It is a well-known fact that, because of the pandemic, the past few years have been very challenging, both for teachers and for students. Teachers in Romania were forced to step into this century, in a short period, and not many of them succeeded. The main problem was, of course, the lack of electricity, internet or laptops for most of the teachers in the countryside, but another problem, equal in importance, was the reluctance to use technology and new methods and the fear of improving. Teachers are still anchored in the previous century, and they only feel comfortable when using the old methods they were taught by their trainers.
Yet, there are many teachers also, that have an ECDLicense, and the Coronavirus pandemic made them take benefits from their advantage. However, they felt the need to expand their views and, in so doing, they spent hours studying which are the best sites for every level of students, they attended webinars regarding online tools for assessment and evaluation.
For English classes, online teaching was a success, because we were able to do many things that we couldn’t do in the classroom, such as giving worksheets (not every school can provide a printer and a laptop in each classroom), documentaries, or movies to practice listening (few schools have intelligent whiteboards), fun quizzes and so on.
Here are some tools that the students responded well to and can be used during both online teaching and classroom sessions:
‣Kahoot! – It is an educational platform that promotes game-based learning, which increases student engagement and creates a dynamic, social, and fun educational environment. Teachers can create questionnaires, surveys, or discussions to complement the lesson. Pupils are playing and learning at the same time.
‣Edmodo – It is an educational tool assimilated into a social network that connects teachers and students, allowing them to administer and provide educational materials, measure students’ performance by creating collaborative groups. This tool has millions of users who can connect to create a learning process that is more enriching, personalized, and aligned with the opportunities brought by technology and the digital environment.
‣Socrative – It is a system that allows teachers to create exercises and games that students can solve by using their smartphones, tablets, laptops. The teacher can see the result of the activities and can modify the lessons to personalize them, according to children’s needs.
‣Liveworksheets – It is a useful tool for creating interactive exercises for students, using different formats such as drag and drop, multiple-choice or join the arrows. It is possible to create speaking exercises or to include audio or videos. Students solve the exercises and can instantly send their answers to their teacher and receive immediate feedback.
‣Storybird – a great tool where teachers can create projects with students, interactive and artistic books, give constant feedback, and organize classes and grades. This aims to promote reading and writing skills through storytelling. This kind of tool is more used in primary and gymnasium classes.
‣Projeqt – It is an extraordinary tool that allows teachers and students to create multimedia presentations, with dynamic slides. Links, quizzes, interactive maps, Twitter timelines, and videos can be embedded in these slides, thus making this online tool very appealing.
Now, that we got back to our seats, in front of the classrooms, why shouldn’t we keep on using these tools during our lessons, if possible? Nobody can stop a resourceful, open-minded teacher, because “every child deserves a champion — an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.” (Rita Pierson)