Thursday, 30 April 2015

What makes a good question?

Teachers ask thousands of questions each week. They are the prime means of finding out what pupils think and to get them to think in the first place. And there are a range of techniques you can use to develop questioning skills.
Here are five ways to avoid that frustrating ­situation in which you ask a question and receive absolutely no response:
  1. Avoid questions that require a single, direct answer, such as: “What is the capital of Mongolia?” There will be times when they are useful, but questions like these will discourage many pupils from ­responding, because they will be thinking: “There is one right answer to this and I don’t want to be seen to get it wrong.”
  2. Use questions that invite pupils to talk about what they think, such as: “What do you know about Mongolia?” This elicits information in a broader way and the stakes are much lower. This becomes about pupils sharing their thoughts with the teacher and the class.
  3. Put pupils in pairs and ask them to talk to their partner first. This alleviates the social awkwardness of being the first to speak and the numerical imbalance between teacher and pupils. Giving pupils time to discuss in pairs means everyone in the class has a safe, easy setting in which to understand and share an answer.
  4. Give time to think. Ask a question, then wait, allowing pupils time to analyse the question and consider their answer. Avoid the trap of expecting an immediate response or asking quick-fire questions. You could tell them that they have 30 seconds of thinking time, or you could count slowly and silently to 10.
  5. Encourage pupils to write something down. This helps free up space in their short-term memory, allowing them to explore the issue in more depth. Also, it means they will have something in front of them that they can reflect on.

Differentiation through questioning

As a differentiation tool, questioning is second to none. The teacher can tailor questions to fit any audience. Here are examples of three structuring tools:

Concrete to abstract

This method involves a gradual transition from concrete thinking to abstract thinking. Here is an example:
  1. How many ducks are in the pond? (The most concrete question.)
  2. What colour are the ducks?
  3. How are the ducks behaving?
  4. What are the relationships between the ducks?
  5. What might be influencing the behaviour and relationships of the ducks?
  6. Why might they have come to be as they are?
  7. Is all human life mirrored by the ducks?
  8. If ducks could speak, would we understand them? (The most abstract question.)
Keep the concrete-to-abstract continuum in mind when you are asking questions. If a pupil is struggling with the topic, ask them a concrete question. If they are confident, use a more ­abstract question to push their thinking.

Show me, tell me, convince me

This method goes from simpler to more – challenging questions – to convince someone ­requires knowledge, rhetorical skill and a sound understanding of the issue. Here is how it works:
Show me: use the phrase “show me” as the command part of your question to ask a pupil to show you what they have done, how they have learned something. The word “show” indicates that this ­activity will involve a basic level of thinking.
Tell me: the phrase “tell me” means you are making greater demands of pupils. “Tell” indicates that this activity will require a deeper level of thinking than “show”.
Convince me: the phrase “convince me” will result in even greater demands on pupils. Ask them to convince you that something is the case or that a certain action is needed. “Convince” indicates that an activity will require complex thinking.
With this method, you can ask a number of questions based on each category. You could extend the strategy by using the command words “explain”, persuade and so on.

Digging deeper

Here, your aim is to get to the bottom of what pupils think. Your questions will involve asking for explanations and justifications. You will need to be persistent. Listen carefully to what they say and latch on to anything that is not clear, plausible, supported by evidence, reasoned or explained.
Here are some examples:
  • What do you mean by that?
  • How does that relate to the question?
  • Why do you think that?
  • What evidence do you have for that?
  • How can you justify what you have said?
  • Why should we accept your answer?
This approach differentiates because it helps pupils to explore the foundations underpinning their thinking. Whether a pupil is more or less able, any statement relies on some sort of justification and pupils can explore this in whatever depth they can manage.

Making knowledge provisional

We want to help pupils to develop critical thinking skills. One way of doing this is to present knowledge as provisional. This can be achieved through use of the word “might” in questions, which helps them to arrive at a reasoned answer built on careful thinking and discussion.
For example: What is democracy? What might democracy be? If you ask the second question, pupils cannot help but reason, analyse, assess and examine. This will not necessarily be the case if the first form is used. In the second case, pupils will be able to arrive individually and as a group at answers based on critical thinking.
With this approach, the teacher is able to elicit detailed information about what pupils think and why. They can then use this to adjust and improve their teaching.
It also means that answers and ideas are tested in a critical crucible, in which evidence, examples and reasoning must be used to justify ideas. Making knowledge provisional means placing it in relation to the criteria that have developed since the Enlightenment and underpin what we are prepared to accept as true.  This type of questioning trains pupils to think critically by demanding certain types of response and by subjecting these to further analysis and evaluation.

Questions as a diagnostic toolWhat makes a good question?

Teachers need to be knowledgeable about a range of things: pedagogy, learning, specific subjects, thinking and psychology (more lay than professional). Unlike doctors, they do not need to know about any of these in great depth. It is likely that they will know more about one area than the others, but their skill comes from a synthesis of the various elements.
This presents a quandary that must be clarified if a teacher is to use questioning for effective diagnosis: what is being diagnosed? We can put pedagogy aside because it concerns the teacher, not the pupil. But we are still left with four elements: learning, the specific subject, thinking and psychology. If a teacher is using questioning to diagnose and prescribe, they ought first to consider which of these they want to know about. This will ensure that they ask questions that are appropriate and that will elicit relevant information.
Here is some analysis of the four elements that can help a teacher to decide what it is they are looking to diagnose:
Learning: This refers to the general act of learning. It includes aspects such as how a pupil learns, how they interact with what the teacher is asking them to do, what they perceive learning to involve, their attitude to learning and any elements that might inhibit learning. If a pupil appears not to be grasping what is going, the teacher may question them to find out why. They may find that the pupil does not ­understand the task or how it will help their learning. The teacher can “cure” this by explaining and exemplifying.
The specific subject: This refers to the content of the lesson, including aspects such as knowledge of key terms and understanding of concepts. If a pupil says they do not understand the work, this may be because they cannot come to terms with the content. Here, diagnostic questioning would help the teacher to identify what, specifically, the pupil does not understand. Perhaps they have misunderstood a key concept and are now misinterpreting new material. 
Thinking: This refers to the general notion of thinking, including reasoning, analysis and problem-solving. A pupil may give you an answer that does not include any evidence of how or why they have come to that conclusion. Questioning could then be used to draw out the thinking that led to that answer. It may be that the pupil’s thinking was sound, but it is still better to make the process explicit. Or it may be that the pupil came to the correct answer through incorrect means. In this case, the questioning will have elicited the error and given the teacher a chance to correct it.
Psychology: This refers to the psychological factors at play in the classroom, including motivation, self-confidence, the influence of past experience and so on. If a pupil is reluctant to engage with a particular task, it may be because a psychological factor is inhibiting them. Diagnostic questioning can help to elicit what is causing the problem. The teacher can use information they gain to suggest alternative approaches. For example, a pupil might be reluctant to take part in group work that will lead to a presentation. Diagnostic questioning may reveal that they are scared of speaking in front of a large audience. The teacher could then suggest that they work on scripting the group’s presentation but do not have to speak in front of the class.
Diagnostic questioning involves asking questions to elicit specific information. This will probably be problem-solving, identifying error or checking what is known or understood, so it stands to reason that it is useful for teachers to think about this in advance.
The key thing is to reflect on your questioning and ­review it week by week, to identify what works best for particular classes. This is a large topic and for more strategies and activities see my  e-book, How to use Questioning in the Classroom.
Mike Gershon is an author and sociology teacher at King Edward VI School in Bury St Edmunds. His free teaching resources can be downloaded from the TES website at 


Reasons why students may not respond to questions:
  • They do not know the answer.
  • They do not feel confident.
  • They do not understand the question.
  • They have not listened to the question.
  • Social pressure is inhibiting them
  • They are bored.
  • They do not feel sufficiently comfortable to share their thoughts.
  • They fear getting the answer wrong.

How to ask

How to develop good discussion questions:
  • Think big. It is easier to home in on specifics from the big picture than vice versa.
  • Find something that could be at issue. This can act as a focus for discussion.
  • Pitch your questions carefully.
  • Ensure pupils will have enough knowledge and understanding to talk about them for a sustained period.
  • Make your questions clear (or be ready to explain them).
  • Imbue your question with purpose. What is it you want your pupils to get out of the discussion? Develop questions accordingly.

What to ask

Questions to help develop thinking:
  • What do you mean by that?
  • What you just said, could you expand on that?
  • How might that play out?
  • For what reason?
  • Could you give me an example?
  • What other examples might there be?
  • What has led you to think that?
  • How did you come to think that?
  • What else do you think about it?
  • How have you come to that conclusion?

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Five of the best apps that help teachers communicate with parents

Smartphone with apps
From instant messages home to performance data at the touch of a button – here are the best digital tools for getting parents engaged in learning
It’s vital that teachers make sure those at home – be they parents or carers – are aware of what goes on in the classroom.
I learned a lot about parental engagement in my job as a school improvement coach and member of the senior leadership team. As an edtech writer I often look at this issue from a digital perspective too. Millions of conversations on everything from behaviour to bullying are now happening online.
So how can technology help teachers, parents and students connect and communicate? For those unaware of what’s out there, here’s a handy guide to the best apps for engaging with parents:



iOS/Android, free
Whether it’s to impart an urgent message or a bit of fun, bambizo allows you to chat with your class’ parents. You can post messages, ask questions and share information. You can also make micro-communities within the app for niche groups. This is helpful if you want to focus on specific questions around a particular issue, such as attendance, or post a quick message to help with homework or revision. The down side is that there do not seem to be many reviews out there, so any comments you have please post them below.



iOS/Android, free
This app has more than 35 million users, which shows that parents really want to be involved with their children’s education. One in two schools in the US are now using this. It captures and generates data on behaviour that teachers can share with parents and administrators. As well as the usual comments that can be sent out, such as when a child does well in their homework, the app helps teachers inform parents about behaviours they want to encourage at home as well, for example, “helping others” and “persistence”.
If parents want a proper answer to the question, “What happened at school today?”or to know if their child has been “on task”, this app can tell them. There have been issues with the latest update (in terms of both sides getting messages), but the team are working on this.



iOS/Android, free
If you think it is just a “teaching Facebook”, you are wrong. This app allowsparents, teachers and students to communicate and collaborate by sending messages, sharing photos, setting calendar reminders and much more. This webinar – one of many of the website – takes you on a journey across the whole platform so you can see how more than 50 million people use this social media platform for education.
If you teach GCSE you might find Edmodo of extra interest this summer due to their new partnership with Cambridge University. Edmodo began in the US and has recently been supporting American teachers with their preparation for theCommon Core Educational Standards by launching Snapshot, a free tool that delivers a clear picture of students’ performance data. They have now turned their attention to their UK market with a partnership aimed at creating “standard-aligned content” to help with the new curriculums. This means that revision resources by Cambridge University Press will be easily accessible for both parents, students and teachers via this platform. The launch is planned for August 2015. This social media platform is upping its reach in the UK, stepping into assessment and administration, and I think that this has real potential.

Pupil Asset

Pupil Asset

iOS/Android, free
Pupil Asset has a new “Pupil Asset Parents” product that allows parents to review “attendance information, behaviour levels, current and historic school reports and progress in the core subjects.” This means that parents will be able to review information on their child at the touch of a button, making teacher-parents meetings more about exploring options than reviewing levels.
A real bonus is that teachers and parents are in control of this data – rather than the senior leadership team. It is in one place, colour coded and clear for all to see. As a result, some schools are finding this really useful to track the impact of their pupil premium work.



iOS/Android, free
The popular app Remind allows you to text both students and parents (one-way) for free. Telephone numbers are not seen (making it safe for everyone) and you can easily archive the message history.
A big plus is that you can send voice mails and icons. This is particularly helpful for parents who are not literate or have English as an additional language (EAL) as it eliminates any writing barriers. These parents can find universal images and spoken English (or whatever your chosen language is) really useful and feel more confident in discussions around learning. You can also attach photos, documents, PDFs and then see who has viewed the content. This blog post about how a school used icons for their English language learner (ELL) families illustrates how beneficial this can be for both parents and teacher alike.

The downside is that it is a one-sided conversation and, personally, I believe for successful parental partnership dialogue needs to be open for both. However if you can balance this out with face-to-face meetings and other forms of electronic communication it could work for you.

Monday, 27 April 2015

How to find a teaching job you love

School entrance
Find a good source of job vacancies, read behind the lines and decide whether the school is the right fit, advises Alan Newland
If you’re thinking of changing jobs, the first thing to remember is to be very careful. Choosing the right school has far-reaching implications, not just for how happy and supported you feel, but for what kind of teacher you become.
Whether you are a newly-qualified teacher or looking to move up the career ladder, you need to pay close attention to three issues: finding good sources of job vacancies; assessing adverts; and deciding whether you are the right “fit” for the school.
Sign up to as many sites and agencies as you can – you don’t need to register yourself exclusively to just one. But make sure you customise your search so you don’t waste time trawling through jobs that are not relevant to you. Some teaching job sites, such as Guardian Jobs for Schools and, allow you to save your job search preferences by region, town and city, subject, phase and school type – and will send automatic email alerts of the latest vacancies.
Adverts can be difficult to gauge these days, however. If you were to believe everything they say, all schools have “fantastic children”, “enthusiastic colleagues” and are “committed to high standards”. Certain tell-tale signals you should look out for include “personalised professional development” or “individual, guaranteed support during your induction period”. The advert can also reveal more than the person specification. For example, calls for “Energetic and resourceful teacher required for lively but loveable class” is code for, “You’ll need the patience of a saint to teach this lot”.
Deciphering whether the school “fits” is trickier, especially since you should try and suss this out before you prepare an application or interview. Here are some tips on what to try:
 Read the school’s website and the latest Ofsted report. Most of this information is there to attract parents, but is there a human element as well as the corporate gloss?
 Read the Department for Education information about the school. This gives another dimension as it makes comparisons with schools of a similar profile – absence rates, trends in performance etc. Search for a schoolhere.
 Don’t jump to conclusions. You won’t necessarily be happier or better supported in a school with a string of “outstanding” Ofsted reports. Don’t assume “special measures” is to be avoided; schools in challenging circumstances often have the most committed and hard-working teachers who will inspire and encourage you.
 Visit the school prior to interview if possible. Get a feel for the children, the staff, the building and the local area. For first appointments, the school may arrange group visits with other applicants. Don’t be intimidated by that – go and see what you make of it.
When you do visit, be sensitive to:
 First impressions. You may see and hear things that strike you as odd, such as children addressing teachers by their first names. You may find the buildings awkwardly arranged, like some classrooms in portacabins. However, you will get used to strange, new ways very quickly so don’t put too much store by these.
 Atmosphere. How are you greeted? With warmth, consideration and time to answer questions or with haste, anxiety and cursory courtesies? Do teachers seem to be having fun? Is staff turnover an issue? Do children and students dash about pushing and shoving each other? Or is there a reasonable degree of orderliness given their energy? Are students reasonably eager to get to class? Or do they drag their heels coming in from breaks, hanging around toilets and corridors?
 Relationships. Do teachers and children speak to each other with respect and courtesy? There are bound to be a few lapses but what is the general tenor? Are children engaged or do they answer back?
Most new teachers tend not to be picky about whether a school is “faith” based or “community.” Nevertheless, you will want to feel that the ethos, values and culture of the school suits you. For example, if you are an a vowed atheist you may well find the ethos and beliefs of a traditional Roman Catholic school not to your liking. If you are not religious, you will probably be asked if you are sympathetic to the school’s beliefs and ethos. Accepting an appointment in such a school presumes that you would at least respect this.
You may relish the thought of teaching in a tough inner city environment, working with children who are ethnically and culturally diverse, some of whom will be coming to school fluent in two or three languages. The picture is changing rapidly of course but if teaching socially and economically disadvantaged children appeals, these days you are just as likely to find them in coastal towns and rural areas as you once were in inner cities.
The advice to take from this is whatever the advert or website says, try to visit a school and decide for yourself whether you feel comfortable with it – whatever its reputation. If the school feels good because the staff seem genuinely hard working and friendly then it is probably the kind of school where not only children are thriving, but new teachers will too. Trust your instincts.

What role should teachers play in career guidance?

From sharing their own stories to building careers into the curriculum, there are six main ways teachers can help students explore future opportunities

Lego figures
Research suggests that teachers shouldn’t be solely responsible for careers guidance. Photograph: Alamy

Since the Education Act 2011, schools have been required to offer career guidance to their students. Some of this responsibility has inevitably landed at the door of teachers, but their exact role remains a bone of contention.
My colleagues and I at the University of Derby have just published a paper for Teach First exploring this question. What became clear was that teachers shouldn’t be expected to be careers guidance professionals. Instead, it’s about a partnership. Career guidance professionals bring expertise in theory and knowledge of the labour market and links with employers to the table, while teachers bring pedagogic knowledge and have sustained relationships with their students. Other key stakeholders – such as employers and post-secondary learning providers – are also important. Together all of these different people help young people to explore the opportunities open to them and make purposeful steps towards their future.
There are six main roles teachers can play. The first two are based on the relationships they build with students. Teachers have had careers of their own. They have made decisions about whether to go to university, what subjects to study and what jobs to do. Their experiences are useful for young people. These things need to be presented carefully, as what worked for the teacher may not work for the students, but teachers should be having career conversations.
Teachers also have a well-developed pastoral duty. As trusted adults, young people approach them with concerns and dilemmas, many of which relate to future aspirations. Working through these issues with young people in ways that keep their options open is important. Career is a context for many life decisions and teachers need to be able to offer some solutions when it is important (including referring young people to professionals and other specialists).
The next two roles are more focused on teaching. Teachers can link their subjects to the world of work. For example, highlighting how a particular scientific process is used in research or industry can increase the perceived relevance of curriculum. Similarly, a discussion of the job of publishers in English literature can enhance the understanding of the text. This is also an ideal place to involve employers and working people by inviting them to talk about how they use the knowledge and skills that are covered in the curriculum.
Teachers can also apply their pedagogic skills to the delivery of career learning. It’s a distinct area with its own knowledge base, but career education can be enriched through connections with curricular and cross-curricular themes such as writing and communication skills.
The final roles relate to who heads up this area in school. Other countries have developed a middle leadership post – the career leader – who has responsibility for spearheading this area of education in school. They may have management responsibility for careers professionals or work closely with the PSHE team, and a willingness to represent the school externally with employers and post-secondary learning providers. This is a post that requires training and reward. When established properly, it’s a position that could lead to senior leadership, offering valuable whole-school experience and a chance to develop contacts beyond the school building.
Finally, senior leaders must make sure that careers work in schools is effective. Ultimately they will be held to account under the statutory duty and our researchsuggests that they are critical in setting the agenda so this area flourishes. At present there is little training to develop world-class careers provision.
The six roles discussed here provide a framework for teachers to think about. This area should be seen as an integral part of teaching, something that is exciting and helps unlock students’ potential. If the job of the careers leader and the careers responsibilities of school senior leaders can be better established, this should help teachers develop in their own jobs.
Tristram Hooley is professor of career education at the University of Derby.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

18 Things a 21st Century Teacher SHOULD Do and HOW To Do Them!

twenty first century teacher

DO you know what an IFTTT recipe is? What about how to App Smash something? The technology available at our fingertips is mind blowing, but all too often, we aren’t even close to using it to its capacity. As a teacher, I have seen my fellow colleagues beat their heads against a wall (metaphorically speaking) as they attempt to hold back the tide of technology as students try to help it wash into the classroom. What are we so afraid of? Surely it’s well and truly time to get ahead of the game and teach our students that their phones and tablets can be used for more than game playing and social media.
We are in the 21st century and we need to recognise that these devices can actually make our lives easier! We already know that students want to be using their devices, they also like the curiosity challenge, so we should be using this to our advantage. Before you know it, the kids will be on-task and with less behaviour management issues to deal with when we can make activities interactive & interesting.
For those who are struggling to catch up to an increasingly digital world, let me help solve the awkwardness for you. Here is a list of ideas that I gathered from HookED on Innovation, that help guide you from “what the heck does that mean” to “ah, so that’s how I can use this in my classroom.”

1. Post a question of the week on your class blog.

If you don’t already have a class blog, you should seriously consider it. Here’s a link which guides you through 15 blog sites you could use and explains the pros and cons of each. If you’re not sure what happens on blogs, here’s a link to some forward-thinking 21st century teachers withsuccessful classroom blogs so you can get some ideas for what to include in your blog. This strategy is a great way to have your students own what happens in your classroom and hone their literacy skills! Happy blogging!

2. Participate in a Twitter chat.

Whether you are a tweet-a-holic or are still trying to understand what a #hashtag means, this link explains 50 ways you can use Twitter in the classroom. If you don’t even know how to get to Twitter, here is a helpful video that will guide you through where to find it and how to get started.

3. Make a parody of a hit song.

A personal favourite of mine is Autorap, an iPhone app that lets you speak into the phone and automatically converts it into rap song and puts it to music! One of my year eight students showed me this app and it certainly changed how we do revision now. Sometimes the words are difficult to hear, so I like to make a quick movie to the soundtrack. Here is a link to an example, in which I used My Talking PetWindows Movie Maker andAutorap #AppSmash.

4. Create an infographic as a review.

Visual cues help us store and access information which increases the chances that your students will remember what you’ve taught them. If you’re not the creative type, you can use a free template, or make your own using PowerPoint. Infographics are a must for the 21st century teacher.

5. Go paperless.

In Australia, we use 2.4 million tonnes of paper each year. How much paper does your organisation use? Here are 15 tips for going paperless in your school.

6. Create your own class #hashtag.

This 21st century teacher strategy allows Twitter to categorise your tweets so they are all grouped together and easier to find. Here’s a quick link to get you started.

7. Integrate selfies into your curriculum.

Show me a student who doesn’t like a good ol’ selfie and you’ve just found yourself an alien (or perhaps an undercover police officer). Using this strategy personalizes the learning and makes it more memorable. I utilised this strategy when my year 12 Science in Practice class had an assessment piece making a user guide for the equipment in our Performing Arts Centre. The photos they used needed to be authentic and recognisable as them using the equipment. It worked so well and really made sure they knew how to use the equipment rather than getting a random pic from Google. All you need for this one is a smartphone, iPod with camera capabilities, or if you go old-school…a camera.

8. Curate a class Pinterest account.

Using Pinterest with students allows them to collaborate with others to curate information. Critical thinking skills come in play when students locate, analyse, and select quality information for a board answering an essential question for a research project. Check out this guide for uses, project ideas and a rubric for assessment!

9. App Smash something.

It’s what the cool kids do! What is it? Content created in one app transferred to and enhanced by a second app and sometimes a third. Preferably the final product is then published to the web–remember, digital presence is the new résumé (CV). Here’s how to smash it up! Note: #2 uses App Smashing technology…look at you go already!

10. Use Augmented Reality.

Combine the real world and computer-generated realities for an interactiveand mind-blowing lesson. You will surely look like a ninja with this strategy. Warning: your students are quite likely to be engaged…are you ok with that?

11. Create an IFTTT recipe.

What the heck is that? IFTTT (abbreviation of “If This Then That” and pronounced like “gift” without the “g”) is a web-based service which allows other services (e.g., Gmail, Google Reader, Instagram, Craigslist) to be programmed by means of simple conditional statements (called “recipes”). This strategy essentially packages everything that you are interested in and allows for some automation which is time saving! Here’s how to use it.

12. Perform in a lip dub video.

Perhaps we’ll see this strategy in the 21st century school camps. It’s touted as a fun and unique way to bring your team together and learn how to work together. In the very least, it does look like fun!

13. Create an ebook.

With so many templates out there, making an ebook for your class work is definitely impressive. In Australia, ebooks represent about 10 percent of the market (Slattery, 2013). This means that the market has a long way to grow and teaching students this skill now could help develop a passive income strand before they are even out of high school. Flex your 21st century teacher muscles and use an app, or just make it in PowerPoint orMicrosoft Word and save it as a PDF–it’s that easy! Snappy is also a great resource to use, when you click on it, it looks a little boring, but download the program and it’s super easy to use!

14. Produce a class audio podcast.

State of the News Media (2011) estimated there were 2,231 education podcasts produced. This is not many when you consider that Apple put the total number of podcasts at around 250,000. This 21st century teacher skill is a great way for students to show depth of understanding as well as to learn digitally relevant skills that could easily have them as the next Steve Jobs, before they even graduate. Here are some ways to get into podcasting.
 Image by Michael McLean

15. Use a backchannel.

How many times a day do you tell your students to put their phones away during their lesson? What if there was a way to harness that interest and propensity for conversation and tie it into your lesson? There is and it’s been around for a little while now; it’s called a Backchannel. While this sounds awesome, you need to put some constraints around it or your lesson will be lost forever. I learned this the hard way, in true ‘crash and burn’ style but I can tell you that it certainly is the fastest way to learn. I would definitely use it again with implementing some strategies before starting.

16. Create comics.

Comics are the perfect way to help engage learners in reading and getting them to use their imaginations (something we seem to train out of our kids as they get older). These can be used to show understanding for a concept, practice active problem solving, improve writing skills and even help students understand body language cues. You don’t need to be super computer literate, but this 21st century teaching strategy is so easy to implement.
21st Century Teacher skills
Image by

17. Take a photo of class work.

Technology is here to stay and the quicker you harness its benefits, the easier your job will be. Use your mobile phone to record the work covered during the lesson and then upload it to your class blackboard/Moodle/internet page. This way if students are away, they can easily catch up on the work covered.

18. Peer review assignments.

Have students complete the draft of an assignment and post it to their individual blog. Just because you are a 21st century teacher, that doesn’t mean that everything needs to be done with technology (shock!). This strategy could just as easily be done using a planning template. The idea is that classmates should go into at least three of their classmates’ blogs/template and give hot and cold comments as constructive feedback. Hot comments are when students outline what needs to change and cold comments are specific things that were done well. (e.g. Hot–Make sure your writing is in third person. Cold–Your paragraphs link well.)