Food for Thought: Ways to Save Time Teaching With Technology

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Face it, we love technology, and technology is great–when it works.

While using technology for learning is easy, mastering it–using it to save time, reduce busy work, and ultimately increase student understanding–is another matter entirely.

Among the things that can slow us down are lost passwords, blocked YouTube channels, and just  the sheer amount of technology and information available. Is it any wonder that it puts a dent in your enthusiasm for consistently using technology? So, in the spirit of divide and conquer; let’s take a look at some ways to identify problems and solutions for teaching with technology.

Problem: Too Much Procedure, Too Little Student Work

Solutions:

  • Adopt a truly student-centered, self-directed classroom. (But this one’s easier said than done.)
  • Think of every lesson from two perspectives–the desired outcome, and the student. Then simplify the workflow until they can reach that desired outcome on their own without your micromanagement.
  1. Problem: Grading of Frequent Assessments

Solutions:

  • Create a self-grading quiz using Blackboard or Google Drive.
  • Experiment with the digital tools for creating simple quizzes and soliciting feedback from students.

Problem: Student anonymity and privacy

Solution:

  • Assign every student a number, an item (i.e. name of something pertinent to your curriculum) or other name that’s exclusive to them, and have them post, share, or otherwise “brand” their work by that “Identifier”.

Problem: Looking For Apps

Solutions:

  • For one, use fewer apps. Looking for apps is like shopping—it’s fun even if you already have all that you need.
  • Learn to more thoroughly use what you already have.
  • Ask the students to find what you need.

Problem: Disorganized Resources

Solutions:

  • Organize it—starting in the cloud!
  • Use a system of cataloging your content that helps you find what you need faster.
  • Use the cloud so that you can find it on your phone, tablet, laptop, desktop, or whatever new technology that emerges this time next year.
  • Throw out old stuff—or at least drag-and-drop it all into a dumping folder for later.
  • Purge annually. Take that folder from above and throw stuff out that you no longer use. (Don’t horde.)

Problem: Too Many Resources

Solutions:

  • Go on an information diet–less is more.
  • Focus on fewer, more substantive posts and resources.
  • Cull your follows on social media.
  • Declutter your bookmarks not by removing five or six links, but deciding which five or six to keep.

 

Problem: Mediocre Content

Solutions:

  • Use MERLOT – merlot.org MERLOT is a curated collection of free and open online teaching, learning, and faculty development services contributed and used by an international education community
  • Be choosier with what you read. Think less about the title or the popularity of content, and more about the credibility of the content creator.
  • You’ll find your perspective aligns (more or less) with a handful of educators. Follow them, and make it a point to at least give their content a skim even if the headline doesn’t jump right out at you.
  • If the content doesn’t challenge your thinking, find its way directly into your planning and the work students are doing, and/or inspire you, then stop reading it. There’s too much great content out there.
Connie Pilato

Connie Pilato

Connie Pilato is the Academic Technology Support Specialist for Jamestown Community College, and has more than 20 years providing technology support in various roles at the college. While her primary assignment is to support the faculty of the Cattaraugus County Campus, she is available to assist both full-time and adjunct faculty regardless of their campus location.

Among her significant previous positions, Connie served as Network Design Engineer/Central Office Equipment, and Network Design Engineer/Special Circuits at ALLTEL, a telecommunications company.

Connie holds a M.S. in Curriculum Design and Instructional Technology from University of Albany – SUNY, and a B.S. in Business (Magna Cum Laude) from SUNY Fredonia.

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