Study Hacks: Helping Students and Teachers Work Smarter, Not Harder

December 14, 2015
James Tieken
Classroom teacher

CATEGORIES In the Classroom, Technology Integration

We all know that integrating technology into the classroom can be a challenging, sometimes time-consuming task. With so many new educational apps and with the typical problems found on a daily basis, it's almost impossible to find time to fully incorporate anything into your already jam-packed schedule.

But did you know there are plenty of tools that can make many of the things you do on a daily basis easier? We're talking about everything from the unspeakable horrors of late-night grading to the insanely long copier line (which may or may not be broken by the time you reach it). I've listed a few ways for students and teachers to work smarter, not harder, allowing everyone to be less stressed, to free up more time, and to enjoy themselves more at school.

Do you spend hours every night grading?

Work smarter with Nearpod

  • Nearpod is an interactive presentation program with which you can input quizzes so students can complete them during your presentation or lecture. Afterward, students' grades are emailed to your account, organized and ready to be put into your gradebook. The results can be emailed to the parents, and you can even assign homework electronically. The best part is that Nearood is compatible with PowerPoint so you won't need to create new presentations.

Work smarter with Quizlet

  • Note cards are a great study tool, but they take forever to make and end up littering the floor. Teachers, do the rainforest a favor: Save the paper and start using Quizlet. This website allows you to input your weekly vocabulary words, auto-define them, and include pictures and audio. All students can access your set of vocabulary words. Students also can use the cards to study, play games, and even take tests that are graded immediately after they're submitted. All you need to do is gather up the test scores and enjoy a Friday free of vocabulary grading at home.
Are your students yawning in class, causing you to yawn?

Work smarter with PowerPoint and GIFs

  • To avoid putting your audience to sleep, consider spicing it up a bit by adding GIFS to your PowerPoints. GIFS are moving pictures, so students will be glued to your presentation.

Work smarter with Nearpod

  • Add some interactive quizzes to your PowerPoint slides using Nearpod. Have students take part in your presentations, and assess them as you go. This will increase student participation, focus, and retention. This will also help you gauge whether students understand the concept.
Falling way behind schedule due to impromptu review sessions?

Work smarter with QR Codes on homework, notes, and take-home tests

  • Placing a QR code on students' homework, notes, or even tests can introduce videos, games, and even online worksheets for students to practice at home. QR codes are simple to make. Just search for a QR code generator online and input the URL. QR codes can be used to review as well as to introduce a new concept. Apply a QR code to the back of a test to introduce the next unit your class will cover. This allows students to review past lessons through their old notes and quizzes, therefore freeing up class time and promoting independent learning.

Work smarter with Explain Everything

  • If you're having trouble finding worthwhile content to share with students at home, consider exploring Khan Academy, YouTube, and Crash Course. However, if you can't find a video you like, the app Explain Everything is a great way to create a short video yourself, upload it to YouTube, and have your students review at home. Students will be able to learn on their own time, whenever and wherever they wish. The best part is they'll be able to watch the video as many times as needed, and you won't have to feel like a broken record come Monday. 
Planning to spend an entire PD day organizing your small paper mountain?

Work smarter with Google Classroom

Google has helped teachers through its platforms, including Docs, Slides, Mail, Sites, and Drive. As helpful as these are, they offer no bridge between student and teacher. However, Google Classroom is designed to connect teachers and students, track student progress, and achieve more together. This free mission control allows you to forget about the temperamental copy machine and send papers to students directly. It allows you to view whether students have completed an assignment, to have a direct line of communication with your students, and to let them submit assignments online. Never hear "my dog ate my homework" or "I left it at home" again. And forget ending class early to check student planners. Instead, set an alarm to remind each student!