You walk into a college lecture hall. Everything seems fine at first glance; the teacher is lecturing about the stated material, and students are quietly facing the teacher. After a couple of minutes, though, you notice that something is not quite right. Students’ eyes are glazed over, and the teacher continues the lecture without changing her approach. Right then, you realize that students won’t remember much, and that the instructor won’t be modifying this lecture before giving it again next semester.
What’s the problem here? It’s a simple lack of communication. For optimal learning, two-way communication is absolutely critical in any classroom, regardless of the level of education. This is true at any both in traditional face-to-face settings and in online programs, which consist solely of virtual classrooms. In the digital era, advancements in technology can help teachers communicate with students and prepare them for the future.
Instructor-Student Collaboration in College Classrooms
From kindergarten through twelfth grade, effective education largely depends on classroom management, according to Education Oasis. Teachers set ground rules so that students respect boundaries, pay attention and learn. In college, instruction is more of a collaborative effort. Instructors are responsible for developing curricula and designing lesson plans, but an open classroom dynamic lets students and instructors work together to improve the process. Student feedback and instructor response to that feedback can affect course content and delivery. Technology can facilitate the collaboration.
Technology to Prepare Teachers
As a teacher, you can start using technology in your classroom to prepare for online teaching and to help your students learn better. Many college classes already these methods, so using them may help your students feel more confident about continuing their education and advancing in the workforce. These are a few developments in communication that you can use in school. Google Apps includes a variety of possibilities to get you started.
· Group calendars: Web-based calendars let all users, such as you and your students, view the same calendar. You can update them with assignment due dates, exam dates and scheduled virtual study sessions.
· Email: Email lets you and your students communicate instantly without making an appointment. Holding your students to strict standards of professionalism helps them learn to communicate respectfully in writing, which can benefit them in the future.
· Social media: During lectures, students can record their thoughts on Twitter feeds so that you know which parts of the lecture are coherent, and which may need some work.
· Video chat: You and your students can see each other and have real-time conversations to make online learning feel even more personal.
If you’re teaching an online course, you can think of the classroom tutorial as a virtual tour of the classroom. Design activities for your students to practice taking timed quizzes, using any required course software and logging into journal databases that you are planning to use throughout the course. The tutorial is critical because it may be some students’ first online course experience, and preparing the tutorial helps you review the virtual classroom layout, too. You might want to make the tutorial an entire lesson or module in your course.
If you’ve ever been in an educational setting without communication between students and instructions, you know how important two-way communication is. Teachers need to communicate the curriculum in an engaging and memorable manner. Students need to show that they are paying attention, that they understand the material or have questions. Instructors and students can use new technology to facilitate collaboration and be more productive.
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