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[Administrator Tips] Using Educational Technology to Lighten Your Teachers’ Workload

[Administrator Tips] Using Educational Technology to Lighten Your Teachers’ Workload

I left teaching at the end of my fifth year because of burnout; I consistently worked 55+ hours a week, including evenings and weekends. I reached a point where I didn't want to do it anymore. I didn't realize it at the time, but I was part of a trend in education where too many teachers leave the profession within the first five years. Teachers leave teaching for many reasons, but one of the most common and burnout-inducing problems that teachers face is the workload; they simply have too much to do and too little time to do it.

One way that administrators can lighten their teachers' workloads is through educational technology (edtech). When district and school administrators are looking to implement new edtech, they are often looking only at the ways the programs directly help students. Because teachers can impact student achievement more than any other factor at a school, choosing edtech programs that make their jobs easier will result in better outcomes for students.

Consider implementing the following types of edtech programs if you want to lighten your teachers' workload:

Instructional Resources

Research shows that about 20% of a teacher’s time is spent planning lessons and developing instructional resources, so implementing programs that help with this can go a long way to making a teacher’s life easier. Look for a program that provides instructional resources, such as readymade lesson plans, online tutorials, interactive activities, and videos that are organized by grade level, topic, and/or state standard. This way, teachers still have the flexibility to teach in their own style but don't have to spend so much time scouring the Internet for resources and lesson ideas.

Assessments

Teachers have to assess learning often in order to track whether or not and to what degree students are mastering the standards. The issue is that writing quality assessment questions is difficult and very time-consuming. To take this burden off of your teachers, give them a program that makes it easier for them to assess their students' knowledge no matter how the content was taught. Look for large standards-based item banks that can be used for both short, informal assessments and longer, more formal assessments. Also, make sure that the program provides system grading and detailed reporting so that all teachers have to do is review the data.

Differentiated/Individualized Instruction

One thing that many teachers have difficulty with is providing instruction at each student’s comprehension level, especially the students who are far below or above the level of the majority of the students in the class, those students for whom the whole-group instruction is ineffective either because they have already mastered the concept or are so far behind that the content isn't accessible. With one teacher to 20 students (or more), there may not be time to work with each student one on one or in a small group each day. To help your teachers with this, implement an edtech program that provides individualized instruction that students can work on independently. This will give teachers peace of mind that all students are getting instruction on their appropriate level every day.

What your teachers may need will vary based on a number of factors like experience, subjects taught, teaching style, and confidence level, so don't assume that you know what type of program will help them most. Ask them. Survey your teachers, and have a discussion about it. Let teachers participate in product demos and trials, and then use their feedback in making your decision. This will ensure that the program that you choose truly helps your teachers.

Looking for more resources on how online learning can benefit your teachers? Check out this resource on how to blend traditional instruction with technology!