New to the site? Try Quick User Guide

We track anonymous visitor behavior on our website to ensure you have a great experience. Learn more about our Privacy Policy.

Muted Share-Aloud

Providing flexibility for camera use during synchronous lessons


With so much time spent on video, it is important for educators to allow students opportunities to turn their audio and camera off. Some students may experience anxiety about being on camera, background distractions and noises, connectivity issues, or more potential challenges – in addition to video fatigue. However, many teachers may worry that if students don’t have their cameras or audio on, they may not be paying attention. Additionally, visual and auditory connections can help to deepen and foster relationships between teachers and students, as well as students and their classmates.

One way to address video fatigue while still creating space for students to have their camera on is to have muted share-alouds where students are invited to turn their cameras on for key portions of the lesson. When engaging in this type of synchronous task, invite students to turn on their cameras so that you can see their participation while still keeping their audio muted. This will allow you to see them reading aloud and track their progress while minimizing stress of being heard and on camera by themselves, since everyone is doing it together.

This strategy can also be used during group discussions. When the teacher or students are sharing thoughts during a class discussion, invite students to turn on their cameras and use hand signals to silently indicate their thinking.

Student Does

  • Turns camera on when prompted by teacher (if possible and comfortable)
  • Synchronously performs task at hand (e.g., reading aloud shared text)
  • Stays muted unless directed to unmute

Teacher Does

  • Provides students with clear instructions for task
  • Tells students when to unmute themselves
  • Celebrates participation with silent hand signals

Strategy Resources

Requiring Cameras Only for 1:1 and Small-Group Time

This video describes the importance of allowing students to keep their cameras off at times... Learn More