The 3 T’s
(Teaching Through Tech)
Throughout this pandemic, we are all faced with the difficulty of teaching and learning online. For some of us, online instruction is something new. With different curriculum’s, teaching styles, and student engagement, this can make teaching via through Zoom, Google Hangout or D2L, a bit more challenging. As teachers too, we may be limited on the applications we are familiar with. As well as what sources are free and available for all of us. Throughout this blog post, everyone will get a taste of ways to better our online instruction. As well as get some helpful tips on what are some of the better online applications, that we can use to better teach and engage our students.
Ways to Better Teach Via Technology:
For most teachers we crave that one on one instruction, and face-to-face lessons. But during times like this, when we are faced with a world catastrophe, we have to make due with what is available to us. Teaching with technology is not easy for everyone. Therefore times, like this give teachers like you the opportunity to try something brand new. But I know for some of you technology is a NO GO!!! During my own personal field experiences, I have seen the three kinds of teachers that teach with technology. There is the NON-TECH, the BALANCED, and the ALL-TECH. No matter what category you would classify yourself in before, all of that goes out the window, when times like this arise. Therefore I am here to share with you ways that can make teaching with technology smooth sailing. I promise it can be super easy, just follow along! 🙂 All this information was also provided by my own ideas and collaborations from others ideas, from the citations below.
Step 1.) Convey your Messages with a Warm Tone. Students everywhere receive daily messages, reminders, and activities that need to be completed. As their teacher, if you convey these messages with a warm tone, showing that you are supportive of your students, it will make all the difference in the world. Every student, as well as their families are going through a difficult time. Some may not have their jobs, others may be constantly working, and sometimes school becomes the least valuable priority. So as teachers, showing that you are assigning some work, while also being compassionate and reaching out, can create a better connection with the students and their families.
Step 2.) Organize your Course Content, in an Chronological Structure. For some students, using technology to learn is brand new. The last thing we want to do as teachers is confuse these students by posting multiple assignments in different folders, with 100 different due dates. Make it easy for your students and try to place everything that needs to be done for the week in one folder. Send out then reminders only about that week’s assignments. This can minimize the chaos, and the stress levels of your students. Also can can minimize the amount of emails you get as a teacher, from confused parents and students.
Step 3.) Add Visuals to your Instruction. No child wants to sit and hear a teacher talk on and on for hours on end. So MIX IT UP! Add some visuals, such as funny videos, pictures, inspirational messages, quotes and more. Small gestures like these can make all the difference to our students. As well as by incorporating videos, pictures and other mixed media, it can better engage our learners, and if it is connected to course materials, can serve as a reminder!
Step 4.) Provide Examples. For most students, they need to not only hear what you are talking about, but they need to see it in person or online too. So to better help with the comprehension of materials, as teachers we should be providing examples to our students, just like we would in a regular, face-to-face classroom. Students and parents then know if they are understanding the materials presented, and this can benefit the students in the long run.
Step 5.) Scaffold Students Learning. As teachers the final tip I have that can serve as a guide to better teach online instruction is to just scaffold your students learning. When we teach in person we do an extensive amount of modeling. Whether it be with a math problem, or explaining the thinking process. When using digital platforms to teach, just make the effort to ask if there is any questions. Or even just ask critical thinking questions. By you asking these questions, and by scaffolding the students you better instill the theories and examples you are trying to teach.
But What Is All Available?
Now that you have some helpful and insightful ways to better teach online, as teachers the next question you may have is, well what online applications are available for me? This question is an excellent one, and below I will show you some of my favorites, as well as some examples and videos about them!!
1.) FLIPGRID: This technological application can be used to teach an engaging lesson. These lessons can require students responses, via video, text box, through a photograph, or other mixed media. As a teacher you are to construct the main topic, and then create prompts that each student can respond to. By using an application like this, it can make it easy to not only teach standards, but to make it engaging for everyone too. Below is an example of a FlipGrid I created, to better teach an engaging lesson about Earth Day.
Flipgrid is where social and emotional learning happens! The leading video discussion platform for millions of PreK to PhD educators, students, and families.
2.) PADLET: This online application allows teachers to use it for free. Padlet is a paper for your screen, where students can map out their responses to a prompt or assignment in a more exciting way. Students can add media, videos, and regular text boxes to their Padlet, in order to respond to a teacher’s ideas. As well as they can comment on peers postings, to better enhance classroom collaboration.
This video tutorial will show you how to use Padlet. Think of Padlet as a wall where you can express your thoughts on a common topic. Collect your ideas thro…
3.) NEARPOD: Nearpod is an instructional platform that merges formative assessment and dynamic media for collaborative learning experiences. Teachers can design fun lessons on here to share with their students. Which also allows for student response, and engagement. This application allows you to upload and tech-enhance existing materials or customize over 7,500 pre-made, standards-aligned lessons for all K-12 subjects. With self-paced assignments too, this allows students to complete assignments independently while you gain insights into students’ understanding with post-session reports. Easily integrate with your LMS (i.e. Google Classroom, D2L, Zoom, or other applications).
I am super obsessed with Nearpod, and in this video I explain all the things I love about it! Sign up for a free account here! https://go.nearpod.com/toocool…
4.) ZOOM, GOOGLE CLASSROOM, D2L: The last few applications I am going to share with you are just outlets to stream your classrooms and assignments on. Depending on your school district, you may be required to use one or another. However if you have a bit of freedom, I will enlighten you on how these applications work. Zoom is basically an online video chat that you can have students log into to do online instruction via the whole class. Google Classroom then is a classroom that makes it easy for learners and instructors to connect inside and outside of school. Google Classroom, saves time and paper, and makes it easy to create classes, distribute assignments, communicate, and stay organized. Then lastly D2L, or Desire to Learn, is an application where you can launch an online class, and have submission folders, assignment drop boxes, online discussion boards, and modules. All three of these can be useful to us as teachers if we are looking for an outlet to stream lessons, or connect with our students.
To wrap things up for all of you, teaching online, remote instruction IS NOT EASY. But with some of these helpful tips, and applications at your disposal, it now can be a little bit e a s i e r. If we take the time to create engaging, meaningful lessons that connect back to our course materials we will be set! If you need anymore helpful applications, feel free to contact me, or check out more of these videos to better enhance your understanding of how to teach effectively through technology.
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Flower, Darby. Chronicle.com, www.chronicle.com/interactives/advice-online-teaching.
“Use of Technology in Teaching and Learning.” Use of Technology in Teaching and Learning | U.S. Department of Education, www.ed.gov/oii-news/use-technology-teaching-and-learning.
Guido, Marcus. “25 Easy Ways to Use Technology in the Classroom: Prodigy.” Prodigy Math Blog, 24 Sept. 2019, www.prodigygame.com/blog/ways-to-use-technology-in-the-classroom/.