention.   No matter how much the class likes you and you know your content, you need to change something to keep attention (every 8 minutes according to our dial testing research). 
  2. Light up the camera with more than your smile. Backlight is good for scifi and murder mysteries but not online classrooms. Get light on your face not behind you. 
  3. Find the lens and fill the frame.  Broadcasters learn to find that lens.  Imagine your students are inside that lens and speak directly to it and you’ll have a more commanding presence. Adjust the camera angle so it just barely cuts off the very top of your head. 
  4. Have a bigger view. Gallery view (think Hollywood Squares) is better to read the feeling of the room.  Speaker view means whoever is speaking (i.e. the teacher), their screen gets bigger.
  5. Use the chat box once per online class. “Let me do something a little different.  Today’s class topic is X, so everyone goes into the chat room and put in a half sentence about what comes to mind when you first hear topic x.” This works for a few reasons.  First, it pulls them into your topic.  They will also want to type something thoughtful since their peers will see it and they can’t resist seeing some of the other responses.
  6. White Boards are EASY to use and involve the students. Through the share screen, open the white board.  Students then can “annotate” and draw on the whiteboard.  Advanced tip, educators:  Divide the board into parts and have multiple students working on whatever problems you set at the same time where the whole class can see them.
  7. Engage the class:  Starting a class with an Around the Room gets everyone on their front foot, pulling them from passive mode to active mode.  Until a student talks in the class, they are not there “emotionally”. Body Polls work well too.  “Show me with your fingers from 0-10 how you feel about X.”  Or “everyone show me with your thumb what you think about y.”   These give you data, the class gets data, give you a break (it’s in your union contract) and emotionally connect everyone to your topic and each other.


What virtual classroom tips work for you?


New dates are coming soon for Virtual Instructor-Led Trainings made specifically for educators.  To add your name to our email list please contact:


For more information on our engaging, online training programs, explore all of our virtual programs

Get in touch with one of our experts to find the right training for you.