Implementation Tips: Software For Teachers & Coaches
The first step for teachers and coaches is deciding which software eLearning program to use. After that, however, it’s up to you to decide how to implement that program.
Here are some of our favorite tips.
- Have your content ready beforehand.
How many people have been sitting in a lecture hall, or even just a classroom, while the teacher messes with the computer? It takes forever, and something always goes wrong. That time is a huge detriment to student learning. Not only does it take up valuable time that could be spent in actual lessons, but it starts the lesson on a scattered, distracted note. This applies both to the students and to the teacher. There are very few students who will wait patiently and quietly for teachers to set up some complicated software.
Most likely, while setting up any software during class, the students will become restless and possibly unruly. Keeping them quiet and engaged is always a task, but when there’s a disruption in routine, that becomes a doubly-dangerous situation. According to American Radio Works Public Radio, teachers must take advantage of the first part of class to get everyone focused and engaged. Otherwise, they might as well just use a recorded lecture that the students can start when they’re ready rather than forcing everyone to wait until the teacher is ready.
Avoid this mistake by having everything ready well before the lesson. Walk yourself through the setup several times, until you’re very comfortable with the process, and have everything ready for when the students arrive.
- Know that you can source content from anywhere.
Teachers are very hands-on professionals. The upside of that is that we’re usually very engaged in our jobs, and always on the front lines interacting with the students as well as attempting to find proper educational materials.
The downside is that sometimes, we forget we don’t have to do everything ourselves.
There are thousands of great lessons available for eLearning platforms. Teachers have been creating them around the globe for years now. Creating content by yourself is a great resource, but it’s not the only resource. Look into lessons that are similar to the ones you were going to create. Chances are, there’s another fantastic teacher just like you that’s already taken the hard work out of it. This can save you a ton of time that you can spend with students instead, or actually enjoying downtime instead of always cramming for the next lesson.
- Use a hosted solution
There are many solutions for those who use eLearning platforms. The basic choice is between a hosted solution, and between content that is installed and managed by the teacher himself (or herself).
For eLearning software set-up, especially at first, we strongly recommend using a hosted solution. There are many benefits to using something like this. For one thing, hosted servers are usually more reliable than those at any individual school. If you live in an area with bad service, this can be a huge detriment to your own hosting.
For another, this saves a lot of time and effort on the teacher’s part. There’s a world of content available, and the same goes for hosting solutions. Someone, somewhere, has already taken the work out of it for you. Appreciate their efforts, and take it.
- Maximize student experience.
It comes as no surprise to any teacher to say that students have low attention spans.
Any teacher who has ever been hit with a paper airplane or spitball, or just been treated to the sight of a classroom full of closed, sleepy eyes can attest to that. Even the best and most focused students are still children. Their brains are still developing, and many of them just simply don’t have great attention spans for lectures.
While this seems at odds with the fact that those same students can sit and play the same video game for twenty hours straight on a weekend with an energy drink, consider the application. Students have a low attention span when they’re bored, yes.
But students react very positively to FUN and ENGAGING content. Fun and engaging does not have to be hilarious or YouTube viral quality. But it does have to capture their interest. More than 23 % of all Facebook users log on to Facebook five times a day, and the majority of these users are students. When they don’t feel that a class is engaging enough or worth their time, they check out Facebook. Twitter isn’t quite as much a temptation, but Pinterest has become 80 % more popular among women than men. The speed of browsing, repining, and sharing something related to their interests makes it easy for them to zone out from a lesson and log onto social media.
Take advantage of the lessons already prepared in eLearning software, and by other teachers who have had significant success. Even if you’re certain you’re the most engaging and fun teacher they’ve ever had, remember how many teachers there are in the world, and take the proffered advice. You might discover a few new favorite lessons that you don’t even have to prepare by yourself.
It’s important to respect the fact that students genuinely want to learn. It’s also important to make certain that you don’t over-tax yourself unnecessarily. eLearning platforms can help with both problems, by providing engaging and fun content already prepared for students.