Imagine a classroom where students are engaged with content that is specifically tailored to them, and with experts available to answer questions and elaborate on topics exactly when they need it. No one is disruptive or misbehaving. Maybe in one corner, a group of students is tackling a project together, while across the room, a teacher works with a small group of students to delve into a tricky topic. Sound like some utopian dream?
At Weld North Education, we've seen it happen in classroom after classroom when teachers embrace technology and incorporate it seamlessly into their instruction and curriculum.
Right now, you may be thinking, 'That's all fine and good, but I have a classroom full of students, and I don't have time to develop a whole new way to teach.' Trust us; we get it! But, with these top tips from other educators who have been in your shoes, you can take real steps to make your classroom function smoother, give students tailored lessons, and maybe even make your life a little easier.
1. Communicate with parents
You're likely already sending papers home with students and emailing parents, but have you considered using social media, a classroom blog, or your learning management system to give parents relevant updates
- Social media is pervasive. A recent study found that adults spend nearly 2.5 hours a day on social networks, so perhaps creating a classroom page on your favorite social media outlet can help you reach even the most unreachable parents.
- A classroom blog may give parents more of an insight into what exactly their students are doing in your class. Parents are always curious, so you could post your most creative lessons on the blog to bring them into the know.
- Learning management systems (LMS) can take it one step further by sending parents updates systematically. Grades, feedback, and progress may be summarized and communicated to parents automatically, depending on your provider, thus freeing up some of your invaluable time and ensuring parents are receiving the updates they want.
2. Communicate with students
When is this assignment due? When do I have to present my project? Do I need to know this for the final? The incessant questions and repetition of basic information can be exhausting, but when you digitize your classroom calendar, you may find some relief. By age 12, about 56% of children have their own social media accounts, so teachers can capitalize on this trend by making important deadlines and information available on social media sites. Additionally, reminders can be posted on the classroom blog and within the LMS to notify students of upcoming deadlines.
3. Give your classroom an identity
One reason social media has become so prevalent is because it allows people to create their own narrative, define and express themselves. A visit to your personal Facebook page or Twitter feed could inform a follower of your favorite hobbies, recent travels, and the joys (or frustrations) in your daily life. So why not use this tool to digitize your classroom and help give it an identity? Use social media to get others excited about your creative classroom activities, mission statement, and students' success. One principal connects with students by reading bedtime stories every Tuesday night in her pajamas for 'Tucked-in Tuesdays.'
Whether you incorporate social media, create a classroom blog, or use LMS's and other education technology provided by your school system - as long as students are at the center, you can't go wrong. How do you digitize your classroom to set it apart from others?
We'd love to hear how you use social media and other digital platforms to communicate with parents and students while giving your classroom its own unique identity! Please comment below to share your experiences.
Stay tuned for Part 2!