Tech Tools to Launch Your Virtual Teaching into 2021
January 6, 2021
There are so many online resources out there! Where do you begin? How do you know which ones are worth the time investment to learn? And most importantly, which ones have free options that actually fit your needs? I took all of this into consideration when putting together this list. I want this year to be your best ever, and as challenging as that may seem, we are here to support you in making this happen. Let’s begin tackling 2021 with tenacity by taking our teaching tech tools to the top level!
When I think about teaching in general, there are core areas that we tend to focus our time and energy into building and maintaining. We focus on these areas to bring MORE into our classroom – whether we are teaching in-person or virtually, these focus areas are important and impactful. From Management to Organization to Relationships to Engagement, if we want to be successful with our students virtually, we need to have MORE tools in our teaching toolbox to address these areas.
Tech Tool: Common Curriculum
Are you looking for a way to manage lesson planning virtually? Do you long for an app that allows you to plug in your standards, collaborate with other teachers, and house all your lesson supports and resources in one place? Check our Common Curriculum. For a free option that actually has a lot to offer, I absolutely love this app. You can search for standards by keyword and instantly attach to your lesson. There are tons of pre-made templates, all of it is easily accessible, and lesson plans can be created in just a few short minutes.
Tech Tool: Wakelet
One of the challenges of teaching virtually is figuring out a solution for organizing all of those student-facing lesson resources. You want it to be easily accessible for students while also being easy to learn and navigate. You want it to look professional and feel like you’ve got your stuff together (literally and figuratively!) Welcome to Wakelet. This app allows you to quickly organize your lesson supports and resources all in one place. Similar to Google Sites, it’s easy to create and can easily be sent out to your students through a shared link.
Tech Tool: Class Dojo
So, it sounds kind of weird to say that there is an app out there to help build relationships with our students. But isn’t this whole world we are navigating right now pretty weird? Class Dojo has been around for many years, but I feel like it’s use can have a lasting impact in the virtual classroom. Our students love feeling validated. They want us to see what they bring to the table and appreciate their unique abilities and strengths. With Class Dojo, you can give students points for all of their achievements – big or small, to let them know that you notice their effort and appreciate who they are. Did one of your students persevere through a difficult task? Have they show an act of kindness? Did they simply show up? All of these are achievements that can warrant recognition, and through Class Dojo you can award them accordingly. What do they do with all of these points? Well, that’s the fun part and totally up to you! Maybe after accumulating so many points, award them time in a virtual game room like this one. Or, set up a raffle for things like homework passes, free time, or a virtual lunch with you.
Tech Tool: Prevent the Spread Virtual PBL
The virtual nature of online class can leave students feeling disconnected and disengaged. Let’s face it, when going to work everyday means hopping out of bed, throwing on a somewhat suitable outfit, and opening your computer screen, it can make doing anything more than staring at a screen feel like a difficult task. The great thing is that we can change that! What is holding us back from motivating our students to do work that actually matters – even if it is in front of a computer screen?
Let’s make them WANT to show up everyday by having them do projects that matter. This virtual PBL unit walks students through how they can prevent the spread of germs and motivate others to do the same. It gives them a voice and a sense of agency – and empowers them to make their voices heard. It is just the work that our students need to be doing right now.
Choose Your Tools
So, let’s do this! Let’s jump into this new year with new ideas and put them to use in new ways. Let’s show the world that we are ready to tackle any challenge, and show our students that we are excited and equipped to bring MORE into our virtual classrooms!
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