By Teachers, For Teachers
As we move into the digital world, some of our everyday teacher tasks become easier and easier. The hours that we spent grading papers, creating lesson plans by hand, and organizing all of our paperwork is coming to an end. Today, many educators are moving towards using handy, and extremely convenient technology in the classroom tools that are changing teacher’s lives forever. But, with so many apps and technology in the classroom tools out there, where do we start? Here a few apps that are changing the way educators use technology in the classroom to complete their daily tasks.
As teachers, we all know the time and effort that it takes to plan a lesson. We also know what an inconvenience it can be if you forget or lose your lessons. Planbook and Planboard are just two of the many mobile apps that are on the market that make managing your plans, easier and more functional than a tangible pencil and paper.
With Planboard, you can create your lessons online with the online editor. You also have the ability to build lesson templates, attach local curriculum sets, individual standards, and send and import lessons right from your smartphone.
Another tech tool that is here to help your everyday task of lesson planning is Planbook. This app can be assessed on the web as well. Here you can customize your lessons, create class schedules and templates, connect to standards, attach files and links, and share your plans with your colleagues.
Managing student behavior has never been easier thanks to apps like Class Dojo. This app is an online classroom management tool that tracks students’ behavior in real time. It is designed to help students’ behavior stay on track, while keeping parents in the loop. It’s also an effective tool for monitoring students’ growth. It makes it easy to communicate with parents through the stories and messaging section of the app. And its easy interface makes it simple to navigate through.
Here’s how it works. Each child is assigned a Dojo monster as their character. Then, throughout the day, the teacher awards students for skills like “Hard work” and “Following directions.” Each skill is awarded Dojo points. For example, a student may be awarded 1 to 5 points for being on task or for cleaning up. However, the student can also lose points for negative behaviors, like being unprepared or not following directions. At the end of the day, the total points are added up, and each student’s Class Dojo monster receives a total number of points that can reach up to 100 percent. Parents can also track these points throughout the day to see how their child is behaving.
This app is designed to strengthen the lines of communication between home and school. It is completely done through the Dojo point system and the parent messaging system.
As much as you love staying up late grading papers and creating the perfect rubric to assess your students, I am here to tell you that you no longer have to. Technology has made assessing students’ work a piece of cake. Apps like “My Class Talk,” “Socrative Teacher,” and “Go Class” allow teachers to get immediate feedback to check for understanding. If you are looking to assess students on classroom participation, with just a tap of your finger in the My Class Talk app you award points and rank students participation in real time. If you want to assess students on their content knowledge, then the Socrative Teacher app allows you to create a quiz where you will receive a report and it’s even graded for you. These assessment apps are designed to make your everyday teacher tasks easier for you.
Teachers are organized people at heart. They know that in order to maintain a productive atmosphere, everything needs to have a place. With that said, it can get quite overwhelming to keep everything in order, so that is where technology can help you stay organized. Apps like Evernote and Dropbox make it easy to get, and stay organized in your classroom. Evernote allows students to create digital portfolios and organize their notebooks. Its ability to sync to multiple devices makes it easy to detail homework assignments and coordinate projects. With Dropbox, you no longer have to worry about copying papers, because all you have to do is share the link with your students or colleagues. Another added benefit of Dropbox is the ability to upload your assignments, class roster, and lesson plans. If you ever have an unexpected sick day, all you have to do is send a link to your school and the sub has everything she needs.
Routine tasks that used to take up so much of your time can now be done much quicker with these tech tools. With more free time, you are now able to focus on what you love the most, teaching. It doesn’t take any special skills or training. All you have to do download an app and you are on your way.
How do you think technology in the classroom has changed your day-to-day teacher tasks? Do you have any apps that you love? Please share your comments in the section below, we would love to hear what you have to say
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.