Time is precious when you're a new teacher and it can often seem as though there's never enough of it. Luckily, technology can become your best friend if used effectively to support you and cut down your workload.
Here are five simple tech tools that will make that workload a lot more manageable -and fun:
1. Google Keep
This is a brilliant organisational app and website that helps you:
- take notes (perfect for staff meetings or training sessions)
- set reminders (will get you to the meeting or lesson on time)
- share things (your colleagues will be in the loop about your new lesson ideas)
- make checklists (ticking off your hundredth ‘to-do’ item has never felt better)
- create voice and photo notes (excellent for evidencing work i.e. reading and writing)
- keep things safe (the app syncs to the cloud, so don’t panic when you drop your phone in your tea)
- search for things (notes are quickly and easily retrievable)
- colour code (solving that little bit of OCD in you)
Working as part of a team can be tricky at times. “I didn’t know you were using that activity sheet” is a saying you don’t want to hear. OneDrive is a brilliant cloud storage tool that makes sharing your lessons and resources a doddle.
After you have created the documents - or even during - simply click the share button and enter your colleagues’ names. You can give them editing rights (brilliant for collaborative work) or limit them to view only (they can still make their own copy and edit that to suit their class).
Finally, don’t be caught out by not being able to find that important spreadsheet during a meeting. OneDrive organises all of your files and it is very easy and quick to search.
Assessment takes time and there’s no way around that. But tech can certainly speed up the process.
Socrative is an online test maker (available as an app, too) and is perfect for when you reach the end of your Roman’s topic. Simply input the questions, make up a variety of multiple choice answers and Socrative will do the rest.
Student’s find it non-threatening (branding it a "mini-quiz" is a stroke of genius) and really enjoy taking them. The app then marks everything and gives you a simple, visual report of how the students have fared.
You will kick yourself for not setting up a class blog and Wordpress is the one for you. Why?
- it’s an effective record of what you are doing with your class
- you can create an audience for your students’ brilliant work
- it helps you communicate in a meaningful way with parents
- it is a fantastic way to evidence learning; just write ‘see blog’ in the pupils’ books
- you should show off a little bit: you and your class are working really hard and doing wonderful things, so let the world see.
5. TED-Ed Lessons
It is great when you get an idea and run with it but you don’t need to reinvent the wheel for every lesson you teach.
TED-Ed lessons are absolutely brilliant. They are online and readymade by teachers around the globe. Simply search for the topic you are teaching and up pops a shed load of options.
Most of the lessons are structured well, starting with a video, then discussion questions and finally a task.
I hope these ideas will help you in what is a busy but rewarding profession – good luck.
Neil Jarrett is a Year 6 teacher at an international school in Bangkok. He tweets from @EdtechNeil and his blog is EdTech4Beginners.
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