Monday, December 5, 2011

Technology: If you lived here you'd be home by now.

Today I have a work day for the end of the trimester at school and I am reflecting on how much more focused it seems to be than in the past. I think that technology is to thank for this new-found focus. Last week the #pencilchat discussion was very therapeutic for me in being able to see some of our tech-frustrations through the lens of an older, more accepted, piece of "technology"--the pencil.

As I work today I thought of how things used to be when I first started teaching and these are some of the big time savers for me:
1. Gradebook is now web-based: In the past, grades were entered into a grade book program and much time on this workday was given to printing off grades and re-entering them into a different electronic program. Three or four other steps used to be required if I also wanted to post those grades online for parents and students and those grades were only as accurate as the last time I remembered to post. Don't get me wrong, there is still work involved on staying caught up on grades. 
2. Student assignments graded automatically: Staying caught up on grades is a lot more efficient--at least for the assignments that I can use an electronic grading system. Students submit work electronically with Google forms and I open a dashboard that shows their scores across the unit of study. Here I still have to enter the grades one at a time to my grade book because our grade platform does not believe there is a way to get a webpage to behave like a spreadsheet in pasting data columns--apparently they haven't heard of Google Spreadsheets? 
3. No seating charts: I don't make seating charts anymore for my students. (Click here for a post on how I do attendance without a chart). This is one area that seemed forced and too different from what happens in the real world. I find students are much more comfortable in working with people they are already know and I don't have them asking for a new seating chart anymore. It still is important to provide opportunities to work with a variety of students but seating charts don't have to deliver those opportunities (and seldom do). I do still have the occasional student that needs to be moved for the day to help them refocus but it isn't that often.
On my work day I have actually been able to spend time working on the next unit, creating a pretest, talking with other teachers in the building about the flipped classroom approach, current grading practices, and reflecting in this blog post. Perhaps these are the things that our work day is intended for? Without some help from my friend technology I would not have been as productive today.

1 comment:

  1. Nice simple reflection on how technology has saved you time in the classroom. Keeping it simple seems easy to do, but so many educators are overly eager to try the latest tech tool and forget why they're doing it. Seems like you have a handle on what works for you. Keep it up!