8 Ways IT is Empowering Teachers

by March 10, 2016 0 comments

– Sonal Desai, CIOL

Guru Brahma Gurur Vishnu

Guru Devo Maheshwaraha

Guru Saakshat Para Brahma

Tasmai Sree Gurudev Namaha

Meaning: The Guru is verily the representative Of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. He creates, sustains knowledge and destroys the weeds of ignorance. I salute such a Guru.

Now consider this: Vendors and start-ups that have been unleashing numerous solutions targeted at the education segment are chiefly looking at the entire campus or students as primary audience.

However, the guru or the teacher who is at the forefront of developing a child into a wholesome individual is often neglected.

Thankfully, IT has a lot of tools that can empower teachers considerably. Here are 8 of them, listed randomly. Our goal is to enable our teachers to not only use technology effectively, but also enhance student engagement.

1) Interactive websites

Interactive websites are emerging as a vital tools for reference for teachers and students alike. Many a websites have mushroomed with customized content aimed at helping teachers simplify academic concepts like phonics, Math, science and reading skills.

Additionally teachers can leverage educational video sites to access instead of searching VHS or DVDs in their school library. For instance, TeacherTube, a media site similar to YouTube enables teachers to share instructional materials such as videos, audio recordings, and photographs.

Video learning: In a recent global survey of 60 educational institutes, more than 82 percent of respondents say that video helps students to achieve better learning outcomes, and 91 percent believe that video enhances the learning experience. Interestingly, two thirds of those surveyed state that their institutions already incorporate video in student assignments.

CampusKnot, the campus networking website is yet another tool that allows users to chat, share notes, check class schedules, post questions, buy and sell books.

The website replaces the popular social media which many teachers across the world are using at present to connect with the students and share the educational content in the absence of any other appropriate platform.

2) Applications

In lieu of the fact that many state governments and municipal corporations are introducing tablets for secondary and higher secondary schools in India, it is imperative for teachers to use niche applications which feature content based on the student’s age, grade level and subject matter.

3) E-books

Teachers can take advantage of the many sites featuring popular online books such as Disney Digital Books, TumbleBooks, and We Give Books. Storyline Online, a special site run by the Screen Actors’ Guild Foundation shares videos of famous actors and actresses reading well-known children’s books.

4) Interactive whiteboards

Electronic touch boards allow teachers and students to manipulate items on a large screen by using electronic pens, bringing a new level of interactivity to classroom instruction.

Teachers can also create their own lessons and broadcast media from the Internet, including academic videos or clips.

5) Online behavior monitoring system

Behavior management software can help teachers manage their classrooms online.

For instance, Class Dojo allows teachers to award points to students for participating, helping others, exercising creativity, showing great insight, working hard, and making a good presentation. The software can be accessed from a tablet or smart phone, in addition to the teacher’s school computer.

6) Assessments and evaluation

ThinkCERCA helps teachers create reading assignments that push their students’ critical thinking skills.

Teachers can evaluate their students’ work and assign content to help students with areas where they need to improve in the tool itself.

Another example is Fine Tune which is designed to help teachers evaluate their students’ writing assignments. The idea is to let teachers rate sample essays and then give them feedback by comparing their ratings with the ratings given by a panel of experienced teachers.

BloomBoard is one more interesting example of the intersection between teacher feedback and professional development. It’s a repository where administrators can write classroom observations and then connect teachers with resources to help them improve, including videos of really effective educators.

Additionally, teachers can create their own groups and hold real-time chats about their work. Schools can even analyze their spending on professional development.

7) Google Earth

Some of the activities that teachers can do with this app include exploring the sky, flying to any destination in the world, touring 3D buildings as well as terrain, viewing any street regardless of its location, recording tours, geo-tagging photos, searching for places, learning navigation, embarking on tours as well as drawing and measuring.

Google Earth is an effective tool in the hands of a teacher who desires to teach his computer students that love making hands-on inquiries. In fact, more teachers are using the app as the foundation for the homework assignments that they give to their students. Some teachers are creatively using the app to make dynamic presentations during the lectures/lessons.

8) Digital storytelling

Sway, the digital storytelling app recently joined the Office suite and has become an effective way for teachers and students to collaborate and produce work that lives on the web. From class projects to personal portfolios, teachers can help students utilize Sway as a new and easy to use expressive platform.

Snip yet another Microsoft tool is a beefed up screen capturing tool that allows users to add sketches, voice notation and share them via website embeds or emails. Snip helps teachers and students quickly communicate and share information across devices and the Internet.

While none can replace the hard work and efforts teachers put-in, we do hope that these tools will help them reach out to the tech-hungry gennex in a better way.

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