An urban myth goes around saying that in the first couple of weeks of school you cannot control the chaos. Anxious students out of focus, paperwork, planning and trying to find your normal rhythm, all fall under teachers’ attributions and have to be managed at once. From time management, to finding educational resources and enabling functional communication channels, all these problems seem to affect educators at this time of the year.
The flip that education took toward technology can come in handy even in this kind of situations. That’s why if you succeed to find a proper educational toolkit to untangle all this fuss anticipatory, you will solve half of your problems with no headaches.
So which are the most beneficial educational tools to use for each problem in particular?
5 Teacher's Challenges and The Best Educational Tools to Address Them
- Time Management issues
If you ever felt the need to literally beat the clock, you have to seriously consider to clear your schedule and put all your tasks in order. Making lesson plans in advance, thinking through projects and owning a personal calendar can help in this kind of situations. One of the most basic tools that each educator should use is Google Calendar. It is free and can help you to always be in time for meetings and know your schedule at any given time. It sends friendly reminders on both email and phone. Add regular meetings, classes and always know your spare time. Moreover, organizing all your data can also save some time. You can use Dropbox or Evernote in this way. Learning to keep your data organized in the cloud is easy and convenient.
- Finding proper resources
When resources come up, it is only natural to think about budget. Although at the commencement of the school year educators already have a plan in mind, it is always gratifying to find new resources, especially if they are free. In this matter, platforms like Teachers Pay Teachers are more than welcomed. Structured as an open market of resources, you can find many things there, from lesson plans to printables or all kind of fun stuff for your class. Another way to catch some good offers are flash deal websites such as Educents. Here you can find various educational resources at a discounted price or even for free.
- Getting to know your students
Regardless if your students change from year to year, they all develop new skills, new habits and grow new perceptions year after year. That’s why it is always important to know the children whom you are going to work with. You can use a survey to make icebreakers and all kind of activities. You can use TeacherVision for inspiration or use a free online survey tool to create online questionnaires and have student complete them on computer or other gadgets. It can be great for a course beginning as you can customize it to fit your needs and use it to find out important facts about your new students.
- Adapting class activities
Children have become accustomed to new technologies and are always eager to learn new skills and discover fun activities. Thus, educators have the task to always come with new educational apps, new ideas for projects and ways to keep them interested while learning. More and more educators are accepting gamification as part of their teaching routine. To get some inspiration and maybe to see how other benefit from such apps, you can see Fun Brain, Math Chimp or Smart Kit. In addition you can use online quizzes, iPad educational apps or find new group activities form the class. You can always check websites such as Scholastic which have great resources and online activities.
- Ease communication with parents
With a simple form builder you can get closer than ever to parents. For example, with 123ContactForm you can create forms to request feedback, to gather information and have everything centralized in a solid database. Web forms have so many possible uses: from teacher appraisal to field trip approval or even school fundraising. Forms are easy to create, do not require any special skills and are effective to use. In addition, you can also use a tool like WDWDT, a custom messaging system that enables information about students’ whereabouts and eases communication with parents. You have to always give parents access to the school status of their children, let them contribute to school activities if they wish and make them feel involved in the educational process.
These are just a few of the educational tools and educational resources which you can use to facilitate certain tasks or to improve your workflow. New educational apps emerge each day, we just have to select the proper ones that will bring us the most favorable outcome. What kind of educational apps and tools did you use for this school year beginning?
Laura Iancu is currently part of the 123ContactForm team, an online form and survey builder accessible for educators all around the world. Laura’s dedication to volunteerism has crossed borders, she has extensive expertise in managing social and educational projects and always keeps an eye on new initiatives.Website: www.123contactform.com