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Schools Starting: How is Your Teaching Going to Change

Pixabay The Excitement of Learning

As teachers the annual excitement of the first day of school permeates our being a couple of weeks before the doors actually open. There are the age-old questions we ponder as the days of summer wind down: What are my students going to be like? Will they be prepared as they enter my class? What new protocols will we have to implement?

The days prior to students arriving are filled with meetings on new procedures, introductions of new staff, and nowadays with COVID protocols. All of this is quite stressful, even for the most experienced teachers. Despite all of this there is the longing to get back in front of students, interact and establish new relationships, and view learning taking place.

Taking all of this into consideration this year is like no other. After a year of remote instruction for many teachers and students, the doors are open for students and staff with of course many changes. Hopefully, instruction will among them. Being that teachers had to ramp up their knowledge of technology usage and platform integrations, there is now a wealth of experience that can be utilized to enhance a student’s learning experience. Yes, there is still a place for pen and paper, repetition, and tests, but there are now more forward-thinking integrations of many practices.

Let’s start with Learning Management Systems (LMS). Whether a teacher utilized Canvas, Schoology, Google Classroom or others, students should have access 24/7 to content material and instruction. A simple video of a lesson takes 5-10 to produce and allows students to access it if they are issues with comprehension of directions and is easily embedded into any LMS. The various LMS’s have made significant advances in creating platforms that allow students to submit assignments through various modalities including videos, text, and oral recordings. Additionally, these platforms also provide options for third-party tools to easily integrate into lessons.

Instructional delivery platforms such as Nearpod, Pear Deck, and Google Slides create a more interactive learning experience as well. Students have a variety of learning options in well-crafted lesson that go beyond the one size-fits-all model incorporated for so many decades. And paramount to the content experience is the socio-emotional wellbeing of the students who have been off school grounds in some cases 16 months. Fortunately, software applications have factored this in as upgrades to their respective platforms. The end result will benefit both teachers and students as the transition from pure instruction to a more personalized approach to learning takes place.

As the year progresses my plan is to check in with my colleagues on their progress in this new year, both in the area of procedures and instruction. Teaching has changed and technology is here to stay. It is an exciting time for both teachers and students. Let’s see what is in hold for year.

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