Advice for New Teachers: Use Technology to Make the Most of Every Moment
From Veteran Teacher and Guest Blogger Kerry Rubadue
Although teaching often brings great joy to those who pursue this noblest of professions, teaching also can bring heartache beyond imagining. I experienced tremendous heartache when, as a new teacher, I lost a student to suicide. I have spent the years since that tragedy blaming myself for not recognizing and acting on the signs before it was too late. I share this experience now so that other teachers can better serve their students even if personal interactions are limited due to class size. Know that every moment you spend — or don’t spend — with students makes immense impact. And, through innovative implementation of technology, I have found that you can grow student engagement and trust even in the busiest of times. Through creative digital integration, the lines and levels of communications with students can and will remain open and fruitful. Here are just two ways to use technology to integrate student empowerment with academics:
1. Ask students their feelings on your course and elicit their learning preferences by using plus/delta, force field analysis, and surveying tools as described here (montgomeryschoolsmd.org). Transparently share the results of these surveys with your students, even using the data as the basis of your lesson plans. Using technology when you cannot individually connect with students, and making students equal owners of the outcomes, can bridge communication and empowerment gaps, at least temporarily. Click here for one classroom teacher’s testimonial on the value of empowering students’ voices (edutopia).
2. Use the results you get from using these digital tools as the basis of student projects to make learning and empowerment more outcome-driven. For example, the Classroom Time Analysis Tool looks at use of classroom time through four broad categories: Teacher-led Time, Student Work Time, Assessment of Student Learning, and Transitions which are further defined by subcategories. Using the CTAT will help teachers (and/or students) to calibrate their actual use of time in the classroom against their lesson plans and to set goals around minimizing transitions and maximizing teacher-led time, student work time, and assessment of student learning, to better drive desired outcomes. Click here to begin using this tool (National Center on Time and Learning). When the entire community of learners has a stake in reaching outcomes, and data is transparent, success becomes a true team effort.
Kerry Rubadue is now a project manager at McGraw-Hill Education.
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