The state of technology allows us to have instant communication with each other over many types of devices. You can email someone at anytime. You can send a text message, send a tweet, post on their Facebook, and even call them up on the phone. It can put a lot of pressure on us all when there’s always a way to contact each other at any hour of the day or night.
However, there are great advantages to being able to contact and connect, especially for teachers and their students. No longer are students’ questions regulated to class time or extra help sessions. No longer do teachers have to wait until the next day to add notes or adjustments to assignments. The question then becomes, what are the best ways to continue the educational communications outside the classroom?
A traditional way for a student to contact their teacher outside of class time, giving students an E-mail address allows them a place to ask questions that they have about the assignments that perhaps they didn’t have the opportunity to ask in class, or came up when they sat down at home to do the work. The key is to set up guidelines, such as tell students you can’t answer emails after a set time in the evening. Either way, you’ll discover E-mail can really help students who may need some extra guidance, but didn’t realize it until it was time to do the homework.
A Class Twitter or Facebook Page
By setting up a class Twitter account or a class Facebook page, students will have a place to continue in-class discussions or ask questions that may help other students as well. Teachers can make announcements to all students and send out reminders after school. By having the space be on social media it allows for all the students to be engaged and involved. Think of it as an extra help virtual space that you and other students can use to help everyone achieve tothe best of their abilities.
Many teachers have created their own websites for their classes. This can be a place where you post assignments, schedule due dates, and post reminders for upcoming exams and projects students should be working on. Teachers can even publish daily notes and assignments from the lesson for students to access away from the classroom. This is great for students who may be absent, as they always know they can keep up with the work being done at school. The website can also have an active comments section so they can ask questions or continue discussions from the classroom right on the page with the assignments or notes of the day.
The key to maintaining communication with students outside the classroom is to use ways you can set limits and monitor what’s being discussed. Remind students to check the website or social media accounts daily for any updates and reminders. The more it becomes part of the classroom culture, the more students will take advantage of the communication and learning opportunities it creates. You want students to have the opportunity to have their questions answered and keep it transparent so everyone can learn and be helped by each question and discussion point.