6 great ways to help students succeed

Helen Wallis

Helen is a 29 year old mum of one, and recently gave up her marketing career in London to be at home with “my little man”. She now works part-time in marketing and blogs/write on a regular basis.

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Website: www.helenwallis.co.uk Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

When a teacher has so much on their plate, it can be easy to get tunnel vision. It’s important to be aware of the best teaching and learning options out there; here, London-based blogger Helen Willis takes a look at how teachers can help pupils truly soar.

It’s fairly common for old-school educators and administrators to unplug the Internet and shun new technology. Some still see tablets, laptops and remote Internet access as a distraction that should be fought; they believe that there’s no replacement for books, pens and pads. However, these learning institutions have, quite simply, got it wrong.

Educators should work alongside technological innovation, not fight it. In today’s digital world we have access to information and tools that can significantly aid learning. Here are six examples of how technology can benefit students.

1. Blogging

Blogging encourages creative thinking. There are various education-based blog platforms that students can use to express their thoughts on certain topics covered in the classroom. In fact, some schools are even starting to accept essays published on blogs for grading. What’s great about blogging is that it inspires students to write and express their opinions in a more open manner.

2. Revision Programs

The Internet is home to an abundance of revision programs, some of which are interactive. It’s no secret that revision is boring; however, technology can make it more engaging and far less of a headache. Websites such as Justin Craig offer comprehensive free revision guides for students who need a little motivation. Without technology these resources simply wouldn’t exist or be readily available.

3. Podcasting

Podcasting is essentially audio blogging and has significantly grown in popularity over the years. The idea is to encourage verbalization of ideas and opinions. Some schools even accept podcast submissions of essays, stories, plays and other written assignments. Fundamentally, podcasting emphasizes the importance of audience awareness, which is hugely beneficial for confidence building, especially in performing arts.

4. YouTube

YouTube is the perfect platform for creative people and is often used by musicians, performers and artists. Basically, it can benefit anyone who wants to gain confidence in front of the camera. Behind the scenes, it can also benefit those who aspire to be directors, cinematographers and producers, etc. In addition, YouTube can be an excellent platform to receive constructive criticism. Students that study music, acting and film often use YouTube to build up their portfolio, and then use it as a platform to find work after they graduate. Some of them have gone on to become hugely successful.

5. Storify

Storify is a program that allows students to collect content from across the Internet and share it using social media. This encourages freedom of expression and can help educators better understand a student’s interests. Unlike blogging – which is an articulation of thoughts and ideas – Storify is more about creating a story using multiple different channels.

6. SoundNote

Tablets can be a valuable asset in the classroom. With cameras, video software, audio recording and word processors, they allow students to quickly and easily capture all of the information from lectures and seminars. Applications such as SoundNote and ShareYourBoard can help to keep students engaged and ensures they don’t miss anything covered in the classroom. The data can also be saved and transferred between devices so students who are ill and miss out don’t suffer.

Of course, technology innovation can also have negatives in the classroom; however, providing it’s carefully monitored and used properly it can be hugely beneficial. The tech industry moves at a very fast rate, and while it can be daunting, educators should adapt and embrace changes with open arms.

Do you use any of these tactics? Perhaps you use different methods? Let us know in the comments below.

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