The Tech Apps that Teachers Need
Teachers need another thing to do like most students need more candy right after breakfast.
That’s why educators cringe when administrators talk about new initiatives or want to pilot a new tech program. Teachers know it means playing catch up in an effort to onboard themselves and their students.
Instead, schools that are serious about improving edtech efficacy should provide teachers with the tech that they need in three specific areas: planning, instruction & assessment, and grading.
Back in the day, teachers routinely gathered by grade level or department after a critical assessment to analyze the data their tests had generated. They sat before gridded paper, marking responses, highlighting trends, and making notes about the learning paths they wanted to map out.
In spite of how much time it took, the data analysis was critical for driving instruction.
Modern technology has changed that approach. Data-driven insights have never been easier or quicker to gather and interpret, thanks to software like Edutopia! and Classcraft. Management systems that track student achievement and behavior can save teams of teachers vast amounts of time.
Instruction & Assessment
It’s hard to trust something you didn’t build yourself. That may explain why some teachers have been reluctant to incorporate edtech tools in instruction and assessment. Technology can facilitate learning and testing, making the teacher’s work easier while improving student engagement.
Apps like Flipgrid inspire students to engage in learning communities by responding to questions with voice and video uploads. Learners jump into discussions, encourage each other, and show off what they know. Teachers evaluate the quality of responses.
Educators measure academic growth throughout the year, carefully noting progress and areas for reteaching. While having too many apps can be overwhelming, measuring formative growth has never been easier. The edtech market boasts dozens of free or nearly free apps that assist teachers in quizzing, grading so they can take their students through the curriculum.
For example, Yacapaca is one of many available quiz-builders, and Socrative engages students through gamification. Apps like these encourage student involvement while reducing the traditional workload for teachers.
Ever wonder what’s in those canvas bags teachers carry back and forth to school? Often it’s the lunch they never had time to eat and stacks of papers to grade.
Although teachers work more than six hours a day with their students, they still must grade student work. That often means taking it home, checking the answers and providing written feedback.
Writing comments can be time-consuming, and that’s why apps like Kaizena and Voxer exist. Teachers can leave voice comments for students, and that can make grading up to 75% faster. Not only are the voice comments quicker to make, but teachers are more likely to leave more detailed feedback. A bonus is that many of the voice apps allow teachers to create rubrics, make explainer videos, and initiate ongoing discussion.
There’s an endless amount of education technology available to teachers. Support your teachers by incorporating helpful apps in only a few areas. Teachers don’t need an app for everything. They need apps that that help them do their jobs better.