This is a story about twin students at an Oklahoma high school who are both taking algebra in the ninth grade. Due to differences in schedule, the twins are in separate algebra classes with different teachers.
One twin has a more traditional algebra teacher who lectures during class and solves problems on the interactive whiteboard. He then hands out worksheets, and the students spend the rest of the class time solving problems. The teacher is available if anyone needs help.
The other twin has an algebra teacher who uses technology to enhance his classroom. This teacher uses Google Classroom as a learning management system (LMS) to assign all lessons. Like the other math teacher, he hands out worksheets in class, but he also posts PDFs of the worksheets in the LMS. Like the other teacher, he uses the interactive whiteboard to solve problems; however, he records his interactive whiteboard lessons and posts those in the LMS. One other step the teacher takes is to locate other video sources explaining the current lesson’s math concepts. He then posts those videos on the LMS for students to watch if they need additional guidance. The teacher says it took him additional time the first year to do this, but he hasn't had to do as much in subsequent years.
When these two students experience the difference between the teachers the most is when they've had to miss school. The student with the “techy” teacher is an ag student and missed a day of class due to a state fair event. This student also missed a class due to a doctor’s appointment. This student was able to check the LMS from home on both occasions and see what lessons he had missed. He was able to immediately work on these assignments and stay on track. The second student missed a few days due to sickness. He had no way of checking to see what he had missed and fell behind in class.
I know this story is true because those two students happen to be my sons, Connor & Cooper. I was able to witness first-hand the difference these two teaching methods had on my sons’ schooling. I also have watched as my two sons compare classes and teachers. Connor, in the less “techy” classroom, wished he had videos that he could watch to stay on track and for extra help. Both of my sons, as well as many of today’s students, like watching videos to learn about many topics that interest them.
This is just one example of how technology can be used in a classroom to help engage students and help them learn and stay on track. If you are an administrator or a teacher and want to learn more about how to use an LMS and other technology to enhance your classroom(s), let me know. I can provide guidance and professional development to any educators who want to learn more. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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