For those instructors who are testing new classroom tools for next year - and have maybe found a few things worth bringing back to school in the fall - what’s the plan for getting students onboard?
Here's what we've learned from our users for getting students started.
Stock Up on Course Content
If you’re thinking about working with a new LMS or resource-sharing platform next year, it’ll be nice to load it up with course content prior to introducing it to students. Start a discussion thread or a welcome message. Create a small resource library to kick things off.
Learning a new system is made a touch easier when you’re not working with a blank canvas. Seeing where different types of information live will help students with initial navigation and you’ll have the benefit of learning more about the platform as you fill it up.
If you’re looking for good places to find starter content, check out our list of sites with great interactive, embeddable content for students.
Learn New Products Together
In a recent interview with bio teacher Nicole Nishimura from Gateway Science Academy in St. Louis, Nicole had some fantastic advice for teachers looking to implement new digital systems in their classrooms.
“I let [my students] know that I’m not an expert - if you have an idea on how to use this better, then let me know so we can come up with a better solution. Letting them know that I’ve never done this - letting them know that Chalkup was new - was really useful.”
Definitely something to keep in mind next fall. If you’re onboarding a class with a new product - and know that you have a lot to learn yourself - make it a team sport. That’s one of the reasons Nicole’s story is so good. When she started using and learning Chalkup side-by-side her students, she took student feedback seriously and urged her class to get in touch with us when they had questions/ suggestions for the product (which was really helpful for us, as well.)
So in a nutshell: if you think a new edtech product is a match for your class and there is potential to learn alongside your students, have a discussion with them early in the semester. Find a way to learn together and solicit feedback on how it’s going.
Double Check Your IT Needs Before Day One
No one wants to show their students a shiny new platform on the first day of school only to find out that it’s something their students can’t access for one reason or another. Do a quick walkthrough of how you’ll invite students to a new platform. If you’re working with apps, perhaps download it on a few different devices or have a quick chat with your IT specialist to ensure a smooth start.
This is also an opportunity to see if the tech you're introducing has any support resources or recommendations for onboarding a class. For example, our step-by-step videos for new Chalkup users have proven helpful for getting new users up to speed.
We never want a rough setup to deter users from a product that could otherwise be a great fit for your classroom.
What other techniques have helped your students with new edtech?
Tell us in the comments.