Many educators think that great teaching is based on trials and errors. However, it is ineffective to test every new technology and strategies. Instead, the most effective approach is investing in researching for the best technology and strategies that have been tested and proven by current teachers. The most important part of the previous statement is “tested and proven by current teachers.” Many school leaders, PD specialists, and consultants often focus on past education research to support their claims and reasoning. Their approach focuses on explaining why the issues exist rather than showing currents educators step-by-step how to solve the problems.
The most important aspect of solving any problems is having and using the right tools. Without the using the right tools, current teachers cannot redefine their teaching practices and innovate learning activities that engage students and promote student accountablity.
As teachers are complacent with what they have and what they used to do, they are taking away valuable learning opportunities from their students. Consequently, they also limit their students’ ability to excel socially and economically in the future. High-quality education is a means for many students to escape poverty, racial oppression, and social inequality.
Below are the possible consequences of using ineffective teaching tools and strategies.
Teachers use mainly worksheets and workbooks.
It easy for teachers to download or borrow other teachers’ worksheets to make copies. Teachers don’t need a higher degree to know how to do it. Because these teachers rely on worksheets, they do not have the time to grade their students’ work and provide important feedback.
The consequences of such teaching methods have many negative effects on students. According to John Hattie’s Visible Learning, his meta-analysis shows that “Boredom” is the third most negative effect size of -.49, below deafness (-.61) and ADHD (-.90). Some teachers rely on worksheets, workbooks, and similar textbook-based tasks to keep their students busy during class. With so many worksheets, teachers do not grade and provide feedback. Altogether, they create learning experiences that are boring for all students. When students realize that their teachers are not grading the work, students find different ways to cheat the system. The key aspect of this consequence is a teachers’ inability to grade and provide feedback. Consequently, teachers rely on quick grading method like “spot checking,” “peer-grading,” or “stamping.”
Hyper-docs and Google Assignments
Similarly, some teachers go paperless by converting their worksheets into hyperdocs or templates using Google Docs or Google Slides. Using Google Classroom, teachers streamline their process of assigning digital worksheets and collecting students’ worksheets. In addition, teachers now have the ability to control specific deadlines, and they don’t have to collect students’ papers and worksheets. Also, they don’t have to grade students’ work with a red or green pen. Their grading is streamlined to entering a number on Google Classroom. During distance learning, many teachers find that they are given students full credit to blank Google Docs, incomplete work, or old works. The limitations are similar to hard copies of worksheets and workbooks. Teachers do not have the time to grade all of their students’ work and provide meaningful feedback. Even though these teachers use today’s technology, but they only use it to substitute for worksheets. Without the right tool, it is almost impossible for teachers to modify and redefine their lessons. Consequently, they create similar learning experiences that are boring for many students. Likewise, students utilize a similar approach to cheat the on assignment to earn the points. To some extent, it is even easier for students to cheat now because they can easily make a copy of other students’ answers with just a few clicks. Likewise, students can search for answers online using Google or website like Chegg.com.
Unreliable Video-Communication platforms.
If we think that teaching via video-communication platforms like Zoom and Google Meet is the same visual and audio quality as in-person teaching, then we are in for a big surprise. Video and audio are lagging via video-communication platforms. Students get disconnected, and they have to reconnect multiple times. When two or more people have their video and audio on, it is almost impossible to hear what others are saying.
Likewise, teachers cannot force students to turn on their cameras or speakers. With their cameras off, students could away while a teacher delivering their direct instruction or explaining a task. Similarly, students could mute the video-communication platform. Also, students could be playing on their phones or playing games during the entire live sessions. Therefore, teachers who think they can lecture their lesson for the entire live sessions will find themselves answer the questions over and over again. Worst, teachers abandon teaching any rigorous academic content and replace it with other activities that are easier for students.
Video-communication platforms allow teachers to bring students and teachers together from different places, but we need to know its limitations. Therefore, teachers relying purely on video-communication platforms like Zoom or Google meet provide low quality learning with little student accountability or learning outcomes.
Unreliable Assessment Tools
If teachers do a quick Google search on ” How to get answers on Google,” they will know that it is easy for students to hack and find answers on Google forms. There are apps for phones to hack Google Form or step-by-step methods to view answers on a Google Form. For example, students can view page sources of the Google Form to get all short answers easily.
Likewise, teachers who rely on ready-to-use online assessments from other websites like Quizizz, Quizlet, Kahoot, or other websites also face the risk of their students finding the answers easily online.
Lastly, teachers who download worksheets from online also later find out that their students can easily search for the answer key online. Then, these students share their answers through social media to all other students.
Some teachers may argue that it’s not the technology that determine the quality of learning; however, the evidence above should help them reconsider their claim. Having and using the right tool make a huge difference in providing quality and rigorous learning.
How can we help?
As current teachers, we co-founded Win Elements LLC to provide StreamlineED as an all-in-one, sustainable, and effective solution to streamline education equity for teachers to implement Blended Learning instruction and MTSS by providing and training teachers on how to use the provided Learning Management System website and teaching strategies that integrate their current technology and resources.