Category: Teaching Strategies
Here’s a Preview of November
Here’s a preview of what’s coming up on Ask a Tech Teacher in November:
- Tracts and Genius Hour: A Great Combination
- Halloween projects, lesson plans, apps, and a costume
- Digital Storytelling
- Civics in Schools
- College or Career
- Google Earth Lesson Plans
- Geography Awareness Week
- Digital Citizenship
- Managing Difficult Parents
- Rigorous Mathematics
Getting up to Speed: Teacher Prep and Technology Integration
We know technology is a challenge for veteran teachers. It wasn’t part of their teacher training program so they rely on school PD to fill the many holes in blending tech with education. What is surprising is that many teacher programs don’t prepare their graduates well for the rigors of using technology to meet current educational requirements. That is made worse by the demands of a post-pandemic classroom that often operates online, remotely, or a hybrid. Ask a Tech Teacher contributor, Christian Miraglia, 35 years as a teacher and now an educational consultant for T4Edtech, has a good discussion on that:
For many years I served as a master-teacher for prospective teachers from various universities in my area. In my interactions with the candidates, I found that although their coursework focused on methodology and practice, it invariably lacked a technology integration component. It was clear that as I worked with these up-and-coming teachers, their first exposure to the integration of technology was in my classroom. I can only imagine a teacher entering the workforce now who has to contend with the basics of teaching and then realizes that there is a whole other component of the equation that they were inadequately prepared.
In the report, Reimagining the Role of Technology in Education, published in 2017, the Office of Technology Education recommended that:
“Institutions responsible for pre-service and in-service professional development for educators should focus explicitly on ensuring all educators are capable of selecting, evaluating, and using appropriate technologies and resources to create experiences that advance student engagement and learning. They also should pay special care to ensure that educators understand the privacy and security concerns associated with technology. Institutions cannot achieve the goal without incorporating technology-based learning into the programs themselves.”
And here lies the problem. The pandemic affected every school district in the nation, yet many of the university programs still lack the technology component in their programs three years later. Exposed now are deficiencies of utilizing online learning management systems that school districts face. There should be a concerted effort to focus on this area.
Moreover, sending teachers into the workforce without adequate training is equivalent to sending doctors out to practice without learning to treat specific ailments. The student today learns much differently than students did five years ago. Moreover, the general use of technology has changed. There is an increased movement towards personalizing the educational experience, practiced with student agency and choice on assessments. For a teacher, this translates into knowing what students use and understanding these platforms themselves.
What You Might Have Missed in September
Here are the most-read posts for the month of September
- Lesson Plan: Online Art Sites
- 19 Ed Websites to Fill Spare Classroom Time
- Creative Options for Remote Learning
- 9/11… We Remember
- Does Mindfulness Make Your Class Better?
- 16 Websites and 5 Posters to Teach Mouse Skills
- Technology and Teaching: A Conversation with Teachers
- 16+ Websites on Assessments
- SEL in Your Classroom
- Do you need a career coach?
Does Mindfulness Make Your Class Better?
District Administration recently published an interesting article on how mindfulness creates kinder classrooms and reduces problematic behaviors by 18%. Click the link and check out their thoughts.
If you’d like background on Mindfulness, check our article published earlier on
How to Incorporate Mindfulness into Your Class
Students learn best when they are relaxed, happy, and feeling loved. It is challenging to include those characteristics in classes when you are concurrently trying to achieve school goals, comply with curriculum timelines, juggle parent concerns, and blend your lessons with those of colleagues.
This is where mindfulness becomes important. It reminds teachers that the fulcrum for learning is the student’s emotional well-being.
Let’s back up a moment: What is mindfulness? Buddha said:
“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
If that’s the plan, mindfulness is the path. It teaches students how to quiet themselves — get to a place where their mind is settled sufficiently to pay full attention to the task at hand. Experts offer many suggestions for incorporating mindfulness into your classroom experience. Consider:
- pause and take a deep breath before beginning an activity or in the middle of performing it
- reflect on an activity as a group
- reflect on the student’s own experiences and background and how that relates to the topic
Delving into these rudimentary steps isn’t the goal of this article. Today, I’ll share five ideas on taking mindfulness to the next level in your classes:
Equipment You Need for Online Tutoring
Teaching during the pandemic has turned the iconic job of education on its head. Should you teach at home or in school–or with a hybrid approach? How can you be effective with the new rules required to ensure safety while maximizing the students’ educational journey? Is it safe to enter the classroom? You’ve never taught remotely before–how do you do that and still meet your school’s education standards and curricula?
Many teachers are turning to homeschool co-ops or tutoring programs as reasonable approaches to pursuing a job they love in a way that allows students to succeed. If this is a choice you are making, here are suggestions from one of our Ask a Tech Teacher contributors for equipment you’ll need to succeed in this new approach:
8 Props and Pieces of Equipment for Tutoring Students Online
The equipment and props you use when teaching your students online can make all the difference when it comes to how successful you are.
They can affect how engaging your lessons are, how much your students enjoy them, and even how professional you appear.
Choosing the right equipment and teaching tools is not just essential – your decisions can make or break your online teaching career.
Most online teaching platforms have basic requirements, like a high-quality headset, web tools, and a reliable internet connection, but there are other things you need to take into account before you start teaching online – things like good lighting and visual teaching aids can go a long way.
Here are eight things you’ll need to become a successful online teacher.
1. A Background
Most online teaching centers require their tutors to have some kind of professional backdrop behind them – this can be a blank wall that you’ve decorated with relevant classroom posters.
You can also set up a bulletin board behind you with your name and some interesting items that say something about your personality, like trinkets and souvenirs that relate to your hobbies. Setting up your virtual classroom can also be a great way to unleash your creativity!
You can also incorporate flags, ABCs, or a reward system into your bulletin board to keep your students more engaged.
What You Might Have Missed in July
Here are the most-read posts for the month of July
- Tech Tip #63: Reset Default Font
- Tech Ed Resources–Mentoring and Coaching
- A Year to Remember, A Year to Reflect: Pandemic Instruction
- 11 Websites for Thinking and Learning
- We Landed on the Moon July 20 1969
- 5 (free) Posters on Teaching I
- Tech Ed Resources–Lesson Plans
- Tech Tip #44: Computer Safety
- 9 Websites for Comics in Teaching
- Revealed: The Secrets to Studying Success
Here’s a Preview of July
Here’s a preview of what’s coming up on Ask a Tech Teacher in July:
- Useful Tech Tips
- Useful shortkeys
- Must-have apps for curious students
- Free posters
- The hardest tech problem revealed
- Lessons learned from teaching
- Lots of tech resources for your classroom
Here’s How to Motivate Summer School Students
When you have to compete with a warm sun, sandy beaches, and playful friends, motivating students in summer school can be a daunting challenge. The best first step, right after introducing yourself, is to understand why students are with you rather than with friends or playing online games. Their reasons could be to try something new, make up for a class they failed, get ahead of classes they must take, or something else. Their answers to this question will guide you in how you teach the class. Once you know their reasons, be honest with them on how you will help them meet their goals. In general terms, you want them to know you’ll do your best to make their summer experience worthwhile, get them through the material, and help them pass the required exams with the grades they need. I’ve talked about best practices for teaching. Let’s today cover how to get students through the summer learning experience:
Make the class interesting
There are a lot of ways to teach a topic that satisfies curriculum demands. For example, you can fill in worksheets, watch videos, complete group projects, or work independently. Pick an approach that is 1) different from how you teach during the school year, and 2) fits your student group.
While you’re changing the approach, also change the setting. Teach class in a park, in a museum’s group learning room, at a restaurant over a meal, in someone’s home, or in the school auditorium. Here’s the logic behind that: Students react well to change. Do you remember the Hawthorne Effect Study? Done in the 1930’s (and redone in different ways many times afterwards), researchers examined how different aspects of the work environment (i.e., lighting, the timing of breaks, and the length of the workday) affected employee productivity. What they found wasn’t what they expected. The biggest impact on productivity came from simply paying attention to the workers and their environment. Let your summer school students experience this motivator. Change their learning ecosystem and watch how much harder they work simply because you care enough to pay attention.
Here’s a Preview of May
Here’s a preview of what’s coming up on Ask a Tech Teacher in May:
- Whiteboard Apps You’ll Love
- Teacher Appreciation Week
- Kids’ Computer Posture Explained
- World Password Day
- Tech Tips
- 12 Tech Tasks to End the School Year
- Digital Books for Summer Reading
- Digital Platforms to Teach Remotely
- Free Posters
Tips for incentivizing your teachers team while working remotely
This is a how-to article from an Ask a Tech Teacher contributor describing clever ways to make remote teaching work. A recommended read if your remote program isn’t working as you’d hoped:
Tips for incentivizing your teachers team while working remotely
The challenges involved in working remotely are many and varied, yet arguably the most significant obstacle managers face when trying to steward teams from afar is keeping them engaged and motivated.
This is all the more significant in an educational context, because teams of teachers are in turn responsible for looking after large groups of students who need to be ushered through the twists and turns of remote learning with aplomb.
Providing the right incentives in the right way is a solution that can help overcome remote working burn-out and general disgruntlement brought about by the current climate. The following tips should help you to come up with an effective strategy to ultimately bolster job satisfaction and improve performance.
Image Source: Pixabay
Implement an incentive program
To start off with, it is worth formalizing your approach to incentivizing teachers in a remote working scenario through a program which has been developed specifically for this purpose.
While this will require a little work upfront to set the wheels in motion, once everything is in place it will become perpetually beneficial and continue to pay dividends as time passes.
You can get some program ideas from here to give you a little initial guidance. It covers everything from programs focused on rewarding the most loyal team members for their long service, to programs that encourage teamwork and collaboration between individuals and groups alike.