Long gone are the days when students had nothing to look at but the chalkboard and nothing to listen to but the teacher. Or, if your classes were like mine, look out the window and listen to the rustling of passed notes.
These days, the classroom environment is far more dynamic. Students get to participate in group work and indulge in self-study, they might conduct experiments or work on the computer.
In fact, so much goes on in class these days that teachers have a hard time keeping up with it all. And then, on top of that, to spare a few precious minutes for administrative work like recording grades and taking attendance, and then entreating a student to carry those reports to the office?
How Technology Helps with Classroom Management
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In today’s tech-rich teaching environment, all of that work is streamlined so teachers can do more of what they became teachers for: interacting with their students and helping them learn.
Every teacher knows that taking attendance is a time-consuming ordeal, especially if they have large groups. This task is even more off-putting because you know that your students count on having the first few minutes of class to do nothing that’s task-related.
By contrast, using an attendance app, preferably one that defaults to all students present so you only need to uncheck absent students takes less than 60 seconds. Are all the seats full? Taking attendance is complete at a glance!
Then, it’s a simple matter of forwarding the ‘report’ to the office. You can do that as you introduce the day’s lesson.
Effective Seating Arrangements
Depending on your perspective, from the wildly optimistic to the mildly cynical, classroom management can be anything from a collaborative learning arrangement to stopping trouble before it can start – meaning you have to keep rival students away from each other.
Apps such as Smart Seat (iPad only) and Seat Charter allow you to configure your classroom to meet the needs of the day. Do you have group work planned? Open the app and slide your students’ thumbnail pictures into the most effective arrangements.
These apps can also serve as attendance takers.
Create Engaging Lessons
Rare is the student who doesn’t complain that school is boring and, despite teachers’ best efforts, there is an element of truth to their assertion. It’s not anyone’s fault, least of all the teachers’, but a matter of perception.
Kind of like how no work of art can be universally appealing.
That doesn’t stop teachers, especially those who are new to the profession, from trying to be everything to everyone. Luckily for those who do aspire to this monumental task, classroom technology can help them achieve that goal.
Schoology software makes individual instruction possible even in large-group settings. You can create your own presentations that your students can absorb at their own pace. Best of all, it comes with more than 200 integrated apps, including Google Docs and Drive, Youtube and Dropbox.
Even if your students don’t bring their own devices – a requirement for Schoology to truly be effective at home and in school, simply having an interactive Whiteboard in your room would go a long way to making your lessons more engaging.
If attendance eats the first few minutes of your class time, giving out homework takes up the last bits. The best teachers go much farther than shouting “All exercises on page ___!” as the bell drowns them out and students round-up their belongings. They want to explain the work and make clear their expectations.
The only trouble is, what should the assignment be?
Teachers go to great lengths to plan their lessons but we all know how the best plans can be waylaid by as little as a question. Or maybe you didn’t get quite as far into the lesson as you needed to. So, while you may have intended to assign XYZ, you may find it more relevant, challenging or appropriate to assign something completely different.
As the bell rings and students aren’t paying attention, anyway.
But not if you and your groups use a homework app. You only need to enter the assignment’s details, expectations, and any other notes. You needn’t worry if your pupils got the message because the app will tell you that the students logged in and checked their workload.
Thus comes great news: you’ll get no more excuses about not understanding what the assignment is!
Responding to Students’ Needs
Posting assignments across an app that notifies you when students log in doesn’t guarantee that everyone will understand the work. Having a direct line of communication with you does.
At first glance, the idea that your students have access to you outside of their allotted time in your class sounds exhausting but that’s only until you realize that you’ll likely adopt a group chat format. You won’t have to answer the same questions over and over; furthermore, students can help each other understand what’s going on, too.
Education technology and tech not meant specifically for education – whiteboards, office suite software, and Google Drive have taken much of the mundane and administrative work out of being a teacher. It allows people who are passionate about teaching to devote the bulk of their time doing what they got into the profession to do while reducing the stress of classroom management.
That’s how technology helps achieve successful classroom management.
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