Teachers give emotional support and encourage emotional development
Watch any sci-fi movie and there’s a theme you’ll see time and time again: faceless, nameless robots who don’t know how to feel, emboldened by their lack of empathy to take over the Earth and shape it in their image (or some such storyline). Now, we’re not saying that this is definitely going to happen if we keep losing teachers at the rate which we already are; but like most fiction, there’s a grain of truth in there that we could (and should) learn from.
Learning, especially learning something new, is a struggle. It’s tough to encounter some new information or some new rule, internalise it and to apply it in a novel situation. That’s why children don’t always want to learn: because it’s hard, and it takes effort and perseverance. When they can, teachers do their best to help their students develop those all-important skills, and to teach them that it’s natural to feel frustrated and even angry at a tricky problem.
And on top of that, teachers play an absolutely vital role in helping their students to tackle bullies and the emotional fallout they cause. As much as we love them, VLEs can’t do that.
Teachers teach values and ideals, not just facts and figures
And while classrooms aren’t just about learning facts and figures, they aren’t just about emotional development either. They’re also for learning about culture and society, and the values that we’ve adopted as a civilisation. In conjunction with our tools for teaching online, we as teachers are tasked with teaching the values that we’ve fought for: things like free speech, the importance of standing up to bullies and ‘bad people’, and hard work and effort.
If teachers are taken from the equation, all we have left is the cold online world where, frankly, these ideals are less important. On top of that, it’s difficult to really understand why something like, say, the ideal of free speech is so important from a YouTube video or from social media. These things are a product of our society- of the people- so really, they can only be taught to others by people.
The inclusion of digital technology shouldn’t mean the exclusion of teachers: the two work best together.
Taken on their own, online teaching software and virtual learning environments are excellent for giving students a structure for their learning. We aren’t going to argue that point today. But what we do say is that if students were, excuse the pun, left to their own devices and told to learn on their own with no input from a teacher- nothing would get done.
Students need somebody to guide them through online environments, because let’s face it, especially older systems can be tricky beasts to understand, although newer services are becoming ever more intuitive and easy to mould to the way you already teach. When used properly, virtual learning environments are an amazing tool for getting your job done, and they help you to enhance your students learning.
Google aren’t satisfied with owning (and monitoring!) half the world. Google Classroom is one of their latest ventures, and it’s their first stab at e-learning and mobile learning software. It’s a decent first attempt, but we think there’s a really important thing they get wrong. The basis of any amazing VLE has to be education, education, education: but true to form, Google’s Classroom is designed with advertisers in mind just as much as students. Read on to find out exactly what we mean.
What do Google get right?
The very many tools that Google offer are popular for a reason. Typically, they bring out the best of new technological advances, and add their own twist. Take Google Drive: it was introduced in 2012, right at the beginning of the cloud revolution, and it cemented its place in the market both because of the omnipresence of Google- everyone has a Gmail account- and because of its genuine functionality. As of 2017, Google Drive holds over two trillion files and has 800 million active users.
Google’s Classroom is their attempt to force their way into the emerging VLE market. It has many of the features commonly found in virtual learning environment software, and offers the same sorts of benefits: it saves time and paper, organises classwork in one place, and enables quick and easy communication with students. The other Google Classroom pros are its simplicity- it’s very easy to navigate- and its compatibility with Google’s other apps. Apart from that, it’s all par for the course for e-learning software.
Google Classroom vs other VLEs is therefore not much more than a personal choice. Perhaps you like the idea of your students finding it easy to use because of its compatibility with many of Google’s apps for Android and iPhone. Perhaps that doesn’t appeal to you. But where Google’s Classroom succeeds as an effective VLE, it fails because of Google’s insistence on pandering to its advertisers.
What do Google get wrong?
The problem is that like many of Google’s offerings, their focus isn’t always on providing a great service to you, but providing a great service to their advertisers. Remember, everything that you Google search is collected, collated and sold to advertisers so that they can better market their products. The websites you find through Google search, or visit on Google Chrome, are similarly analysed.
This is where Google’s Classroom falls down. Google make almost all of their profits from their Google Adsense service, so it’s no surprise that they want to monetise as many of their offerings as possible. But this really is fundamentally incompatible with e-learning software, which should always be for- well, learning, not marketing. Put simply, the monetisation of Google’s Classroom is a step in the wrong direction.
Director Seoro Oh from South Korea beautifully captures and takes to a new level the struggle to stay awake that many of us have suffered in our time, and have watched students in our classes struggle with as well… or maybe not!
Beyond the wonderfully imaginative ways fatigue is animated and brought so cleverly to life – enough to inspire any young animator… we DO have to ask why the class in this film is so traditional? Haven’t they heard of the flipped classroom and filling class time with group work? Hopefully this short acts as a double inspiration for how we can avoid creating the circumstances for students to ever fall asleep in our classrooms at all?!?!
Teaching in the digital age can be challenging. With both the emergence of technologies being introduced into education as well as students’ growing digital literacy, some teachers may find it difficult and even intimidating to incorporate digital platforms in their classrooms. Virtual learning environments make this task easier. We at Quickclass believe that VLEs are most effective when paired with traditional education formulas, incorporating this platform into your students’ curriculums. Here are three methods worth considering to make the most out of your VLE.
1 – Using a VLE to open communication and improve collaboration
A fear that often plagues teachers when introducing VLEs in their curriculum is losing student engagement. However, VLEs and other digital education platforms can help increase communication between teachers and their students as well as boost peer collaboration and activity.
With forum and chat room functions on VLEs, teachers are able to provide another platform for students to get in touch and voice their questions or concerns. VLEs also allow teachers to give their students in depth assessment feedback without taking up class time. Between classes and work, many students find it difficult to dedicate time to meeting up in groups. VLE forums also allow students come together for group projects and activities online instead of needing to always find a way to meet within their often busy schedules.
2 – Setting clear expectations
Digital technology and VLEs allow you as a teacher to set out clear guidelines for your students and help outline your expectations of your class. By integrating a VLE into your curriculum you are given the perfect opportunity to set clear expectations for your students. By setting lesson outlines as well as stating desired project outcomes, your students are able to clearly appreciate what’s required from a certain project or assignment. VLEs are also great portals for uploading practice exams and previous assessments so your students can fully gauge what they should be aiming for. You can also upload class schedules and entire curriculums so students can stay on top of their timetables and know what to expect throughout an academic year which not only allows for a better learning experience but also ensures awareness of your expectations.
3 – Using data to guide learning
Educators are generally advised to base their lessons on data. It can be increasingly difficult to flesh out lesson plans when each student varies in learning practice and preference. Here, a VLE comes in handy. By uploading further resources for your class, each student can decide on their preferred method of learning by accessing the tools you provide digitally in addition to the lessons and information you deliver in class, creating a well rounded experience for your students. By supplying your students with supplemental information, you also allow them to continue expanding their learning outside the classroom as well as feel they are more actively involved in their own educations.
VLEs are a wonderful way to supplement many already successful teaching models. Students can find a nurturing and collaborative environment online and can access it from anywhere, whether at school, home or even on the go.
When you look into a classroom today, it can often seem like traditional learning methods are nowhere to be found. New technologies and educational services allow students to turn away from encyclopedias and experience an immersive, interactive and accessible education. From tablets to 3D-printers, here are some of the ways the digital age is reshaping education.
1 – Paper is a thing of the past
According to Professor Neil Selwyn of Montash University, textbooks will disappear from the classroom within a decade. A growing number of teachers are opting to expand learning into a digital atmosphere by providing students with tablets and computers in the place of traditional reading materials. Students today use tablets, computers, digital blackboards and even their phones to educate themselves. Not only does the transfer to digital education benefit the environment, but it expands educational boundaries so students can continue to learn outside the classroom.
2 – ‘Flipped education’ is the learning of the future
Besides allowing students to access educational sources at home, incorporating digital technology in the classroom also helps revolutionise ways of learning. By allowing students to interact with their learning materials, you teach them to actively seek knowledge instead of just passively consume information from a teacher. This turns students into independent learners who can use their internet at home to continue learning.
3 – Digital education benefits parents too
It’s almost certain that with evolving education policies, parents sometimes struggle with helping their children at home, whether it’s with homework or class projects. Introducing digital learning in your classroom will help parents and guardians of your students have access to their children’s courses as well, which will allow them to provide full support at home.
4 – Digital learning does not limit itself to Wikipedia
Turning to digital education doesn’t mean surrendering strong academia for sources like Wikipedia. There is a world of digital platforms available via the internet that allow your students to have a well-rounded and expansive education. Students can use the web and a growing number of social networks not only to converse with other students across the globe but also to access information that might not be readily available to them through and other academic platforms, which will only add to the education they are receiving in a classroom.
As far as digital learning has come, it is sure to expand in the next few years. With advances in 3D and virtual reality technology, it’s possible to see a future where students can experience and see what they’re learning within the comfort of their school or home. By adopting digital learning and embracing the wonders the internet brings to education, the sense of ‘classroom’ is at the students’ fingertips.
Along with Health, women rights, LGBT safety, and friendliness to Muslims, the new administration (Note, Quickclass refuses to write his name.) has a dastardly choice to ‘lead’ education in the US. Her name is Betsy DeVos, and she is, as is utterly to-be-expected, hideous. So much so that is actually took VP Pence to break the Senate tie to confirm her. Unpresidented for a cabinet nominee.
One of our favourite satirical go-to’s, The Onion, is mercifully, managing to see the funny side of the new insanity with this brilliantly summarised list of why, in fact, Betsy is great.
“Betsy DeVos was confirmed by a 51-50 Senate vote Tuesday to run the Department of Education. Here’s how President Trump’s controversial cabinet pick plans to change the nation’s education policy:
Relax unrealistically strict standards for secretary of education
Modify Title IX to allow invisible hand of the market to sort out any student rape cases that may arise
Identify at-risk students and do nothing whatsoever
Ensure that all students, regardless of background, receive the opportunity to bask in the shining light of Christ
Let low-income parents choose which one of their children gets to go to school
Create emergency vocational program for cabinet members who lack proficiency and are way out of their depth
Place power for establishing gym class floor hockey rules back in states’ hands where it belongs
Require free- and reduced-lunch recipients to prostrate themselves before the principal at mealtimes
Steer tax dollars away from failing, fundamentally defective public school students”
(reprinted without permission but with utter reverence and respect to TheOnion.com. They’ll understand.)
In today’s educational environment, it is common to hear scholars talk about the importance of teaching students to work alongside digital mediums. We have written about it in various articles. However, even though we’re all aware of how a digital understanding is important, most people tend to focus on digital skills instead of digital literacy. The difference between the two may seem slight until you look more closely. Taking social media as an example, digital skills describe how to tweet or post to Instagram while digital literacy is about educating students why social platforms are more beneficial to them than traditional or private forums, particularly for film related content. Digital literacy is therefore not only teaching students how to use technology but also how to use it in order to reach its full potential.
Maha Bali, an associate professor of practice and the Center of Learning and Teaching at the American University in Cairo explains that adopting a curriculum that focuses on digital literacy means teaching progressively rather than sequentially which allows students to grasp concepts and lessons more easily over time. When approaching digital literacy with students, you must first show them the variety they have to choose from, informing them of the ins and outs of each individual option. Once they’re aware of the choices they have they can make an informed and literate choice as to which will suit them best for the shot or story they’re trying to tell.
However, deep understanding of new technologies doesn’t make for a literate student. In order for students to fully comprehend the digital platforms available to us, they must also understand the risks. You may find that in teaching students, particularly younger ones, that they often don’t see the full spectrum of responsibility that comes with the digital age, particularly with regards to social media. As the current generation of students has been raised with social media, they can be blind to the adverse effects that come along with embracing digital technology. You must therefore clearly inform students that they should be careful what they post online and also teach them to understand whether their day to day platforms and profiles are what they want the world to associate with them professionally.
You can teach digital literacy alongside teaching students digital skills and how to use the technology that has so become a part of today’s film industry. By teaching certain skills alongside digital literacy, students should be able to make fully informed decisions to develop a well-rounded understanding of the digital world, essential to life after their studies.
Primary school teachers have confirmed plans to settle old scores by making their most annoying students into Nativity Play innkeepers.
As role allocation deadlines approach, some teachers have confirmed that challenging behaviour over 2016 may result in being a donkey or a Roman soldier who doesn’t get to say anything.
Year 2 teacher Nikki Hollis said: “Millie is the obvious choice for Mary, but I can’t get over that time in October when she hid all the glue sticks and blamed it on Charlie.”
“I really want Connor to be Joseph because he’s always so polite and kind, but it’s a dead cert that he’ll either cry or wet himself onstage… that decides it, he’s Joseph.”
Year 6 teacher Tom Logan said: “My Three Wise Men? Those little geniuses who drank out of a puddle last week.
“And Jo, with the racist dad, is playing the non-denominational guiding Star of Hope.”
Meanwhile, public schools confirmed that they would be honouring the tradition of awarding lead roles to the children whose parents made the largest seasonal donations.”[Inspired (with less swearing) by an article in the Daily Mash]