Let’s Make Classroom Management Fun With These Apps

One of the most dreaded things many of my teacher trainees have is classroom management. Managing in this case would include getting students to be on task or to get a loud and rowdy class to quiet down.

While classroom management books are littered with different techniques with how to effectively quiet down a class, nothing beats incorporating some good old tech to lighten the load of the teacher. With that in mind, here are three apps that will help you as a teacher in managing the classroom.

Some of these apps may even put a smile on your students’ face.

Bouncy Balls

I have seen it far too often. Its your first day entering a new class and you are met with a class of 40 students, happy and rowdy after break time. Your options to calm them down are pretty limited. You could hold up a cane, threatening to punish them. This could get you into serious trouble involving lawyers. You could yell and beg for them to stop, except that never works. Your other option of course is bouncy balls.

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Bouncy balls monitors the sensitivity of noise around the classroom. If there is a lot of noise in the classroom, the balls will bounce around rather violently, if not, they just stay where they are. This app is based incorporated with some kind of reward or punishment. For example, if the class is not able to stop the balls from bouncing, everyone would get extra homework. Alternatively, if the class is able to stop the balls from bouncing, then they will get extra free time.

This is a great app and it definitely saves you the effort at yelling at the class. This app also fosters a habit. As time goes by, all you have to do is project the bouncy balls on screen and the students will automatically quiet down.

Google Forms For Scoring

While most would use Google forms for surveys, I like using it to keep my students’ score. There are many score keeping apps out there. However, most apps only keep your score for one game. I use Google forms for the long haul, accumulating and keeping my students’ score for the duration of the entire semester before rewarding the group with the best performance in class.

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Google forms also compiles the scores into an excel sheet, allowing the students to view how well they are participating and performing in classroom activities. The use of Google forms may be a simple way to keep score, but the point is that with such an app, you can bring your students’ scores anywhere without having some students manipulating the scores during recess.

Forest App

No, you are not required to send your class into the forest, but this is a great app to keep students focused, especially if you are dealing with older students who are allowed to bring their phones to class. Its rather difficult to stop students from stealing a glance once in awhile at their phones.

This is especially apparent during long lectures when you see some students staring at their crotch and smile. I mean, no one does that unless they are using their phone. Of course, there could be another reason, but we shall not go there. This is where I have found the forest app to be rather useful in keeping my students focused.

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The forest app is an app that requires students to stay away from their smartphones and allow a virtual ‘tree’ to go. If the students are not able to resist the temptation of using the phones, the tree would die. How I would implement this is in situations where pen and paper tasks are involved. I would divide my class into groups and set a time when the app would be used.

The students are not allowed to touch their phones until they are able to complete their tasks. Alternatively, during times when students are required to self-study, the app can also be used to see how long students can go without using a phone.

Conclusion

All these apps are of course not foolproof and I have used them in a way that I have found useful. I hope that you have found this post useful, and that you are able to use the tools in this post in your classroom.

A Cheap & Offline Way Of Bringing Virtual Reality To The Classroom

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The use of Virtual Reality (VR) has been in trend for some time. While the use of equipment such as the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are high end and not to mention, expensive options. That being said, in today’s post, I’ll be talking about a free and offline app that can be applied in rural classrooms.

Before I begin, the purpose of this post aims to address a long-standing problem that has been plaguing teachers. Most governments requiring the use of technology with at times limited support. Limited support, in this case, would include the lack of infrastructure and finances to support the use of technology in the classroom. With that, the burden falls on the teacher to use technology in the classroom. As such, I believe apps like ‘Sites in VR’ and tools like Google Cardboard are the future.

Google Cardboard

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I first discovered Google Cardboard when I was looking to bring VR into the classroom. When the likes of Oculus Rift and  HTC Vive launched, I was sold with the potential of VR in the classroom. The problem was with funding, I could not get my department to buy me an Oculus Rift nor a PC that could support it. As such, I had to look for cheaper options in the form of Google Cardboard.

Google Cardboard costs about 5 dollars from where I’m from. Funding was easily approved and within a week, I received 30 Google Cardboards for my project. I suppose that was easier to swallow for my boss as compared to asking for 30 units of Oculus Rift.

I first used Google Cardboard in a classroom of students who speak English as a second language. In this class, getting them to speak or write in English is a  massive challenge. I managed to get 30 of my teacher trainees to lend me their smartphones. Along with Google Cardboard and Google Street view installed on those phones, the students in the classroom started using English.

The use of Google Cardboard and street view allowed the students to visit any site on earth. In my opinion, this has brought about a sense of novelty and encouraged them to be more participative in the classroom.

But what if we don’t have any internet connection in the classroom?

Sites In VR

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I think that as time passes, more and more offline applications being added. One of these apps is ‘Sites in VR’. This application is similar in many ways with Google Street View, but what sets this apart is the ability to download locations and ‘sites’ to be used offline. Sites in this case could be an area of interest in a country or even the moon.

With this, it allows the students to explore various areas that they otherwise won’t be able to. Of course, some would argue that the use of a video would have a similar function. The thing is, with the use of VR, this allows for an interactive experience to explore places. This also helps catalyze the students’ creativity and encourages them to express themselves more.

Conclusion

I hope this post opens up a few cool tools that you can implement in the classroom. If you are in an area with weak and poor internet connection, the use of Google Cardboard and Sites in VR will be an excellent edition to your list of possible tools to use in the classroom.

Hello WordPress! Thanks To Steempress & Vornix

This is my first WordPress post which has always been a dream to do but never realized. That’s because I came across Steemit first instead of WordPress, as such it made more sense to stick with Steemit for the long haul instead of merely starting a WordPress blog.

That is until I came across Steempress which allows for the posting of blog posts simultaneously on both a WordPress site and a Steemit site.

STEEMPRESS & VORIX

Image source: https://steemit.com/steempress/@steempress-io/steempress-ready-to-curate-steem-powered-wordpress-blogs-with-1-million-steem-power

For the longest time after I have started my Steemit journey, I have wondered how would it be possible to post Steemit articles on both a Steemit site and a WordPress site. While it is possible to do separate posts on both Steemit and my very own WordPress site, it did not make sense since most of my audience are already on Steemit.

Furthermore, I have been introducing Steemit to my students and having them visit my WordPress site did not make sense, since some of them already have a WordPress site which was not working out for them. As such, I am completely sold on the use of Steempress as a way to publish my WordPress articles on Steemit. The thing is, I was not able to install any plugins with my free WordPress account. To do that, I would need to pay 24 USD a month for a a WordPress account. That did not make much sense to me until Vornix came along.

Image source: https://steemit.com/steemit/@alvinauh/hellowordpressthankstosteempressvornix-i2tn24q5sn

The wonderful people at Vornix were awesome enough to help me start my own WordPress site at any amount of SBD payment. I paid 3 SBD, still an awesome deal if you ask me to have my own WordPress site. I suppose the only downside is that I can’t have my own domain name, alvinauh.com but I suppose that can wait.

CROWDSOURCING EDTECH & EDUCATION PROBLEMS

That being said, I am looking forward to do more with this new site and I look to the teaching community for support, not in the form of upvotes but ideas in general. I believe that we are moving towards an era where technology is inseparable with education. Increasingly, more and more governments are implementing some form of mobile learning or learning management system to enhance the teaching and learning process.

However, there are issues, not only with the application and use of technology, but also with the teaching aspect. For example, how do you get students to use the shiny new app that the school paid thousands of dollars for? More importantly, what are the techniques that can be used to make it happen? I hope that I would get some great questions from the Steemit education community and beyond on how to appropriately apply technology in the classroom.

 

Moreover,  I hope that this site will draw more teachers to use Steemit not only to help with funding, but as a community to help each other in our respective areas of teaching.