As the years go by with teaching, we become well-versed with new pedagogical techniques, but we also sometimes rely on what has always worked. In fact, many of our classes from year to year follow the same or very similar structure with the same assignments. This includes how we teach content, how we engage our students with content, and how we assess their learning -- think Universal Design for Learning (UDL). The only difference in our teaching may be different students.
The thing is, as the students change year to year, so do their lived experiences and their access to technology. Even as veteran teachers, there are times when we should apply new tools to our existing curriculum.
In the spirit of UDL, good and effective teaching relies on multiple ways of representing content, multiple ways of engagement, and multiple ways of action and expression. To that end, and with the proliferation of edtech tools that emerge daily in our field that can support transformational learning, here are a few ways that veteran teachers can leverage learning technologies and switch up teaching and learning.
1. New Instruction Trick: TikTok Influencer?
The days of spending 30 minutes standing in front of the class explaining concepts to students are gone. Students enjoy social networking sites and often receive and retain information better in smaller chunks.
To do that, try creating short instruction videos through the social media platform TikTok in lieu of a traditional lecture as part of your instruction. Students will be very excited that their teacher not only knows what TikTok is and how to navigate it, but will be more likely to view the video more than one time, adding to their understanding.
You can use multiple videos for the lesson as students are used to watching shorter videos and swiping to the next one. You could also embed the TikTok videos into a longer lesson, adding questions through an edtech tool such as Slido to ensure that students are keeping up with the content as you move forward to the next topic.
2. New Engagement Trick: Embrace AI
AI is all the rage. And while there are inherent flaws that should be addressed, there are opportunities to use AI to peak students’ interest.
Now, we know that when we went through our teacher education programs, AI was not talked about in education, if at all, so we may not know where to start. Approach AI in similar ways that you did with mobile devices in the classroom that went from being banned in many schools to a requirement for BYOD classrooms. Students will be excited to have the chance to use AI in the classroom as opposed to being given a statement about how they are not to use it.
Using AI as an engagement tool can also provide a way to introduce students to responsible and ethical practices with it. Check out this sample ChatGPT lesson plan as you develop AI pedagogical practices around trying it in your class.
3. New Assessment Trick: Try Podcasting
What if students shared their learning through podcasting? Many of the athletes and movie stars who students follow on social networking sites have podcasts. One great thing about podcasts is that information is provided on a topic, and in many cases, in detail.
Instead of the traditional assessment for learning such as a paper or test, have students develop a podcast in which they can demonstrate their learning in a creative format. You as the teacher could be the host and have students on as your guests, or students can develop their own podcast and have one another as a guest. VoiceThread may be a neat tool to try to record the podcast to get started.
Having a routine is great and consistency is key to an organized classroom. At the same time, it is good to change things around sometimes and introduce students to new ways of learning. As veteran teachers, we are often committed to lifelong learning for ourselves too, so as we elevate our own teaching, we can learn as well with students using edtech tools to support the process.