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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 July 8, 2020

                    How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

                    How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

                    What is decision fatigue? Let me explain this with an example:

                    When determining a court ruling, there are many factors that contribute to their final verdict. You probably assume that the judge’s decision is influenced solely by the nature of the crime committed or the particular laws that were broken. While this is completely valid, there is an even greater influential factor that dictates the judge’s decision: the time of day.

                    In 2012, a research team from Columbia University[1] examined 1,112 court rulings set in place by a Parole Board Judge over a 10 month period. The judge would have to determine whether the individuals in question would be released from prison on parole, or a change in the parole terms.

                    While the facts of the case often take precedence in decision making, the judges mental state had an alarming influence on their verdict.

                    As the day goes on, the chance of a favorable ruling drops:

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                      Image source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

                      Does the time of day, or the judges level of hunger really contribute that greatly to their decision making? Yes, it does.

                      The research went on to show that at the start of the day the likelihood of the judging giving out a favorable ruling was somewhere around 65%.

                      But as the morning dragged on, the judge became fatigued and drained from making decision after decision. As more time went on, the odds of receiving a favorable ruling decreased steadily until it was whittled down to zero.

                      However, right after their lunch break, the judge would return to the courtroom feeling refreshed and recharged. Energized by their second wind, their leniency skyrockets back up to a whopping 65%. And again, as the day drags on to its finish, the favorable rulings slowly diminish along with the judge’s spirits.

                      This is no coincidence. According to the carefully recorded research, this was true for all 1,112 cases. The severity of the crime didn’t matter. Whether it was rape, murder, theft, or embezzlement, the criminal was more likely to get a favorable ruling either early in the morning, or after the judges lunch break.

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                      Are You Suffering from Decision Fatigue Too?

                      We all suffer from decision fatigue without even realizing it.

                      Perhaps you aren’t a judge with the fate of an individual’s life at your disposal, but the daily decisions you make for yourself could hinder you if you’re not in the right head-space.

                      Regardless of how energetic you feel (as I imagine it is somehow caffeine induced anyway), you will still experience decision fatigue. Just like every other muscle, your brain gets tired after periods of overuse, pumping out one decision after the next. It needs a chance to rest in order to function at a productive rate.

                      The Detrimental Consequences of Decision Fatigue

                      When you are in a position such as a Judge, you can’t afford to let your mental state dictate your decision making; but it still does. According to George Lowenstein, an American educator and economy expert, decision fatigue is to blame for poor decision making among members of high office. The disastrous level of failure among these individuals to control their impulses could be directly related to their day to day stresses at work and their private life.

                      When you’re just too tired to think, you stop caring. And once you get careless, that’s when you need to worry. Decision fatigue can contribute to a number of issues such as impulse shopping (guilty), poor decision making at work, and poor decision making with after work relationships. You know what I’m talking about. Don’t dip your pen in the company ink.

                      How to Make Decision Effectively

                      Either alter the time of decision making to when your mind is the most fresh, or limit the number of decisions to be made. Try utilizing the following hacks for more effective decision making.

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                      1. Make Your Most Important Decisions within the First 3 Hours

                      You want to make decisions at your peak performance, so either first thing in the morning, or right after a break.

                      Research has actually shown that you are the most productive for the first 3 hours[2] of your day. Utilize this time! Don’t waste it on trivial decisions such as what to wear, or mindlessly scrolling through social media.

                      Instead, use this time to tweak your game plan. What do you want to accomplish? What can you improve? What steps do you need to take to reach these goals?

                      2. Form Habits to Reduce Decision Making

                      You don’t have to choose all the time.

                      Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it doesn’t have to be an extravagant spread every morning. Make a habit out of eating a similar or quick breakfast, and cut that step of your morning out of the way. Can’t decide what to wear? Pick the first thing that catches your eye. We both know that after 20 minutes of changing outfits you’ll just go with the first thing anyway.

                      Powerful individuals such as Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, and Mark Zuckerberg don’t waste their precious time deciding what to wear. In fact, they have been known to limiting their outfits down to two options in order to reduce their daily decision making.

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                      3. Take Frequent Breaks for a Clearer Mind

                      You are at your peak of productivity after a break, so to reap the benefits, you need to take lots of breaks! I know, what a sacrifice. If judges make better decisions in the morning and after their lunch break, then so will you.

                      The reason for this is because the belly is now full, and the hunger is gone. Roy Baumeister, Florida State University social psychologist[3] had found that low-glucose levels take a negative toll on decision making. By taking a break to replenish your glucose levels, you will be able to focus better and improve your decision making abilities.

                      Even if you aren’t hungry, little breaks are still necessary to let your mind refresh, and come back being able to think more clearly.

                      Structure your break times. Decide beforehand when you will take breaks, and eat energy sustaining snacks so that your energy level doesn’t drop too low. The time you “lose” during your breaks will be made up in the end, as your productivity will increase after each break.

                      So instead of slogging through your day, letting your mind deteriorate and fall victim to the daily abuses of decision making, take a break, eat a snack. Let your mind refresh and reset, and jump-start your productivity throughout the day.

                      More Tips About Decision Making

                      Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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