September 14, 2017

By Carolyn Hollowell

I talk to educators across the globe, and one thing they have in common is their passion for innovation. The start of the new school year is a time when many teachers are refreshed, energized after their break and are willing to try something new. If you are looking for some new ideas, I have gathered three new teaching tactics in this blog that have been successful with our customers. Give them a try for the 2017 school year!

1) Flexible Learning Environments

This school year, Rockingham County Schools in Virginia is working to create “Rockin’ Classrooms of the Future” by transforming the physical learning environment into technology-enhanced spaces, providing flexibility for collaboration and interactions that will take learning to a whole new level. The new design, which aims to help teachers move beyond the front-of-the-room practices utilized in a majority of traditional classroom settings, includes flexible classroom furnishings, work surfaces, and seating, as well as mobile technology.

Rockingham is one of the first to pilot our brand-new classroom audio system, Activate, which is specifically designed for small-group collaboration to help them stay connected. The district believes the new audio systems will have a positive impact on student learning outcomes, and strengthen the connection between teachers and students while providing real insights for teachers during the learning process.

2) Add Technology to ELL Teaching

Beaverton School District in Beaverton, OR, is committed to equitable outcomes for all students, including 5,000 English language learners speaking 95 different languages. In an effort to weave technology elements into their daily lessons, Beaverton invested in more than 100 Redcat systems to guarantee vocal clarity and clear language modeling in every ELL classroom in the district.

“Many of our teachers use the Redcats on a daily basis with newcomer students to amplify their natural voices, providing equity to all students and assuring clear language modeling, which is fundamental during a student’s time of being in a new country and environment,” said Toshiko Maurizio, administrator for multilingual programs for the Beaverton district. “Students started out shy and timid, and the Redcat helped them open up.” 

3) A New Kind of Formative Assessment

Ashleigh Schulz, a 4th–5th-grade gifted teacher at Moss Bluff Elementary School in Louisiana, formally assesses her students every few weeks and then three times throughout the year on a progression of the skills and standards that are required for her students to be successful. Although the tests measure student performance, they are often a small glimpse into what a child knows.

To get a fuller picture, Schulz also pilots the Activate System, our two-way audio system, to listen in on organic student conversations and gain a deeper understanding of how students think. Overhearing her students’ thought processes gives her a better understanding of their personal learning needs, empowering her to provide personalized learning environments and learning opportunities to each of her students.

Sharing best practices gathered from our global community is an ideal way to make improvements to your classroom and grow your knowledge and skills. Are you ready to try out some of these ideas yourself? Contact us to share your innovative idea today!

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