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digital
18 September 2020

apps for the digital classroom.

As educators around the world face uncertainties this school year, it helps to focus on the few things that are certain. The modern classroom is more than a physical room – it is now a digital space for learning and collaboration. One thing that is certain, educators and school boards need to master the digital classroom.

Although it is not the tool that teachers – it’s the teachers, and these tools will help teachers eaching in the information age. 

1. Differentiated teaching 
Having the ability to customise a formative assessment based on a student’s profile without that being obvious to all students makes differentiation easier. This one tool does exactly that…

Wizer is a Swiss Army knife for teaching. The creators call it a “digital worksheet” tool, but that gives too much credit to paper worksheet – this is one of the best online differentiation tools out there. It allows teachers to add video, audio, and images to interactive worksheets, making them very accessible to all students.

2. Essential formative assessment tools 
With face time at a premium, formative assessment is moving more to the forefront of excellent teaching. As knowledge is forming, teachers need to review the data on student understanding so that they can make the most of face-to-face instruction time. And even when we’re back in classrooms, movement around the room and paper passing should be limited, so these tools are excellent digital alternatives to many things we used to do on paper.

Video lessons and flipped learning: Teachers who assign videos may be concerned that students are not watching or are not engaging with the material. With Edpuzzle, teachers can pause videos, ask both multiple-choice and open-ended questions, and prevent students from skipping ahead in the video.

3. Personalised learning and review 
A major problem with traditional homework from a textbook – particularly when students are in distance learning – is academic dishonesty. For many students, the temptation presented when every student has the same 10 problems is to have top students do the homework and text answers to the other students.

It’s better to use tools to personalise the learning experience based on standards for the class and give each student a set of problems based on their abilities.

IXL allows teachers to assign standards in core subjects. Students are given questions and level up based upon successful or unsuccessful answers. As they advance, the problems adapt to their current level. Students are given different questions, so it becomes a much more accurate method of analysing student abilities.

As educators come to terms with the digital modern classroom, there will be teething issues. But what is certain is that both students and their parents need their educators to be ready to adapt with them, working together to improve and redefine what online teaching looks like.
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