Smart Classroom Management Can Boost Student Engagement: Here's How

Shefali Vasave | August 4, 2022 | 370 views | Read Time : 02:23 min

Smart Classroom Management Can Boost Student Engagement
2020-21 proved pivotal for online learning technologies. The sudden shift to remote classrooms pressed educators and parents to emphasize environments conducive to anywhere learning, creating anywhere classrooms everywhere. Classroom management has become integral to these new settings where learning has to be an extension of the physical classroom. Virtual classrooms may still be in their nascent stage, but this is the time to test better ways and establish smart classrooms that are flexible, advanced, and encourage knowledge retention.

What Makes a Classroom Smart?

A smart classroom will make extensive use of technology to engage and immerse learners. The tools will be designed to generate interactions between educators, learners, and parents through multiple media. For instance, laptops and tablets will complement or even replace books, and a significant portion of the curriculum will require online tools to implement the study plan. According to TeachThought experts, there are eight components to a smart classroom technology stack:
  • Integration of the digital and physical space in learning
  • Live feedback from teachers
  • Diverse technology usage, like smartphone apps and Wi-Fi
  • Workflows that are not linear
  • Customized learning paths and environments
  • Transitioning lessons with no beginning or end
  • A new approach to delivering learning
  • Availability of an immense amount of data


Managing a Smart Classroom

Traditional classroom management thrives on the ability of educators and students to create a robust learning environment that promotes an exchange of ideas and the creation of a learning ecosystem that is conducive to creativity and productivity. Managing a smart classroom with or without technology is about keeping learners engaged and focused on the learning outcomes.

A technologically-driven smart classroom only aids learners to develop self-initiative and act independently when it comes to presenting ideas and projects. Smart classroom management will focus on three things, namely: lesson and group organization; instructional approach, and optimization of technology and time. Passive learning isn’t something every student will prefer, so digital smart classrooms offer them the avenue to initiate learning, actively learning and get involved in class forums.

Smart classroom management also comprises addressing technology-based hurdles for accessibility and technicalities. For instance, issues like cyberbullying, data security, ransomware, and a breakdown in internet access can hamper lessons and cause interruptions.


What Are the Best Practices to Follow?

In traditional classroom management, the emphasis on student-teacher association is paramount. The point is to establish relationships, define boundaries and help identify the students’ strong and weak points in order to help them thrive. Educators and school administrators can follow a range of best practices to get the most out of smart classroom technologies.  Here are some best practices to follow:
  • Do a thorough check of whether all technology is working as it should
  • Set a contingency plan for when something goes wrong
  • Determine protocols for providing students with the help and point of contact they need when something isn’t working
  • Set collaboration guidelines to avoid unnecessary back and forth
  • Provide teachers and students with an avenue to engage offline as well
  • Take regular screen breaks


What’s Next?

Today, technology is a playground of the youth and even the youngest school students are well versed with the use of technology. It is only a matter of leveraging this familiarity and affinity and ensuring that learners are making the most of these skills. Embracing a smart classroom fully will take tome but the possibility to create a springboard for richer learning experience using it is immense.

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Teach For America is a diverse network of leaders who confront educational inequity through teaching. We’re a force of advocates, entrepreneurs, policymakers, and community members committed to profound systemic change, because we know opportunity begins with education.

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3 Ways to Recession-Proof the Education Technology Department

Article | July 12, 2022

Schools are an integral part of society, with roots entrenched in the economy and an unquestionable role to play in building the future of the country. The Great Recession in the mid-2000s demonstrated that while federal stimulus can promote the adoption of technology in public education budgets, during recessionary periods it becomes a challenge to continue building and maintaining technologically well-equipped schools. As we move into another recession, educational technology leaders will have many tough decisions to make as they attempt to keep the impact of an economic slowdown away from the classroom. Technology leaders in schools must understand that the surge in demand for technology to maintain remote learning will not mitigate the decision to cut costs. To avoid affecting critical pieces of the technology department, here are three ways to recession-proof the technology department. Outline the Costs Well in Advance Technology isn’t cheap and it can make a dent in your education budget if not planned for. This is why it’s necessary to outline the costs, and maintain a budget for the renewal of standard hardware and software in order to leverage bulk buying discounts later. Determine the Must-have Tech Positions An economic slowdown will undoubtedly lead to some difficult conversations about which positions are crucial for the school. To avoid making the wrong moves, develop a clear blueprint of the roles and responsibilities of the positions that support every program. This will ensure you are able to anticipate the impact of a budget cut on the IT team. Avoid Yearly Renewal Contracts During a recession, many tech vendors experience an increase in operating costs that are then passed on to schools and districts. Consider signing multi-year contracts to lock-in costs at stable pricing. You might want to think about multi-year contracts for tech partnerships in areas like data management systems, assessment and student information, and teaching programs. The recession is inevitably causing uncertainty, and the technology budget will remain a live wire, especially considering the fiscal aftermath left by the pandemic. For technology leaders, the goal must be to avoid the lasting effect of budget cuts on the technology department. Investing in multi-year pricing contracts, identifying critical team roles, and budgeting for renewals well in advance can alleviate some of the impacts.

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How to Counter Teacher Burnout in Education?

Article | August 8, 2022

Teacher burnout has become a massive challenge for many educational institutions. According to the National Education Association, 55% of the teachers surveyed are considering quitting their profession much earlier than planned. Over 600,000 teachers have already quit in the span of 2020 and 2021. Educational institutions must prepare to identify burnout and ensure teachers successfully create an inclusive, engaging learning experience. Recognizing the Signs of Teacher Burnout Laurie Santos, a professor at Yale University and a cognitive scientist, says that burnout has three major symptoms. Being Emotionally Exhausted Emotional exhaustion is when a person feels exhausted and burned out even after a full night’s sleep. Depersonalizing Santos equates depersonalizing with feeling high levels of cynicism towards others. Individuals who are depersonalizing often feel annoyed at people requesting them to doing something that is part of their regular role. This frustration signals burnout. Reduced Personal Efficacy When an individual feels like she isn’t making a difference or she isn’t doing her job well, a sort of disenchantment sets in. To the individual, it may feel like they aren’t being effective at their work, and this is a sign of burnout. How Teachers Can Reduce Burnout Teacher burnout must be treated as a serious issue. Educational institutions and teachers should team up to ensure they don’t undergo burnout. Here are some ways to do that: Don’t Ignore It Organizations must have a system in place so teachers can seek the help they need to treat their burnout symptoms. A lot of teachers tend to ignore negative emotions in order to keep working, but this is the wrong approach. Just as screen time must be regulated for children, teachers need to regulate their workloads. Instead of sweeping it under the rug, acknowledge it and treat it so you can bounce back higher. Don’t Attach Your Identity to Your Job Santos says that burnout is sometimes a result of being unable to separate your identity from your job. This is something that happens a lot with educators. A way to treat it is to spend off time with friends, engage in hobbies unrelated to your profession, or invest more energy in other life roles, like being a parent. To Conclude In the age of remote learning, teachers and educators must be careful not to let their love of teaching hurt their physical and mental health. As a profession, teaching tends to take its toll. When you combine that with teacher shortages and cases of overwork, education becomes a high risk, high turnover industry.

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5 Strategies for Schools to Win an Education Grant

Article | July 15, 2022

With so many competing districts and schools, getting an education grant can be a tough nut to crack. However, crafting an effective strategy can make the process simpler. Here are five strategies to adopt to ensure you’re on track to win that education grant your school needs. Aligning School Needs with the Education Grant Funder’s Vision When applying for an education grant, it is essential to be aware of the grant funder’s vision. Ask yourself, do you understand their mission and vision? Is the particular grant and ideal match for your school? Most people forget to take into consideration the funder’s vision when making a plan, making a critical mistake in the process. Ensuring the Plan Conforms with the School’s Long-term Plan Your school’s long-term plans must align with the project or plan you’re seeking the grant for. Providing a substantial basis for your grant request is bound to create the right impression. Funders want to know if their grant still makes sense for your school a few years down the line. Defining the Outcomes that the Grant Will Serve Your students are at the heart of your school and highlighting how the grant will benefit them, why it will benefit them, what type of students it is going to impact and the achievements and learning they will experience will help demonstrate your school’s desirability to be the grant recipient. Outlining the Team Capabilities, Contributions and Expertise The right team can make or break your proposal. This is because when you have the right people on the team, you’ll be able to make a better case for the support and tools you need to empower them to do their best. Emphasizing the right mix of people is an important part of a grant request, whether it's for financial help or tools for professional growth. Highlighting How Technology Will Benefit All Stakeholders Instead of focusing on the technology you need, give emphasis to your plans and their outcomes in the long run. Many schools make the mistake of preparing the grant proposal as a wish list instead of illustrating why they need what they need. Mentioning how the technology will support your plan leaves a lasting impression. One Last Tip Proceed with the grant criteria in mind when you craft the proposal. This will ensure that every plan you include addresses the grant’s goal and will bump up the chances of making a successful proposal.

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EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY

L&D and Higher Education: A Long Overdue Partnership

Article | July 11, 2022

When it comes to staying competitive in an ever-evolving market, workforce management is a significant contributor. And what keeps a workforce agile and transformation-ready? A Gallup study revealed it’s learning and development. L&D that encompasses reskilling, upskilling, strength-based learning and higher education support result in a 73% attrition rate, according to Gallup. At the same time, it yields a 23% higher employee engagement rate and 18% higher productivity. So there’s no doubt that L&D initiatives are a win-win for companies and their employees. And there might be a way to get the most out of the benefits by working with colleges and universities. Here are just a few collaborations in the educational space that aim to meet demand for skills and talent in their local and regional communities. The Marion Community To break down organizational barriers, a powerful partnership between Marion Technical College, Tri-Rivers Career Center, Ohio State University at Marion, superintendents of all local school districts, Ohio Means Jobs, Marion CANDO! economic development, the Marion Area Chamber of Commerce, and industry partners is working together to address the needs of the local labor market. LED FastStart’s Approach to L&D LED Fast Start is a top-ranking workforce recruitment and training program in the U.S. The organization is renowned for pioneering acclaimed training programs to fulfill the demand for an ongoing workforce pipeline. It has also partnered with multiple organizations, including the Southern University at Shreveport for aviation programs, and the Grambling State University for programs in computer science and cybersecurity. LED FastStart is also driving a partnership with the Nunez Community as well as NASA and Boeing. For example, students at the college are working at the NASA Michoud Assembly Facility to build rockets in collaboration with Boeing. Training a Workforce in the Western NY Wilds Alfred University offers the best undergraduate and graduate programs in advanced ceramics technology, glass technology, and renewable energy. A fantastic resource for highly specialized employers in New York State's Advanced Ceramics sector is the university's Center for Advanced Ceramic Technology (CACT). Through education in ceramics, glass, renewable energy, and materials science, the CACT creates a pipeline of talent. Through funded student internships, they can minimize businesses' expenses by providing experiential training with research and manufacturing-grade equipment. To Summarize Where one-size-fits-all L&D programs fall short, higher education fills the gaps. There is an emerging trend of educational institutions that offer tailored partnerships to help businesses train their workforce in new and upcoming skills. Forward-looking businesses must grab the opportunity and tap into these learning and development partnerships to fulfill their workforce upskilling and reskilling needs.

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Teach For America

Teach For America is a diverse network of leaders who confront educational inequity through teaching. We’re a force of advocates, entrepreneurs, policymakers, and community members committed to profound systemic change, because we know opportunity begins with education.

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Connect for Education, Inc. (C4E), a leading provider of online learning technologies, is proud to announce its partnership with American River College, Sacramento, CA (ARC) that will provide students with a curriculum path to obtain an Associate in Arts in Music for Transfer degree (AA-T) that will transfer to any state university and admit them as a Junior. This new partnership provides students the opportunity to take some or all of their courses through C4E's digital platforms. The courses include four semesters of Music Theory and Musicianship (I-IV), Applied Music (including one-on-one mentor sessions), and Performance Ensembles. By completing this set of 21 - 24 music units, along with 36 – 39 additional units of general electives, students will earn a total of 60 credit hours that will automatically transfer to their new state institution. "The program is unique in that it offers unparalleled flexibility for students in how they choose to take their courses. This platform is the ultimate implementation of 20+ years' worth of instructional design and development experience. The Music Theory and ear training courses have been meticulously designed to provide a solid foundation for music students. The Applied Music courses come complete with four semesters of specialized curricula for a variety of instruments and voice. Students can record themselves for peer review and take synchronous lessons with a well-qualified, seasoned instructor. It even includes a jury component whereby performances are judged by a panel at the end of the semester. The Ensemble Course provides collaboration opportunities for instrumentalists and vocalists that otherwise might not be available to them and all at a low cost per-student with equitable access for everyone." Dr. Carlos Maldonado, Chief Learning Architect and co-founder of C4E The initial stages of the program are currently being piloted this fall semester at ARC and more advanced courses will be added in subsequent semesters. While the initial courses were tailored to ARC's specifications, they are customizable for the specific curriculum of any community college and can be implemented immediately. C4E will be expanding the program across community colleges in California as well as other states. The program expansion will unlock possibilities for students to attend four-year institutions in cost-effective blended learning manner, while obtaining the foundations of music through C4E's transformative platforms. About Connect For Education Connect For Education Inc. (C4E) is an education technology company serving both academic and professional clients since 2001. C4E offers an extensive catalog of configurable online academic courses adopted at over 400 educational institutions annually. C4E enables personalized digital learning experiences powered in C4E's proprietary Learning Management System (LMS) – C4E Link – along with active learning tools. Like C4E Bridge, C4E Link is one of a variety of proprietary learning platforms that enables integration into multiple major LMSs via Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI). In addition to serving the academic market, C4E designs, develops, publishes, hosts, interactive online courses for US government agencies, corporations, and nonprofit organizations to enhance training, continuing education, and Executive and Professional Education programs.

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