Teaching With the Help of Technology
Jan 16, 2011 E-Learning/CALL 2911 Views
Teaching is one of the toughest professional jobs. Teachers pass on knowledge and values to children, prepare them for further education and for working life, and are main contributors to a good education. But teaching can be overwhelming and tough at times, with changing curriculums, newer assessment standards, classroom management challenges, student behavior, and discipline issues - the list goes on and on.
So, let's look at some of the ways tech tools help teachers do what they do best, in a more efficient way - teach!
1. Working Smart - Measuring Student Learning
At times it's extremely difficult to keep track of individual student progress, not just in terms of what grades he or she is scoring, but more in terms of what the student is learning. There are plenty of tools, especially web based, which not only help you, the teacher, to assign homework, practice, etc. to kids, but also measure the actual learning that students are imbibing. Technology can make it easier to get to know your students in terms of their strengths/weaknesses and help you plan necessary follow up actions. There are a number of free lesson plans available online for every topic and grade level - These can be excellent, creative supplements for school curriculum, especially in terms of assigning homework, getting it graded, and understanding where each student stands in terms of learning and progress.
2. Involve parents by creating a link between home and school
One of the biggest complaints that teachers have with parents is that they are not involved with their kids' education. It is essential and imperative to build a strong connection between what happens at school with what happens at home. Given the ever demanding lifestyles of today, most parents are guilt ridden of not helping with kids' learning. Technology can create that platform for parents to be active participants in their kids' learning, rather than being passive spectators! Teachers can look at using a variety of tools to keep parents involved, including building websites, using a blog, or even using a wiki to share information related to homework, topics covered, assessment, and of course, links to helpful websites.
3. Maintaining the Interest Level
One of the biggest challenges for today's teachers is to keep students engaged. Teachers need to spend time to develop engaging activities to keep students on task. Students tend to get bored and often misbehave if they have nothing to do, and bored students may lose interest altogether, which can be detrimental to their overall learning. Technology offers many ways to work around this, and if used intelligently, it can be a great way to fill those extra minutes with critical thinking and problem solving activities. Do research on great sites for examples online puzzles or interactive games where you solve problems to move to the next level etc. Students love a challenge which tests both their aptitude and presence of mind.
4. Social Media - Share, Learn, & Collaborate
Yes, so you use Twitter and Facebook to get updates on your friends and share personal information. But have you given a thought to how platforms like Facebook and twitter can be an excellent place for you as teachers to connect, collaborate, and share ideas and struggles with educators around the world? The amazing part about social media is that you can immediately connect with a whole bunch of educators not only from your city but across the country and the world. When you join these platforms, make sure to fill out your profile with information related to education, what you teach and other details. This will help others in education find and connect with you. Use search fields in both twitter and Facebook to search for relevant educators and connect with them. On twitter, you can also look up directory sites or groups on twitter which list teacher groups by subject, location etc.
5. Always be prepared.
Today, technology offers great tools for teachers to be better prepared for class - from planning their lessons to keeping them organized. Many sites offer lesson planners which let you edit, print or download your lesson plans while linking to puzzles, worksheets, and quizzes that you have created. Using technology, you can collaborate and discuss with peers on new methodologies, changes in curriculum, new ways to keep students and parents engaged, etc. The internet is simply amazing to do much needed research and look at innovative ways to not only be updated on new content, but also look at newer teaching methodologies.
Overall, technology or tools may appear intimidating for some teachers - but the reality is, they can be your best friend! It's definitely worth it to spend some time researching on new tools which will help you get the best from your class.