Every day you teach, you have moments where the students are buzzing in your class with books, notebooks, pencils, pens, markers, and erasers flying. You might have a student at your desk asking questions and ones turning in papers or sitting in groups working on projects.
You get a small euphoric high off the excessive learning that is taking place as you get ready to tell the class to wrap it up and can’t wait to see them tomorrow with all the assignments due, and what wonderful feedback that you will be expressing as your students leave clutching their books smiling with eyes gleaming and brains full of new and exciting knowledge to be applied and shared.
Yet, the next day comes, and your class shows up unprepared, homework unfinished, forgetful of what they learned the day before and as if the crawled into a black hole of despair and lost all hope of passing your class at all. How does this happen?
It happens because even though it appears your class was buzzing with learning, they were actually just busy, and the productivity of learning is only proven through hard evidence, the unfinished homework, or test review they failed in class.
So how do you keep the sense of your students being busy confused from being productive? One way to do so is by using some technology tools that relate the productivity in a timely factual manner, that cannot be argued with.
Some of the more helpful products out there are classroom management sites, like Edmodo and Google Classroom. These sites allow teachers to set up a virtual class, so to speak, where not only can discussions and groups be assigned, but work can be turned in, revised and graded. When students get on these sites to work, they will be immersed in the lessons you not only share with them but have to supply you with the feedback to ensure that the learning is taking place without just “feeling” like it is in your class. It is a way to organize the evidence without hoping it is just going to happen in a random notebook students walk out the door with.
The other added benefit to organizing student work online in a virtual classroom is that they can do it from anywhere there is internet access. This means that once the students walk out the door, it is less likely that they will lose the work, or have to be reminded the next day what it was you went over in class to keep them on track.
Without knowing it, by setting up a virtual classroom you are now teaching your students the benefit of getting organized by participating in a forum where there are specific discussions, assignments, and deadlines. You have just led students across that bridge from being busy in your class to being productive in your class.
Robin L. Stockmar M.Ed.
Technology Integration Specialist
Learn more: Google Classroom