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Edtech tools can prove invaluable to teachers who have limited time to juggle planning, teaching, and grading.
According to the National Council on Teacher Quality (2012), the average teacher in the United States gets 45 minutes of planning time per day. If a teacher has five classes, that gives them just 9 minutes per class to create an engaging lesson that meets the needs of every student in the room.
Needless to say, educators don’t have nearly enough time to plan lessons. The easiest solution to this problem would be to give teachers more prep time. However, as that seems unlikely to happen, here are six ways that teachers can use edtech tools to save time.
1. Find a learning management system that works for you
Learning management systems such as Google Classroom, Schoology, or Seesaw can drastically cut down on the time needed to assign in-class work or homework. With just a few clicks, a teacher can push out an assignment to all of their students instead of having to waste time at the printer. Each learning management system operates a little differently, so you should experiment with a couple of them to see which one works for you.
2. Auto-grading assignments
A report by Scholastic (2012) states that the average teacher spends 90 minutes a day grading at home. Thankfully, there are plenty of websites that offer auto-grading assignments such as Nearpod, Google Forms, or Quizlet. These websites are easy to use and even generate graphs to provide you with data on how well your students did on each assignment. Less time spent on grading means more time to look at assessment data to determine what your students need to cover in their next lesson.
3. Virtual checklists
Time management is a skill many people struggle with, and teachers are no exception. With the seemingly endless amount of work on every teacher’s plate, virtual checklists can be a great way to remind yourself of what needs to be done and when. Websites like Checkli or Microsoft Outlook let you set up checklists to help keep yourself organized. You can even integrate them with your online calendar to send you reminders of upcoming deadlines. Online checklists could also be a great tool to share with your students, who probably need a lot more help with time management than you do.
4. Organize your files
There’s nothing worse than knowing exactly what document you need, but having to waste precious time searching for it because you have no idea where you saved it. Taking 10 minutes to organize your files in Google Drive or a similar website can save you plenty of headaches in the future. Come up with different categories of files and make a folder for each one. Once each file is sorted into the correct folder, it will be much easier to find what you’re looking for. Don’t forget to continue the habit by sorting every new file you make into the correct spot.
5. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel
When coming up with assessments or learning activities, it is quite likely that somebody else has already done your work for you. Learning management systems often have community sections where teachers can upload their creations for anyone to use. Websites for making auto-graded assignments usually have the same feature. If you know what you need to teach, taking a few minutes to search for a relevant activity or assessment created by someone else can save you tons of time and even give you new ideas for how to teach that topic in the future.
Now that you have some ideas on how to save time using ed-tech tools, don’t forget that collaborating with your fellow educators is the best way to ease your workload. A 2007 study found that educators who participated in professional learning communities are more effective than those who didn’t. Taking the time to discuss teaching strategies, time-saving methods, and student achievement with your colleagues will make you a much better educator. They might even have their own methods of using technology that could make your job a lot easier. Work smart, not hard.
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