Teachers, professors, and instructors: We know you. You can’t stop learning new things.
While you may need to research and understand the new process or system at your school before the first day of class, we suggest adding a few other skills and tools to your learning to-do list. These can make your work more efficient, lessons more engaging, and keep your skills updated. And these tools can also be creative, engaging, and fun for you and your students.
The demand to rapidly upskill exists in every field. In this blog, we suggest a few innovative tools that are easy to learn and quickly implemented into your online, hybrid, and in-person classes. By leveraging these tools, you can create an inclusive and interactive learning environment that caters to diverse student needs and maximizes academic outcomes.
AhaSlides: Empowering Interactive Teaching and Student Engagement
AhaSlides makes creating interactive pieces fast and easy. You don’t need to be a media expert or learn complicated or expensive software. Try AhaSlides templates for surveys, quizzes, and games. You can simulate meetings and project kickoffs. Use it to create spinning wheels, lessons, and collaborative exercises that encourage active participation from students. You can gauge student understanding of topics and then adjust the curriculum. Use AhaSlides to stimulate discussion, gather ideas and feedback, and engage students in their learning. As a bonus, you can download the slides as PowerPoint presentations.
Canva: Enhancing Visual Communication and Course Materials
Canva is an excellent tool for educators and students. It’s a graphic design program for non-designers. Everyone can quickly create visually appealing and professional-looking course materials, presentations, infographics, social posts, and even websites. Visual communication engages students while conveying complex information effectively. With Canva’s user-friendly interface and extensive library of templates and design elements, you can easily create visually-engaging content that captures students’ attention and enhances their understanding.
Canva offers education memberships. Your class can create and collaborate within the website or app. It’s a great tool to assign creative assignments to students for everything from maps to presentations to social media, videos, and graphics.
Google AutoDraw is currently called “an experiment” by Google. It’s an intuitive and easy-to-use program that uses machine learning to help students express their ideas visually. Teachers and students can use it to illustrate complex concepts, collaborate, and express themselves visually.
Google AutoDraw can add an interactive element to visual aids. Instead of relying solely on pre-made images, professors can use AutoDraw to quickly sketch and generate professional-looking visuals that cater to specific class requirements. Whether annotating diagrams, creating concept maps, or designing infographics, AutoDraw’s vast library of recognizable icons provides a handy resource for visual representation.
UDL Guidelines: Implementing Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework that emphasizes inclusivity and accessibility in education. The UDL Guidelines are a comprehensive set of principles and strategies to meet the diverse needs of students. Professors can leverage these guidelines to design courses and materials that accommodate various learning styles, abilities, and preferences. By adopting UDL principles, instructors can create a more equitable and inclusive educational experience, fostering student success and engagement.
We know you’re tired of hearing about OpenAI’s ChatGPT! But you still need to play around with this tool to understand its potential and how you and your students can use it in your courses. This AI-based tool can assist professors in outlining ideas, generating quiz and test questions, and drafting course content.
You’ll want to edit anything ChatGPT spits out to make it relevant to your course and students. It’s also important to see how students might use the tool to complete assignments. Consider including ChatGPT as part of your curriculum, asking students to use the tool and to discuss ethical issues around AI.
As higher education continues to evolve, professors must upskill themselves and embrace innovative tools that enhance their teaching practices. AhaSlides, OpenAI’s ChatGPT, UDL Guidelines, and Canva are powerful tools to help today’s educators by fostering student engagement, promoting accessibility, and optimizing instruction. By incorporating these tools into their teaching repertoire, professors can create inclusive learning environments, improve student outcomes, and adapt to the demands of online education.
Remember that the selection of skills, software, and tools may vary depending on your discipline and specific teaching goals. It’s also essential to consider the particular resources and support available at your institution to facilitate your learning journey.
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