On any given day, a teacher may spend a considerable portion of time planning lessons, making copies of paper assignments, distributing and grading, posting and notifying about new assignments, documenting student performance, and a plethora of other activities too numerous to mention.
With so much to keep up with, it’s reassuring to know there’s always one place you can go to make sense of it all – your learning platform, or learning management system (LMS).
Read on for three top ways your learning platform can help make you a more productive teacher.
1. Keeps You Organized
In her book Enhancing Professional Practice: A Framework for Teaching, Charlotte Danielson states that “a teacher makes over 3,000 nontrivial decisions daily” (1996, p. 2).
Learning platforms can help reduce this complexity by providing a one-stop shop for teachers to access lessons, digital content, and gradebooks with a single login. Two features which are especially helpful in keeping teachers organized include dashboards and course planners.
- Dashboards make it easy for teachers, parents and students to view upcoming tasks and assignments for all courses, announcements, and reports of student progress against objectives.
- Course planners use a familiar spreadsheet format to help teachers more easily pull lessons, resources, objectives, assignments and assessments together, as well as automatically communicate out assignment details and deadlines.
Improved efficiency for routine tasks such as these frees teachers to concentrate on pedagogy, incorporating techniques such as blended learning and flipped classroom into their own lessons, ultimately adding more teaching time to the school day.
2. Helps You Share Workload and Ideas
Learning platforms provide many opportunities to collaborate with other teachers regarding best practice, as well as share and reuse materials to save valuable time.
One way to do this is to use master or template courses, which can then be shared with and customized by teachers within your school or district. With template courses:
- Teachers don’t have to start from scratch to create courses
- All resources can be pre-mapped to standards, saving teachers time in mapping curriculum to each resource
- Teachers can collaborate on best practices, as well as pick up new ideas for maximizing planning and teaching time
- Teachers can share planners and rubrics
Learning object repositories are another way teachers can share resources, such as pages, files and links. Depending on your learning management system, these resources may be mapped to standards, searchable by standard or keyword, and shared with others in the school, district or wider education community.
3. Streamlines Assessments
Learning platforms can help each step in the assessment process run more smoothly, from delivery to grading, and communication to stakeholders.
Your learning platform can allow for more efficient handling of multiple types of assessments, including:
- Tests that can be cloned, modified and even marked automatically
- Surveys and Polls for quick opinions, show what you know and “exit tickets”
- Homework and assignments
- Assessment ePortfolios that showcase student work over the course of a semester or year, and can be published to the internet for use in a student’s future job search
An invaluable productivity tool, the use of rubrics within a learning platform allows teachers to communicate learning objectives to students, and provide specific feedback tied to individual assessment criteria. If necessary, students can then use this feedback and resubmit their work.
Finally, progress reports may be syndicated to teachers, students, administrators and parents, keeping all stakeholders in the know regarding mastery.
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