To many people, especially those unfamiliar with it, it feels like technology is both a time saver and a time waster and that it fails to keep the promise of increased efficiency.
But technology, like any other tool, is only effective when used correctly: let’s look at some ways technology can reduce a teacher’s workload and improve time management.
1. Identify time wasters
While technology aims at saving time, it can also lead to wasting it—how many times have you spent hours browsing Facebook and wondered where that time had gone?
It might be a good idea for teachers to use a monitoring app to track their usage of mobile devices to find and eliminate the factors that are a drain on their time.
2. Plan ahead
Do you have a thousand things to do and only twenty-four hours to do them? This is a common feeling and teachers are not the only professionals who are plagued by it, but there are plenty of apps to plan your day, your week, even your school year so that you can set goals and prioritise urgent tasks—and as a bonus, you will never be late for anything.
3. Invest time now, save time later
Integrating technology into their teaching methods can feel daunting, especially to those who have been behind the teacher’s desk since before the invention of EdTech and still perceive it as a novelty: at first, teachers may feel like EdTech is wasting more time than it saves because it is taking them a long time to learn how to use it, but the trick is to see it as an investment rather than a waste. Set realistic expectations proportionate to your school’s resources on how and how much you can implement EdTech in your classroom, seek help from more skilled colleagues, and you will find that the time you are ‘wasting’ now will be given back to you later.
4. Analyse data faster
Data analysis is one of the tasks technology is best at, and when the lectures are over, teachers find themselves doing a lot of it too: examining student performances to find weaknesses, for example, is a process that can be long and tedious and encroach on the time to plan the next lessons. But if you no longer have to do it manually and technology identifies in seconds the struggles that you would have found in minutes or hours, it frees up a lot of time to finish your other duties.
5. Administration made easy
A teacher’s job is not just made of lessons: there is marking, planning the content of your next lectures, dealing with a number of administrative tasks—and there are also numerous apps available for each of these. You can administer tests and give assignments that are graded automatically, create flowcharts and notes or download ready-made plans and exercises; just find what works best for you.
6. Communication is key
Social media is not just a distraction: technology has made it easier than ever to communicate with each other, so a judicious use of Facebook and WhatsApp can be a great tool to share relevant information with both students and parents so that nobody misses out on important announcements and you can foster an environment of three-way cooperation and trust between the key players of a good education—teachers, students and families.
7. Teacher collaboration
Speaking of communication, the ease of long-distance connections has created a global community of teachers that can save everyone considerable time: imagine having some of your work already done by a colleague halfway across the world who is willing to share lesson plans and material that work just as well for you.
8. Let students do the work
Technology can also significantly expedite and enhance the practices of peer tutoring and peer-to-peer marking: students can easily evaluate their own and each other’s work and learn from one another anywhere, anytime, thus taking some of the burden off the teacher’s shoulders and developing a better understanding of the quality standards they are expected to reach.
Even in a world that seems to move faster and faster, there are countless options at your fingertips to keep up with our fast-paced lives, if you know where to look—and with technology, the answer to the conundrum is often in your pocket.