By Wendy Verdaasdonk
How Technology Can Support Your Classroom
Teachers experience high pressure at work, and how can you not when there is such a challenging workload. According to a study by the National Foundation for Educational Research, one in five teachers feel tense in their job most of the time. Of course, for certain things, there is nothing we can do, however much we want to. But there are a few aspects where digital resources can help you. In this blog, we will give you some tips on how to use edtech in an efficient way to help you lighten the load where we can.
Not As Different As You Might Think
You might feel that introducing a new method of learning won’t make it easier on you to teach. But not all digital tools are so different from the methods you’re already using in the classroom. For example, the newest content for ages 5 - 7 on Mangahigh introduces tons of digital manipulatives of real-life teaching tools, of which bar models, numicons and counting on your hands are a few examples. These are recognisable for both you and your students, which makes the transition period a little easier.
A tip when you are still looking for a tool to use; many edtech tools follow different known pedagogical theories. Try and find a tool that follows a theory that you already have been using in your classroom so it can match your teaching style. For example, the Mangahigh maths content follows the concrete, pictorial, abstract (CPA) approach. We have implemented it in the new activities for the youngest learners which are built up to show recognisable real-life examples and move into abstract figures and actual numbers. For example, when teaching counting up until 20, children will answer questions using counting on your fingers, counting dots and recognising and counting numbers. If this is a theory that you already feel comfortable using in your classroom, it makes it easier for you to introduce the tool into your teaching strategy and to your students.
The Real Time Saver: Reporting on Progress
As you know, all children have different needs, work on different levels and at different paces. And since you work with your students everyday, you have an excellent understanding of what each child is like, and know how to work with them. However, we know that keeping that clear overview and seeing the exact progress and efforts of every child can be difficult, or the very least time and energy consuming.
A beneficial element of some digital resources is the reporting functionality many now have. The reports often include progress and efforts data of your students that you (and only you and possibly your colleagues) can access at any time. At Mangahigh.com, it looks something like this:
If you use this data in a smart and efficient way, this can be a really great tool for you to lighten your assessment time and reduce the time you spend on checking their work. Just by looking at the progress report you can often analyse the efforts of an entire class or of each student individually. For Mangahigh specifically, the reports include data about how many times a student has attempted an activity, if they successfully completed it and at what level (bronze, silver or gold) they completed it at. Progress reports on digital tools make it very easy to identify students that are doing really well and could handle a more difficult task, and also students who need a bit more support.
Lesson Planning Inspiration
We empathise when inspiration for your lesson planning can sometimes run a bit dry. When you have a digital tool that you use, it can be helpful to browse around on there to find some inspiration. You might find some activities that you haven’t used before and that can be a fresh starting point to create a lesson with. Keep in mind, that when it comes to using digital tools in the classroom, we always recommend a blended approach.
Hopefully you’ve found some inspiration to use digital tools in new ways in your classroom. If you haven’t tried Mangahigh out yet, you can use the full platform in a completely free trial to see if it would be a great fit for you and your class. Get a free trial now, or contact us for more information.