As Autumn starts, anyone in education is anticipating the new academic year. Whether you are deciding how to engage a new group of students, setting learning objectives for your course, rearranging the seminar and lecture layout, or wondering what assessment tools to use - there is a lot to think about and prepare. To some, this back to school planning process can be a daunting task.
To make sure you’re utilizing all your resources, technologies and tools to their full potential, we’ve put together some useful tips for preparing for the new academic year:
Start with interactive icebreaker activities
The first week back in class can be exciting and stressful for students, especially if they are freshers. To enable students to feel at ease and to build a good sense of community amongst their peers, it’s a good idea to start the new academic year with icebreaker activities. This gives new and returning students a means to interact and engage and will build confidence, especially with students who are less vocal.
Use a student response system like Vevox that transforms students’ smartphones, tablets and laptop devices into interactive collaboration tools. Everybody can send in responses to your icebreakers live and you can watch them appear on the screen together. Use Vevox’s word cloud poll type and ask your students these questions:
-I chose this College because...?
-What’s your biggest goal for the year, in one word?
-What is your ‘why’ for attending this session today?
-What’s your top stress factor as a fresher?
Why not use our ready to use Icebreakers slide deck and give students a taster of PowerPoint polling?
Get to know your technology (again)
Not all Universities have a variety of digital tools available, but there is evidence to suggest that even technologically-equipped Universities still are not utilizing the tools available to them to their full potential.
Some lecturers still object to technology in the classroom, citing that smartphones are the biggest distraction in a lecture and that education technology takes too long to set up. EdTech tools are meant to enhance learning, not distract from it and research proves that students find Vevox and other classroom tech helpful.
It can be tempting to delay getting back into the classroom, but you know it makes sense to familiarize yourself with all the digital tools and platform features available to you ahead of time, to get back in to the routine. Join forces with your University learning technologists and discuss the technology options available for your course type and make sure it aligns with your teaching /course goals.
If you’re a dab-hand with your Student Response System (SRS), it is still a good idea to get back in the saddle and do a test run of any new teaching material and get re-acquainted. Get in contact with your ICT department and/or learning technologist to see if there have been any updates that you need to be aware of.
If you want a Vevox refresher, don’t forget you can join one of webinars that last just 20 minutes or head to our YouTube Channel to watch our videos on demand.
As EdTech is still a fast-growing sector, there are more and more conferences dedicated to teaching with technology. Try attending conferences such as the ALT Annual Conference to gain further knowledge of the best education technology available. Talking to your peers at these events and within your university is a great way to get recommendations and inspiration.
Refresh your progress reporting
At the start of the academic year it is vital to set up not only clear communication channels, but to consider the best methods for ongoing reporting, assessment and student-teacher feedback.
Students benefit from continual assessment and real-time feedback, so explore and implement the most effective channel for this at the start of term and commit to keeping it going throughout the year. Whether it’s hand-written feedback, via email, LMS or interactive reporting within a platform like Vevox, explore the opportunities for addressing knowledge gaps, and providing feedback where learning needs some extra work.
Vevox’s reporting feature allows you to review student understanding at the class level. You can download your Vevox session report in Excel to share the results with students or colleagues. Use the instant feedback to determine next steps in your teaching.
Additionally, Vevox provides lecturers with a facility to send questions to a discussion board and for students to ask and answer questions anonymously. The anonymity feature removes the fear of asking questions by increasing both quality and quantity of questions being asked, and answers given. Vevox’s sort by likes feature maximizes the effectiveness of your Q&A time by letting students decide which questions they would most like to discuss.
Lecturers also have an option to turn on moderation and easily filter any inappropriate questions before they go live. Already thinking ahead to MFQ’s or MEQ’s? Vevox’s survey feature is perfect for these. Looking for a new MEQ template? Download this ready to use example to use with Vevox, created by a lecturer.
There are many EdTech applications on the market and it can be overwhelming when trying to decide which use. To quote University of Southampton lecturer Trevor Kettle – ‘Technology in lectures has to have a purpose, you need a strategy.’ Find out more about Vevox for Education and don’t hesitate to get in touch to ask any questions – we’d love to hear from you.
Downloadable Guide – 5 Universities that are making their classes unmissable