Gone are the days when educators’ teaching tools consisted of elaborate blackboard designs and overhead projectors. As any savvy educator will tell you, utilizing technology in their teaching methods has gone from being a nice-to-have to an absolute necessity.
Educators who embrace up-to-date teaching tools create a strong and relevant foundation for their student’s educational journey. Changing our mindsets about technology being merely a distraction to students will open up a whole new world of opportunities for enhanced learning.
A New Way of Teaching
As the world changes and evolves, it becomes necessary for educators to adapt their teaching tools in a way that keeps students interested in the material. To some educators, this might mean simply replacing physical worksheets with digital ones. However, to a dedicated educator, the way forward is about finding the right tool in each task, to ensure maximum engagement.
Let’s have a look at a few popular teaching tools that savvy educators are using to facilitate the modern learning experience.
The DesignMantic website is one of the most popular graphic design platforms. An added advantage of DesignMantic is that it teaches students about the fundamentals of creating effective logos. This is particularly handy for students studying business, marketing or even advertising.
Using a platform that also serves as a logo maker for educators significantly enhances the student’s design skills. Students can learn and practice ways to create logos. This can even help students studying other subjects. In today’s digitally driven world, knowing the fundamentals of web design and logo creation is a skill that will serve them well throughout their lives.
A very fundamental way to engage with students is to create brainstorming sessions. Padlet is a virtual whiteboard app that allows educators and students to brainstorm ideas and theories. Students working together on a project or class assignment can easily gather information, submit input, discuss ideas, and even outline the general direction of the project.
Educators can also use the Padlet app to create a “parking lot” where questions and queries relating to the subject matter can be placed to be addressed later.
As any educator knows, providing students with the material is only the first step. Assessing their understanding is crucial to the success of the lesson. edPuzzle is an app that allows the educator to insert questions into TED videos to assess each student’s comprehension. This is an excellent way to test understanding of National Geographic or YouTube video clips.
For students to understand how their education fits into the real world it’s often necessary to source current news and content articles. Instead of spending hours searching the internet for news or educational articles, the Flipboard app “grabs” the articles that match the required topic.
An educator can select a few topics relevant to the current subject matter and the app will extract articles that match. For instance, an educator teaching a business class could select entrepreneurship as a topic to search for.
Educators the world over will agree the way teaching is done these days has changed considerably. One of the most progressive changes is the realization that education should not be a “one size fits all” experience. Students, regardless of age, learn and understand material differently. Embracing this difference enhances the learning experience for each student.
Thrively is a progressive app that enables educators to identify their student’s weaknesses and strengths. This gives the educator more insight into what educational points need to be focused on. Students complete an 80-question multiple-choice assessment which identifies strengths across 23 different areas. The outcome of this particular assessment then provides the direction in which the student’s focus needs to be.
Video-related platforms have become very popular with students because it allows them to view and observe how certain tasks are done. It’s sometimes easier for students to understand an instruction if they can see an actual example as opposed to just reading it.
As an online video editing app, WeVideo is a brilliant tool for video creation. Educators can easily make a video and upload it to the app. Since the app offers free accounts for students, it has become a popular tool for virtual collaboration.
An added advantage of WeVideo is it eliminates the need for many printed notes trying to explain how something should be done. Like a voice note, a video takes a few minutes to create and is more engaging than a written explanation.
Talk and Comment
A positive learning experience is not only about the material that is presented, but how it’s presented. With high volumes of students, it may not always be possible for an educator to give concise, written feedback to each learner. Talk and Comment is an interactive app that allows educators to leave voice notes on any of the students’ digital work.
Since it’s easier to record a spoken comment than it is to type a long list of points to focus on, this app improves educator-student exchange tenfold! It also speeds up the feedback process. For instance, an educator grading an essay submitted on Google docs will easily be able to record a voice note, highlighting changes needed or new focal points.
A Final Thought
To be a relevant educator, you need to embrace the many teaching tools available. Not only do the right tools keep educators connected to students, but it also allows them to provide the best education possible. It’s every educator’s dream to provide a type of education that adds value to their student’s lives. By using the right tools, this can easily be achieved!