There are many ways to interact on live Collaborate sessions. You can talk, type, get on the webcam - or not - and you can also interact with polling features, emoticons and whatever else the teachers dream up for you.
When your student joins a session for a class you will often see this basic screen.
Keep in mind that you can join the session at least 15 minutes or even a half hour before the class really starts - this is a lot like coming EARLY to a lecture and the stuff is not on the board yet. Often a teacher might put up a little timer to help students know when the session will begin, or something on the board.
Students can type in the message box as a way to communicate with the teacher and fellow classmates. When the student first joins the session, however, this might not be enabled until the teacher - also known as the Moderator of the session - joins and gives them that privilege. As well as the teacher may turn off this chat feature during the session if it is distracting to the lesson or students are getting “chatty!” The teacher can always see what students type so your student can always message things to the teacher, even though they cannot message to the entire class.
Students can also speak on the microphone and often they are encouraged to raise their hand - just like in a “regular” classroom - if they have a question or want to answer something the teacher asked them. The mic works a lot like a walkie talkie, in that once the speaker clicks off, another person can click it on and speak.
Students can also get on the webcam if that is offered during a session. Students are not required to be on the webcam for the entire class, but this is offered as a means to connect or if they want to show off their work, for example. Once the teacher gives them the privilege, then can click the icon and show up on camera. Often the teacher will give them the mic too at the same time so their image is bigger.
There are many emoticons and ways to interact - smiley faces, thumbs down, applause and the hand raise are a few that are used often.
And lastly, the teacher can use the whiteboard to demonstrate on just like a tangible whiteboard they might have in a physical classroom. They can take students on webtours, show and solve math problems, put up questions for their literature, and even directions for lab activities.
We can draw on the board and point and highlight things too! Sometimes students will use these tools as well depending upon the activity or the lesson.
These live instructional sessions are often recorded by teachers and can also be watched later. As you can see, Collaborate is pretty neat!