Tinjdad, Morocco - Most teachers today are equipped with a computer at home, yet very few of them use it to empower themselves as 21st century teachers.
Tinjdad, Morocco – Most teachers today are equipped with a computer at home, yet very few of them use it to empower themselves as 21st century teachers.
Whether it is a desktop or a laptop, your computer can help you develop professionally by making the best of your machine. As I said in my essay, The Five Habits of Highly Effective Teachers, “a computer is a must-have machine for every teacher.” If you are interested in helping your students learn English and are aware of the impact you can leave on your students’ learning career by using such a machine, I am sure you cannot go without it. However, many teachers still use computers only for entertainment purposes, missing unlimited opportunities for innovation and professional development.
Let’s start with the must-have software and applications for a teacher’s computer. Whether or not your machine has access to the internet, it must be equipped with the popular Microsoft applications, especially Wordand PowerPoint. Word allows is as the title suggests a word-processing software that allows you to type and edit texts, such as lesson plans or handouts. PowerPoint enables you to design animated lessons and interactive quizzes. Yet there are two more Microsoft applications which most teachers ignore: Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Publisher. Exel can help you manipulate students’ data, calculate their scores, analyze them, and even print out their result sheets and reports. Publisher makes it possible for you to create many things: calendars, certificates, brochures, notices, and even a website. Yet Publisher is largely ignored by the majority of teachers, though they sometimes waste much time and effort looking for a way to create a CV, design a brochure, or build a website. In short, the Microsoft Office applications are the minimum requirements to complete the set up of a teacher’s virtual desk.
The second must-have is Internet access. Being connected to the World Wide Web opens the doors wide to you for further professional development. Through the Internet, a teacher can deepen and widen his or her background knowledge of education, keep abreast of the new teaching methods and approaches, and have new educational technologies at hand for exploration and exploitation. The Internet is essentially a huge free supermarket where everyone can have fun trying new things and learning new skills. However, it takes curiosity and effort to explore its secrets and potential. So if you have already been online, seize the moment to download dozens of educational applications that will enable you to develop your professional English Language Teaching (ELT) materials such as interactive quizzes and courses, learning booklets, auto-run CD-ROM learning software, and create a virtual classroom as a social and interactive environment where both teachers and students can post and share.
The third must-have is D-learning (Distance Learning). This is a process through which learners can meet their learning needs notwithstanding time differences and distance. CBS News reports that a N.Y. student attends class remotely via robot. “In an elementary school hallway, a teacher takes her second-graders to the library, leading a single-file line of giggling boys and girls that’s perfectly ordinary until you get to a sleek white robot with a video screen showing the face of a smiling, chubby-cheeked boy,” CBS News reports. For the same purpose, a teacher can devise a variety of ways to keep his students learning from his or her office at home or anywhere and anytime he or she is online. A virtual classroom can serve to keep students updated with any news related to their class, homework, assessments, scores, and parallel activities. A teacher can embed a quiz in an e-classroom and receive a report about students’ quiz results each time they take it online.
I have personally tried this, and it works: I devised interactive quizzes using Wondershare Quiz Creator or Ispring Quiz Maker, and I embedded the quizzes into my virtual class, encouraging students to go and take them. After few hours, I usually received a detailed report about each student who had taken a quiz including his or her full name, e-mail, and score. Receiving students’ contact information, especially the e-mail, makes it possible to keep my students updated with any new quiz or lesson. A teacher can also devise a questionnaire about his performance inside the classroom and share it online with his students. I tried this too, and I really received some fruitful results about my areas of strength as well as areas that need improvement. Thanks to Google Forms and Analytics, you can do this quickly and easily.
I have more ideas to share with you, yet this essay cannot cover all the wonderful things you can do with your computer. Rather, I hope to trigger your creativity to make effective use of that fantastic invention that paves your way to your professional development and makes it easy for you, at this time, to read this piece.
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