Creativity – How Technology Pushes Teachers to go Deeper

Blog » Creativity – How Technology Pushes Teachers to go Deeper

For most educators in March 2020, there might have been a feeling of dread as COVID-19 forced everything to move online. Most teachers depend heavily on physical interaction in the classroom to measure mastery of subject matter, to build community among students, and to implement adequate classroom management. The in-person classroom enables teachers to use a variety of tools for all learning styles, especially those students who learn through kinesthetic or tactile means.

However, while the online classroom might be more challenging to implement the same objectives, teachers have a new and unique opportunity to grow in their approach.

Here are five practical ways teachers can make the online classroom more creative, fun, and interactive include:

  1. Creating collaborative spaces for off-line learning
  2. Using props
  3. Online tools such as quiz games, flashcards, and learning management systems
  4. TPR (Total Physical Response)
  5. Setting up a fun background that can be used in the lessons

Offline Collaboration Spaces

One of the most important roles of a teacher is to help facilitate a healthy classroom environment and community. Safe, healthy classroom environments make space for students to learn organically from each other. It also encourages students to make mistakes without fear of judgement which results in learning from mistakes and promotes risk taking. When students meet in-person, it’s easier for them to establish friendships outside of school, but online learning is a bit more challenging. Teachers who create spaces for students to collaborate in the classroom and outside helps facilitate classroom community. Today, there are many ways students interact online whether good or bad. Creating collaboration that’s monitored by the teacher makes for a safer option for students to interact online. Examples of students collaborating offline could be group projects, online forums, or creating a blog for students to post responses to. In the online space, it’s easier to monitor offline activities by involving the students’ parents. At ConnectEd, our teachers believe building rapport with students and their parents is imperative to facilitate this offline space that helps supplement what students are learning during class time.

Using Props

Association in the classroom helps students remember certain concepts, and classroom rules, without having to re-teach. The use of props is a specific way that association can help both teachers and students. Teachers’ classroom management can benefit from the use of props, and a student’s ability to retain and remember key objectives of a lesson can be helped by the use of props. For example, some teachers use stop signs to indicate that students need to be quiet, or they can remind students of the different animal classifications by associating certain props to each type; mammal, bird, reptile, etc.

Online Learning Tools

At ConnectEd, our teachers deploy a variety of learning tools to engage their students in the online classroom and outside. Such tools include question banks, matching exercises, drawings, practice exams, and mind maps. Our teachers also post assignments in our learning management system that connect to real-life usage of both maths and science. Other fun tools include digital flashcards and interactive quiz games like Kahoot! Students enjoy using such tools throughout the week to keep their minds activated and thinking about course material.

TPR (Total Physical Response)

Total physical response is a teaching style to teach language and vocabulary. It is word association with physical gestures. This style of teaching works with a variety of subjects other than foreign language learning. For example, in the maths classroom for young learners, teachers often make gestures for addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and “the sum of” with their arms. Having the students mimic their teacher’s gestures helps them get involved with their learning, and it creates moments for students to call upon when trying to remember which symbol does what. This type of movement and activity is possible in the online classroom, and it does more than just help students make associations, it also keeps them engaged and involved in the learning process.

Setting Up Fun Background

Setting up a classroom with learning tools, mind maps, classroom rules, and bulletin boards are some ways that teachers set up their in-person classrooms. An online classroom has one frame, and a way teachers can get creative is to re-create a scaled-down version of their physical classrooms. Teachers can use calendars in their backgrounds to track progress and set goals with their students. Maths teachers might post visual aids that help students remember specific equations or geometric shapes. Science teachers, covering different life cycles, could post the water cycle diagram. The ideas are endless for teachers as they seek to create a unique space. The key to a successfully creative background is to keep it aligned with the overall class objectives and curriculum so that they act as teaching aids as well as being visually appealing. Changing backgrounds over time can get students excited about what will be posted next!

For those teaching online, you know it has not been easy, but surely, you’ve also seen the ways it has pushed you as a teacher to be more creative in your online space. Perhaps it’s meant longer lesson planning or more research on technology and the use of it in education, but it’s also definitely rewarding to see students still engaged and succeeding in the classroom. For our ConnectEd teachers, they’ve been encouraged to see scores improve through their teaching style and creativity in the classroom.

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