Helping Teachers Make the Most of Limited Time

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How can EdTech tools be used to help teachers make the most of limited classroom time? Former teacher and ASSISTments team member Cindy Starks weighs in with her best recommendations.

Cindy Starks is part of the Product Team at ASSISTments, supporting teacher engagement and research. Before coming aboard, she worked in software product development and was a middle school math teacher.

Ask any teacher and they will tell you that time is their hottest commodity - there is never enough of it. Many teachers have as little as 42 minutes to teach a subject in a given day. If a teacher has 30 students in a class, that is 1.4 minutes per student if all you do is check in with each student individually! Using their time in and out of class wisely is something that teachers have to master because in however much time they have, they have to:

-Teach/review/assess content

-Figure out who is on track and who is struggling

-Reinforce learning and positive mindset

-Encourage students

-Spark interest in the subject

-Inspire highly motivated students

-Differentiate for all levels of learners and needs

-Foster group work and positive peer collaboration

Today’s classrooms look nothing like what our parents remember. Classrooms are now whirlwinds of activity as groups of students work standing at white boards or huddled around desks solving tasks together. Independent work (aka Homework) is an important extension to the classroom to allow more time on a given subject and for students to figure out if they are understanding the material or not.So how does a teacher honor the time students have used to do the independent work without a full review? And how do students (and teachers) ever figure out if they do have it or not? This is where ASSISTments can help.

With ASSISTments, students know while they are doing the independent work if they are getting the material, because they know what they get right and wrong. Teachers know before students arrive who got what, how much time was spent on the independent practice, and what the common wrong answers were for a given class. So when class meets again, both students and teachers know where their energy needs to be spent. Class time then can be spent on the places where students are struggling and correcting the misconceptions that the independent practice has surfaced.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not at all for technology for technology’s sake. But a tool that can help a teacher with what little time they have with students to allow them to focus their energy on what will make the most difference, that is useful technology, and that is ASSISTments. The best part is that it’s free! Because at ASSISTments we believe that teachers should have all the help they can get.

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