Teacher Tech blog with Alice Keeler

Paperless Is Not a Pedagogy

Alice Keeler

How Teachers Can 🛳️ Cruise to Less Stress with Tech

As we set sail into the ocean of teaching, we need to cruise to less stress with tech. There is no magic bullet, but tech can provide opportunities for supporting.
How Teachers Can 🛳️ Cruise to Less Stress with Tech

Ahoy, educators! As we sail through the ever-evolving seas of education, the waves of remote learning, hybrid classrooms, safety protocols, “learning loss,” and behavioral challenges have brought both challenges and opportunities. Let’s chart a course together to navigate these waters with less stress, using the compass of technology. Cruise to less stress with tech.

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Cruise to Less Stress with Tech

The 2023 EdTech cruise is all about cruising to less stress! 

In the vast ocean of educational challenges, xSoTec emerges as a lighthouse for stressed educators, offering custom solutions tailored to each school’s unique needs, especially within the Google Workspace ecosystem. Their innovative custom tools automate grading and track student progress, akin to an auto-pilot feature on a cruise ship, allowing teachers to navigate away from the burdensome tasks and focus more on their core mission – teaching and building meaningful relationships with their students. By enabling personalized learning plans that integrate seamlessly with existing systems, xSoTec ensures that each student’s educational journey is as personalized and engaging as a bespoke sea voyage, significantly easing the stress on educators in today’s dynamic educational landscape.

1. Setting Sail with Time Management Tools

Just as a cruise ship follows a well-planned route, teachers can steer through their increased workload using digital time management tools. Applications like OneNote or Google Keep can be your first mate in organizing tasks and deadlines, ensuring a smoother voyage. Having some sort of digital way to plan out your time AND STICK TO IT can really help you to manage the challenges of how much time teaching tasks take.

Sailing through the busy educational seas, especially as the year draws to a close, requires a reliable organizational compass like OneNote. It’s my trusty tool for keeping daily lists neatly categorized into minutiae, meetings, action items, and notes. These categories serve as navigational beacons, helping me stay focused on the day’s priorities, accomplish tasks, and revisit or debrief as needed, ensuring a smooth and organized voyage through the academic year.

Advice from the Cruise Director: Alice Keeler

Just as a cruise follows a strict timetable to ensure a smooth voyage, apply Parkinson’s law to navigate the seas of teaching tasks. Set firm sailing hours for your educational duties, anchoring them within the boundaries of Google Calendar, and resist the temptation to drift into overtime. This disciplined approach ensures that your tasks, like a ship’s journey, are completed efficiently within the allotted time, preventing the tide of work from spilling over into your personal harbor.

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2. A Crew to Support: Collaborative Platforms

No captain sails alone, and no teacher should either. Platforms like Microsoft Teams or Facebook can be your crew, helping you connect with fellow educators for support and resource sharing. Collaborative tools not only combat the feeling of isolation but also tackle the challenge of teacher shortages by enabling resource pooling.

Just as a cruise ship relies on a coordinated crew, I find Microsoft Teams invaluable for collaborative sailing in education. Creating Teams for students, faculty, and staff fosters a connected community on deck, where we can share resources and navigate discussions on assignments, family communication, and grades together.

Advice from the Cruise Director: Alice Keeler

Embarking on the journey of teaching 7th grade math, I charted a course by creating a Facebook group for fellow educators. This group is like a crew of ships, where we share our weekly navigational maps – our lesson plans – fostering a supportive fleet that not only stands together but also saves time by pooling our educational resources.

3. Charting a Course Through Learning Loss

The pandemic has created educational whirlpools of “learning loss.” But fear not, for educational technology is here to throw a lifeline. Interactive platforms like Quizizz! and Edpuzzle can re-engage students, making learning both effective and enjoyable, and helping them catch up on lost knowledge.

In the voyage of learning, technology acts like a cruise ship equipped with diverse and adaptive resources, allowing students to navigate their educational journey at their own pace. This approach shifts from the traditional method of force-feeding information, to a more explorative one, offering various paths of understanding and self-guided, self-assessed learning tools. Students can sail through subjects, mastering them without the fear of initial low scores, ensuring a smoother and more personalized journey towards success.

Advice from the Cruise Director: Alice Keeler

Don’t be afraid to reach out to your support team–whether it be an instructional coach, a technology coach, or your school administration–for help. Sometimes they have insight into technology tools and resources that you may not know about yet and could give you advice on so that you can help implement them. This also brings a collaborative effort to challenges regarding learning post-pandemic; when you address these challenges as a team, you may see better results.

4. Navigating Political Seas: Clear Communication Channels

In the educational odyssey, think of Microsoft Flip, which is free, as a high-speed cruiser, streamlining the journey of communication and saving valuable time for teachers. This platform allows students to create and share video responses to assignments or discussions, akin to passengers sharing stories on a cruise deck. Teachers can quickly review these video submissions, providing timely feedback and insights, much like a captain steering the ship with expert precision. This interactive approach not only fosters a vibrant classroom community but also reduces the time spent on traditional paper-based assessments, allowing teachers to navigate through their workload with greater ease and efficiency.

On this educational cruise, Microsoft Excel serves as the ship’s log, meticulously recording interactions with students’ families. Just as a captain documents each journey, a simple Excel spreadsheet can track who you spoke with, when, and the key points of each conversation, along with action items for both you and the family members. This log not only ensures smooth sailing in communication but also provides a valuable reference throughout the school year, helping you navigate the parent-teacher relationship with ease and precision.

Advice from the Cruise Director: Alice Keeler

Envision Microsoft Flip as your ship’s communication channel, enhancing personal connections with the warmth of tone and expression akin to a captain’s address. This tool allows for the creation of engaging video announcements, much like broadcasting updates to a ship’s passengers. These videos, rich in personal touch, can be shared with parents and other stakeholders, ensuring everyone is on the same deck. This form of vibrant, visual communication reduces the need for frequent meetings, steering the educational journey towards more effective and less time-consuming interactions.

5. Finding Calm in the Storm: Caring for Mental Health

On the voyage of education, it’s crucial that our navigational tools, especially those used by students, adhere to safety and FERPA compliance, much like ensuring a cruise ship meets safety standards. In the sea of mental health challenges, technology can serve as a lifeline. Platforms like Pear Deck or Nearpod allow for interactive and engaging classroom environments, where teachers can incorporate mindfulness and emotional well-being activities. These tools enable educators to create a supportive classroom atmosphere, akin to a cruise ship ensuring a comfortable and secure journey for its passengers. This approach not only addresses the mental health needs of students but also alleviates the pressure on teachers to sail through these turbulent waters, making the educational journey smoother and more empathetic for everyone on board.

Imagine Microsoft Forms and Mentimeter as your ship’s sonar and radar, essential for a successful cruise in education. These tools, like navigational aids, allow students to send signals – anonymously or publicly – about their feelings and support needs. They are as customizable as a ship’s course, adaptable for any class, grade, or department, ensuring that every student’s voice is heard and acknowledged on this educational voyage.

Advice from the Cruise Director: Alice Keeler

While technology is a valuable tool in our educational cruise, it alone cannot navigate the complex waters of mental health for teachers and students. Resisting the current that pulls us solely towards curriculum is crucial. We must anchor in the bay of self-care and student support, for without this, the journey of teaching becomes a challenging, if not impossible, voyage.

2 thoughts on “How Teachers Can 🛳️ Cruise to Less Stress with Tech

  1. Technology has helped reduce my teacher stress in some ways, but sometimes, I feel like the pressure to implement technology (and not knowing what to use) can cause stress. Do you have any suggestions that will help simplify the process of choosing the correct technology for the task?

    1. I hear you Jill! I see that it takes a lot of time and effort (and failure) to effectively implement technology… yet no time is devoted to this in a teachers day. My first tip is to learn one keyboard shortcut a week. Practice it with the students. Make a poster for the wall. This will allow you to quickly feel more competent at using the computer. Choose one thing and use it a lot until you feel really good at it. More tech tools won’t improve your classroom if you’re struggling with them!! One of the easiest to start with is Quizizz. There are PRE-MADE quizzes. This is a great place to start. First, do them together as a class. So what you are practicing is looking up topics at http://quizizz.com and reading through the options for having students do live formative practice. I would do this at least 3 times a week. Notice on the final screen when students have played live there is an option to review the questions. You’ll get DATA that shows how they did If a lot of students did poorly on a question, this is a good time to reteach. So you are using technology to instantly collect data to FORM WHAT YOU DO NEXT. If you don’t want to do Quizizz you can use Google Forms. Again, with the idea that you will immediately look at the data and let the data decide what you review. Tip: if students did not understand it the first time, then review/revisit needs to be a different approach. This is just a quick tip to get started!!

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