Increasing teacher productivity
If there’s one thing that today’s educators would like to change about their profession, it’s the feeling that there isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done. By the time the students are settled in and the agenda of the day is discussed, five or ten minutes have already passed. By the end of the school year, teachers often talk about having to cut an important lesson from the course entirely, only because time wouldn’t allow it.
What this boils down to, essentially, is that daily classroom responsibilities stall teacher productivity. Teachers juggle a lot, focus much of their time on administrative tasks and find that they can’t cover all the material they desire. Students don’t learn the material fast enough, or struggle to complete projects in a reasonable amount of time. Let’s face it: teacher productivity is a struggle.
For too long, educators have accepted this as just another part of the job. The belief that teacher productivity can’t be improved, and that teachers must go with the flow of daily classroom life, is widespread. Educators should be flexible, after all, as it’s extremely difficult to teach students new material. Why move on to the next lesson if students haven’t yet grasped the current one?
These teacher productivity challenges have caused nearly 50 percent of teachers to leave the classroom within the first five years of their career. Liz Riggs explains this phenomenon in her article “Why Do Teachers Quit?” She writes, “The revolving door of teacher turnover is a problem that affects students and entire schools.”
What if it doesn’t have to be this way? As it turns out, many of the teacher productivity problems that have plagued teachers for decades can be solved or significantly helped with digital tools.
Not Enough Time for In-Class Activities
When it comes to teacher productivity problems, the worst thing that happens is when teachers manage to engage their students in a passionate discussion, only to have that discussion cut short by time. According to a recent study published in the International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, students prefer a “more active pedagogical approach” in the classroom, such as discussion or group-based learning activities. Unfortunately, teachers only have so much time in a class period to organize these activities.
Thanks to LiveTiles Mosaic, students and teachers can use Office 365 applications and cloud-based services to enhance teacher productivity and continue these exciting discussions outside of class on social networks like Yammer.
Yammer, as seen in the screenshot below, is like Facebook for the classroom—a space where anyone with authorization can share important information. Teachers can use Yammer to delve deeper into a discussion that happened in class, or reiterate a point that may have been missed by the students.
Source: LiveTiles Mosaic
In other words, by adopting the digital classroom, teachers can finally stay on schedule. Rather than have to cancel the next day’s lesson plans to re-explain a topic that wasn’t fully comprehended the first time, teachers can go over this topic on Yammer and answer any questions about it after class. In certain cases, teachers won’t even need to be present for this, and students can just communicate with themselves in the digital classroom space. Yammer is a surefire way to increase teacher productivity.
Wasting Time with Classroom Management
Teachers often have to make important announcements at the beginning or end of class, cutting into crucial activities. A lot of time is spent on basic classroom management or other housekeeping, and these mundane but necessary tasks hinder teacher productivity.
To overcome this teacher productivity obstacle, teachers can use Mosaic to add the Office 365 Calendar tool, and post important announcements like an upcoming test or the due date of a project. This way, every student in the class, regardless of who is present in class on a given day, will see the message, and class time can be spent doing more productive work.
In addition, so much time is wasted on handing out assignments. As unbelievable as it may seem, too many teachers today rely on the fax machine and photocopier. These outmoded tools only slow teacher productivity down.
If teachers are truly serious about increasing teacher productivity, they ought to make the paperless transition to the digital classroom. Rather than print and photocopy materials and spend at least ten minutes handing these materials out in class and explaining them, teachers can upload these materials onto OneNote.
As the screenshot below illustrates, a simple click of a button will share course content with students, who can then access this content at their own convenience. Mosaic positively impacts teacher productivity by making anytime, anywhere learning a reality once and for all.
Source: LiveTiles Mosaic
As one study in the European Journal of Education Studies puts it, “Both teachers and students have a significant role to play when it comes to implementing effective classroom management.” A simple step to increasing teacher productivity would be to transfer the mundane classroom management minutiae online and expect students to check into the digital classroom on a regular basis.
Difficulty Tracking Grades
Perhaps the most pervasive teacher productivity problem is the common complaint that grading takes too long. Teachers may not be able to get out of this entirely, but they can significantly speed up the process and see a surge in teacher productivity.
In the traditional classroom, teachers would have to write student grades down on a notebook and store them in a file cabinet somewhere. As you can imagine, storing a bunch of scattered papers in a messy file cabinet doesn’t exactly help teacher productivity. We can only wonder how many grades were lost, and how many students were angry—not to mention all the time it took to find these grades for future reference.
Mosaic solves this teacher productivity problem by letting teachers add tools like OneNote and OneDrive to the digital classroom.
Here’s how it works: Teachers can use digital inking to grade their students’ OneNote assignments, and use the record voice feature to offer important feedback. These grades can then be stored in the Cloud and accessed by students on OneDrive anytime, from anywhere, so that they can measure their progress in real-time. These cloud-based technologies improve teacher productivity because teachers will not have to waste valuable time tracking down grades.
In his dissertation for Harvard University, Adam Lowell confirms the importance of online grading. He explains, “Allowing students online access to their grades significantly impacts their mastery goal orientation.” That is, this seemingly small shift in procedure can significantly enhance the learning experience for students. Not only do teachers create a transparent relationship with their students and provide feedback in a timely manner, they free up their hours for more important tasks. Teacher productivity will improve if teachers spend less time tracking grades.
It’s important to keep in mind that the digital classroom doesn’t replace teachers or do their jobs for them, nor does it solve all the teacher productivity problems in the world. At the end of the day, we still need highly qualified educators to engage the young minds of tomorrow, and teachers will still have to work hard at this. Technology, for all its benefits, can only do so much.
However, teacher productivity is a real challenge, and rather than accept the status quo, teachers can get more work done with Mosaic. By embracing digital tools and making a few changes in practice and procedure, educators can once and for all focus on what they’ve always wanted: teaching their students.