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10 Best Tools for Teachers and Students to Use in 2014

10 Best Tools for Teachers and Students to Use in 2014

All teachers have a goal to establish clear, friendly, but authoritative communication with students and their parents. Parent meetings are not the most relaxed environment for the teachers to share their expectations and plans, which is why many educators have started using online tools to make this process easier.

As a teacher, I have been using many web-based tools to bring some fun into the classes and make the communication with my students and their parents more effective. I’ve chosen some of the most useful tools to present in this list, which will hopefully be implemented in the teaching techniques of an increased number of educators during the upcoming year.

1. TutorsClass

tutor class

    TutorsClass is an online solution for distance tutoring. You can use it to create your own tutoring profile and invite students who want to learn lessons in the comfort of their home. This web-based tool will enable you to create your own virtual classroom that will completely substitute offline classes for your students. You can schedule lessons and get secure PayPal payments from your students.

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    2. Smore

    Smoore

      This website gives you a free opportunity to create colorful flyers. I have found a creative way to use this tool – I made a flyer with my contact information and told my students to print it and place it in a visible place (such as their fridge, for example). This way their parents can easily find a way to contact me whenever necessary.

      3. Audioboo

      Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 5.19.20 pm

        If you have a website, this tool will be a nice addition to your arsenal by allowing you to record messages and share them for free. This is the best way to get your message to people because parents and students don’t exactly like reading through long texts of weekly or monthly updates.

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        4. Screenr

        Screenr

          Creating online screen recordings becomes much easier with the use of this online tool. When you need to describe how a certain website functions, you can record an audio message with Screenr as you’re touring the site and elaborating on its features. Sometimes your students are required to use certain websites on a regular basis, and this is the best way to make sure everyone understands how they function.

          5. Remind101

          Remind101

            All parents that opt in to the group you establish will get your short text messages sent via Remind101. This has quickly become the most valuable tool of communication with my students’ parents. It’s free, takes minutes to set up, and allows me to send the needed information in the easiest manner.

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            6. Fotobabble

            Fotobabble

              Creating a fotobabble is the best way to explain simple procedures and policies needed for your classroom. All you need is to choose or scan an image or document and upload it to this service. Fotobabble enables you to record an audio message that will help you explain those procedures and policies.

              7. Google Forms

               

              Gathering all information you need from students and parents becomes easy with this online tool. Google forms can be used for giving quizzes to your students, sending surveys to parents, planning events, or collecting any other type of information easily. You can connect a form to a Google spreadsheet and automatically see the inserted updates.

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              8. Polldaddy

              Polldaddy

                Creating a poll and embedding it on your site takes only minutes with this online tool. My experience with polls tells me that they create an increased amount of interest and attract return visits to the website. You can use Polldaddy to survey the attitude of parents towards the policies in your classroom.

                9. Socrative

                Socrative

                  Socrative is well known in the world of education, and there is a valid reason for its popularity. I found that my classroom became much easier to handle as soon as I started using this free online tool. Socrative enables you to use different educational games and exercises to engage the students, who can access the activities with their tablets, laptops, or smartphones.

                  10. Padlet

                  Padlet

                    I have used Padlet to create a welcome board where my students can introduce themselves. This is a cool way to familiarize young students with an educational technology tool because it’s easy to use and makes them interested in classroom activities.

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                    Last Updated on March 25, 2020

                    How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

                    How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

                    Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

                    However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

                    Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

                    Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

                    Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems.

                    In this article, you will learn why it isn’t easy to build new habits, and how to change habits.

                    What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

                    To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

                    The Biology

                    Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

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                    Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

                    The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

                    A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

                    Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

                    So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

                    Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

                    Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

                    Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

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                    Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

                    The Psychology

                    Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

                    Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

                    Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

                    Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

                    What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

                    Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

                    Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

                    1. Identify Your Habits

                    As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

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                    2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

                    Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

                    It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

                    3. Apply Logic

                    You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

                    Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

                    4. Choose an Alternative

                    As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

                    Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

                    5. Remove Triggers

                    Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

                    Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

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                    6. Visualize Change

                    Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

                    For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

                    7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

                    Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

                    Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

                    Final Thoughts

                    Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

                    Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

                    More About Changing Habits

                    Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

                    Reference

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