Tools to Help You During COVID-19
Most schools have shut down in a bid to help stop the spread of COVID-19. These 8 (and some extra) tools are a few picks that schools can use to make this process easy while ensuring their students continue learning. Some of them can even be used for making this un-settling period more fun and interactive for the school, teachers and the students.There's something here for teachers, school admin, students and even stuff that parents might find interesting so just keep reading.
These school tools are for sharing assignments, collaborating on projects, communicating with parents and much more during and after the COVID-19 outbreak.
Dropbox folders are a great way to share assignments with students and/or to collect them from students. You can create one class Dropbox for all to use, or students/teachers can each create their own and then share folders. Dropbox can be accessed online, or it can be downloaded onto your computer for easy access. There is an app for mobile devices as well.Another cool thing you can do with Dropbox is sharing photos and videos too. Instead of emailing photos to every parent or trying to send them hard copies, You can easily upload albums for, say, certain type of assignment and email the link to everyone who may want to download them. When schools are back in session, you can upload albums, class photos, excursions and the likes.
Google drive is also great for sharing and collaborating on word documents, PowerPoint presentations and the likes. Students can use it to work on group assignments and of course, teachers can review and add comments to the work as they go along. The best perk with this tool is you can see who did what, when.
Another must have. It's a great way to keep students and parents informed as to what is happening in your school both during and after the social distancing (resumption dates, result collection etc.). By adding parents emails to the calendar, you don't have to worry about sending out notifications because Google will do it for you.You can even link your calendar of events to the school website so that visitors can be aware of important dates as well and can choose to be notified about them.
Basically, there's no reason why your school shouldn't have a social media account. You'd know if you follow us online because we've shared this before:
These are just 5 of the many reasons why your school should have a social media presence https://t.co/bc9ZvYvwzN
— FlexiSAF (@FlexiSAF) October 3, 2017
During this period, there are many ways to use social media to keep in touch with students and parents. For example, you can organise a challenge/contest where students can tag your school account in their social distancing photos, and you can re-post. The best or most creative one wins.It will be great for not only keeping students engaged during the holiday but also for encouraging your students and keeping their spirits up.Teachers can also meet up with other educators on Instagram or Twitter during this period to grow their professional network.
These 2 different tools serve a similar purpose - They are great for collecting feedback. At the end of every term or school year, it's a great time to get valuable feedback from students, parents and even other staff. Google forms and survey monkey are 2 very easy to use tools that can help you do that.Another slightly overlooked function is that both tools have multiple choice question capabilities and can be used to make multiple choice quizzes or assignments that students can take and submit online. These tools are very easy to use.Poll Everywhere is another good tool for creating polls and online quizzes, although it's mostly applauded for its live poll/live quiz feature. (so you can use it for live classroom polls or to find out how well you have been performing)
One of the most worrying things about not being in school for teachers is how best to teach the students, prepare lesson notes, assignments etc.SAFSMS helps schools achieve this, stress-free. In addition to all of those features, it can help school admin and teachers evaluate student results for the term in batches and evaluating and planning finances. It also helps the issue of communicating with parents during the social distancing period. Since all of the parents' info is already on the system, they can be notified of important activities via SMS, email or in-app notifications. Just ask parents to download the app on Google Play or log in to their Parents dashboard.
This one came as an afterthought. But you remember all those "How I spent my Christmas holiday?" essays students always have to write? You could step it up a notch and ask the students to make a presentation using power-point and other easy to use presentation creators. They can present it to the class virtually or when they resume or share it in the class dropbox folder. This is a way of making the same old assignment a little more interesting.Powerpoint can be installed on PCs and tablets. Teachers and students can also explore other presentation and storytelling tools - they are numerous out there!All these tools are very easy to use and they are free. They will not only reduce the flood of paperwork you have to deal with, but they will also make for a seamless experience. In fact, you will wonder why you have been doing things any other way in the past!Perhaps one of the most important benefits of using these tools and keeping the students involved is that they will be more engaged with school, even during the social distancing period and you are encouraging them to become more tech-savvy - same can be said for the teachers as well.