I'm not a teacher, but anyone who is or ever has been knows their time can be scarce. These dedicated agents of education are continuously splitting their focus and schedule between instructing classes, tutoring struggling students, grading papers, and meeting with parents; not to mention any involvement in extra-curricular activities. Teaching even a single classroom of students creates a massive amount of work in the form of designing lesson plans, preparing slides or transparencies, printing worksheets, and grading every assignment.
The more classes and students they teach per semester, the more assignments they have to grade each night, sometimes grading hundred of students' submissions of the same assignment. A teacher's work is often repetitive, but must be done with accuracy and care to ensure that every single student gets the best possible educational experience. Automation software is an incredibly powerful modern tool that is being implemented with slowly increasing popularity to help teachers eliminate the tedious routine work and create valuable free time. With the simple addition of a few helpful and always accurate computer programs, teachers will be able to put down the red pencil and focus all of their considerable talents on improving the learning experiences in their classrooms.
Automatically Grading Papers
When doing their homework, most students don't consider how each assignment turned in creates another 'homework' task for their teachers. With potentially hundreds of students each semester, the pile of papers to grade can grow enormous. Some teachers may have assistants to help, but most in the K-12 range do not and are left to take the red pencil to thousands of assignments, quizzes, and tests per year. Grading fatigue becomes a major concern as weariness can create mistakes and puts the quality of education each teacher can provide at risk.
Fortunately, technology has developed to the point where assignments once entered into the system can then be graded not just quickly, but instantly. The more technology is used, the easier this becomes as students become accustomed to submitting their assignments digitally on personal or classroom tablets. Should the teacher desire to, they can even set the automatic grading program to give students back their results right away. With hours of grading each night eliminated, it might be time to form a teachers' bowling league.
Automated Assignment Creation
Most teachers instruct the same subjects to the same age groups each year. Their lessons progressively incorporate new information and strategies, but often the subject matter and assignments change very little from year to year. While it's important to 'change up the test' to prevent cheating, it's also no longer necessary to hand-tailor each worksheet and exam. With computer automated assignment creation, teachers can not only re-print old assignments, but rearrange them and exchange questions using a database of possible configurations and content.
A history test, for example, can practically write itself with a program that chooses categories, then pulls questions from a database from within those categories. With this method, many teachers have begun to hand out multiple versions of tests throughout the classroom to eliminate cheating while testing on the same material. Even for fresh assignments designed to respond to the active needs of this year's students, automated worksheet and project development can cut lesson plan times to a fraction of their former requirements.
Note: we're excited to announce Method Schools' very own online assignment tool Smartfox, coming in Januray 2018:
Automation in Classroom Management
Lessons involving visual aids and in-class assignments are now easier than ever to plan and enact with automated classroom systems. From wifi phone apps to specialized remote controls, teachers are quickly embracing the nearly effortless process of flipping through slides on a projector-less screen, taking attendance and class surveys quickly, and having pop-quizzes grade themselves. When compared to previous methods of classroom management, these automated methods save an amazing amount of time in the form of preparing transparencies, hooking up and maintaining projectors, passing out and collecting paper assignments, and assessing how well the class is learning the material. This allows teachers to run a more engaging classroom and frees up their attention for the children instead of struggling with outdated presentation technology.
More Time for the Children, Not the Paperwork
Being a responsible teacher has long since been a struggle to find the balance between managing the paperwork and actually taking the time to get to know and work with the children. In fact, now that computers can take care of what used to take teachers hours to do every day, they'll be able to create better, more responsive, lesson plans and spend more one-on-one and group time with the children. Rather than grading papers while the children work quietly, the teacher can visit each desk or group and ensure that the students understand the material. Free from the need to design quizzes and tests by hand, your child's teacher can instead host after-school tutoring or academic clubs. This, in turn, boosts the quality of education automation-assisted teachers can offer their students, a benefit that is very likely to be reflected in the children's engagement and performance in school as a whole.
Teachers everywhere are rejoicing as their classrooms are upgraded and automation options unfold before them. The entire teaching process can be streamlined, from creating assignments to grading them, adding months worth of effective free time to every teacher's schedule, both in and out of the classroom. Not only will this allow them more time to spend working directly with the children and responding to their educational needs, the change may also grant our teachers a little precious personal relaxation time, a luxury experienced by few dedicated educators who are still grading papers by hand.
At Method Schools, we are constantly trying to find ways to give our teachers more direct time with students. With all of the regulatory pressures, new laws, changing academic requirements and evolving technology, it can be a difficult balancing act. But it's something we're not only committed to, but, we believe, we're succeeding at. Want to learn more about Method? Click below.