Your morning starts like this: You wake up and check your email, look through new updates while having your breakfast, and read posts on your favorite blogs while riding the train to your job. Before the working week begins you jot down tasks in your daily planner so you don’t miss meetings and important to-do items. You use a collaboration platform to interact with your students and solve study issues. You share study materials online. You use various tools at school in order to make your classroom activities captivating for all your students.
Now imagine you come back to old-school methods and use no gadgets and no online tools. Nothing. Just picture this happening. And feel the pain. This is what students feel when teachers ban gadgets from the classroom. Students as well as you have already gotten used to the daily routine using all these devices. So why don’t you go ahead and make them a part of the study process? To be a great teacher means being up-to-date.
1. Let Them Be Responsible
Peer estimation is a type of evaluation that has appeared quite recently, and it’s quickly catching on. How does it work? Classmates have a chance to estimate the knowledge of their peers under the leadership of a teacher. Yes, it’s rather important for teachers to trace the process and make sure students check each other’s work with wisdom and fairness. One of my students says, “It gives me the feeling I’m a real teacher. Now I see how it is to be responsible.”
2. Make It Fun
Gamification is a method that combines both study and fun and that is widely used in study and work environments. That’s why students (and teachers, too) like it so much. As an example, you have a study goal, let’s say, to learn 100 words in Spanish. Sounds daunting to students, right? Make it a game! For example, you all are trying to get treasures that are hidden in the room with a locked door. The door has a password, and it’s a Spanish word of eight letters. In the words-to-learn list there are 17 eight-letter words. Students have to say these Spanish words, one by one, without looking into their notes. You can think up what treasures people get if they guess the word.
3. Strive For Originality
The history of plagiarism detection started long ago, but has evolved rapidly in the last few years. It used to be difficult to prove that students plagiarized anything, even if teachers suspected it. Nowadays, however, it’s absolutely possible to prove that something’s rotten in the state of Denmark. What’s even better is how teachers don’t have to check texts by manually copying and pasting bits of text into search engines. For example, the Unplag plagiarism checker does it instantly after you click the Check for Plagiarism button and shows a report in about 4 seconds. The report shows originality and similarity percentages, lists the original sources where text was taken from, highlights copied pieces within a text, underlines possible letter replacements, and does other useful things.
4. Cultivate Lifelong Learning
Abbreviations MOOC and OER mean massive open online courses and open educational resources. They have gained huge popularity over the last few years. It’s barely possible to find a person who hasn’t watched TED talks or taken a course in Coursera. Educational platforms of this type are available for users of different ages, backgrounds, and educational levels. The only requirement is access to the Internet. Students have a chance to receive a certificate proving they took a specific course, and that’s going to be an advantage, isn’t it?
5. Practice Blended Learning
It’s hard to imagine now how education used to be either online or offline. Today we have blended education. It means that usual classroom activities like writing, discussions, presentations, and more are closely intertwined with using digital content. Specifically, you and your students use collaboration platforms where you share files, discuss study matters, and take surveys. Some platforms (such as StudyBlue or Open Study) have large international communities where people from all over the world help each other, give tips, share materials, and enjoy built-in study tools.
And of course now it’s common to see students armed with laptops and tablets, using them daily in the classroom for taking notes, accessing files available online, and other needs. One of my students once told me that using a pen and paper for taking notes is an old school method, which has seen its better days. In some way he has a point.
6. Focus On Individuality
Studying is going to be reconfigured in ways where a teacher defines what abilities every student has and tailors study programs to satisfy the needs of each student. If a person does what he or she is good at, there’s no doubt productivity and results will be much better than usual. Perhaps some students are doing poorly at school because they do everything and anything and pay less attention to what they do best. Personalized approaches can solve this issue.
These trends are focused on faster and more productive learning as well as enjoying the process. Although they are still taking root and developing, it’s nevertheless a good chance for you to be the first to bring them to your school, because being a great teacher means being up-to-date.
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