The next thing you need in your teacher tool kit is a way to deliver content. Even though there is a variety of strategies out there to deliver content outside of the teacher, straight up direct instruction is still incredibly valuable. Many students learn better that way, and students who have seen that direct instruction approach through their days of school are so trained in it that changing is incredibly tough. The challenge for any teacher in doing direct instruction is to make it engaging.
Direct instruction is actually the way schooling has gone for years. The teacher takes the content, splits it into chunks, presents it, and the kids take notes on it. Through the years, things have shifted to most of the visual cues with this being in a presentation rather than a chalkboard, but overall things have not changed much. The challenge with this approach though is that lack of engagement.
As students take direct instruction, it’s easy to get bored. It’s easy to not really know what you are writing down. It’s easy for things to get tedious. How do we change that? It is possible, but the challenge is that many teachers don’t know how. The two tools in this post work to change that, and they are incredibly easy to implement. It’s just a matter of moving past that initial fear.
Nearpod and Pear Deck work to make presentations more interactive. The basic idea behind them is that you take the presentations and put them on the screen in front of the student. Then as the teacher moves the presentation it moves on the students screens as well which makes it inherently more personal.
That personalized learning is a huge plus, but what brings up the engagement is all of the activities that you can intersperse in them. You can add things like questions, response boards, website, VR, simulations, and more. It means that as students are taking in the content they also have to apply it making that learning stick just a bit more.
Both of these platforms are fairly easy to use. It just takes adding your existing presentation slides to them and then interspersing the activities in between the content. That ease of use means anyone can do it, and it also makes it a great entry point for most teachers (and a good starting place for tech coaches.) Nearpod even has pre existing slides to get you started, and Pear Decks Google slide integration makes converting those decks easy.
` Are there other ways to present content? Yes, but none go as easy as these too. These are both platforms that any teacher can use. They also have the added benefit of being able to run in a student mode at home. I highly recommend adding one of them to your toolkit!
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