Teachers are facing a huge challenge to rapidly transit their skills for 21st century teaching-learning needs!

Most Valued Digital Skills to Fast Become an Online Teacher

More than ever before, up-skilling and upgrading to a digital teacher have become inexorable! What are those 10 digital skills a teacher needs to know in order to transform into a digital teacher? Let’s check out in this brief article!

The lockdown situation has posed a huge challenge in front of the classroom teachers. The schools and colleges have swiftly transitioned into remote teaching. The administration and management expects teachers to be adroit in using technology to teach online. What digital technologies do teachers require in order to successfully transit to digital teaching?

This list has been carefully curated with the help of teachers to bring for you the most valued resources especially in COVID times and beyond.

Online Video Conferencing Apps

Remote teaching has become so much simple with the help of online video conferencing apps. Initially devised for corporate meetings, it has become highly popular among teachers to carry on with their lesson instructions. Among a number of such apps available, free of cost or with premium charges, Zoom, Google Meet, Webex CISCO, jitsi, skype, etc. has shown an unprecedented increase in their number of app downloads. These apps can accommodate up to 100 participants in a single meeting. They provide easy to use navigation, speaker, microphone and screen sharing options etc.

Learning Management Systems (LMS)

An LMS is strongly recommended if you are looking to administer and manage your lessons in a well-organized and systematic way. One can easily upload/download documents, share links, flash announcements, and initiate discussion for learners on a topic. It maintains a record of assignments and grades obtained by students. It also helps in monitoring, keeping track of your students’ performance with the help of inbuilt learner analytics. The most loved LMSs by teachers globally are Google Classroom, Edmodo, Blackboard, Desire2learn, Moodle, Canvas, etc.

Quizz Creators for Teachers

Once you get equipped with digital teaching, creating a quiz will be a child’s play using these very easy and convenient tools. There are a large number of freely available and paid online tools for creating quizzes, tests, assignments, polls, surveys, etc. Among these, Quiz Maker, ClassMarker, iSpring, ProProfs, and Google Forms are the most widely used by teachers. One may quickly create and share them with students. They are often automatically marked and can be customized to provide feedback and even correct short answer subjective questions using appropriate key words saving a lot of teacher’s time. These tools also provides a summary of the student performance which is highly useful to check student progress.

Interactive White Boards

If teachers got to choose that one thing which they miss most about classroom teaching, we might get unanimous response in form of a whiteboard or a blackboard!

With technology at your disposal, the power of whiteboards has only enhanced with added features. For remote teaching, there are a number of apps that provide whiteboard/screen options to be shared in real-time with participants like Explain Everything Whiteboard, Educreations, Google’s Jamboard, Chrome Canvas app, AWW app, etc. These allow annotation features to use pen/pencil/eraser/marker pens/highlighters etc. These may also be shared with students, saved, and referred afterward too in the form of pdf documents.

Adapting to these writing tools might seem difficult initially, but with practice you can perfect it easily.

PPT Sharing Sites

Powerpoints are extremely powerful tools for lesson creation and presentation. Often, teachers might not have the time or expertise to create their own PPTs. There are numerous websites which facilitate sharing of PPT presentations on diverse subjects for teaching-learning purpose. Such sites, namely SlideShare, AuthorStream, Slideworld, SlideServe, PowerShow, etc. also allows its users to upload their own PPTs thereby creating a community for free-flow exchange of resources.

The gamut of roles a digital teacher needs to perform!

Collaborative Learning Networks

Collaborative learning is much advocated today due to its extreme benefits of developing critical thinking and decision making skills while working together in groups. This is one of the important aspects of online learning as well. If this component is missing in online learning, the learners might get bored and feel isolated. Learner engagement is crucial in an online learning environment. The teacher’s role here is of a facilitator who not only engages but creates an opportunity for online collaboration. Although an LMS is provided with such inbuilt features, some teachers prefer using social networks like Google Groups, WhatsApp groups and even a Facebook page for that matter! Google Docs and blogs are also good ways to instill collaboration among learners.

 Gamified Learning Apps

Online learning doesn’t have to be boring at all! After all video gaming keeps children glued for hours! The same principles have been employed in designing gamified learning apps like Kahoot, Minecraft, Duolingo, Class Dojo, Classcraft to keep students enthusiastic and engaged in learning. Points, leader board, avatars, rewards, levels, goals, and many more immersive features keep learners motivated. The teachers have the power to customize the gaming elements, award points, and keep track of student learning. Often, collaborative learning through teamwork is also possible with the help of these apps.

 Open Educational Resources (OER)

Stemmed from the philosophy of Open education, open educational resources are freely accessible, openly licensed digital resources useful for teaching, learning, and research purpose. These digital learning resources might be in the form of text, images, videos, courses, modules, learning objects, etc. Some of the popular OER websites which can be easily used by teachers for their lesson preparation or self-enrichment are OER Commons, MIT OpenCourseWare, MERLOT, Commonwealth of open learning (COL), Lumen learning, Wikipedia, and Wikimedia Commons, etc. India’s National Repository of Open Educational Resources (NROER) harbors 18,735 highly useful e-resources. 

Useful GOI Apps for Teachers

NCERT’s ePaathshala has successfully catered to the textbook needs of learners when the schools got abruptly shut down just a few days before the commencement of new academic session. In the absence of printed books, all students and teachers utilized digital version of the NCERT books from Class I to XII available for free download on ePaathshala. SWAYAM is our indigenously developed MOOC platform offering hundreds of free online courses by some of the top educators. National Digital Library is a huge repository of high quality educational material developed by some of the prestigious educational institutes of the country. DIKSHA app is specifically designed for teachers to access aids like lesson plans, worksheets, activities, practice exercises etc. Besides, NISHTHA app provides holistic training to teachers and school heads through online courses and learning material.

You Tube

Whether you are looking for a learning video material to share with your students, or you want to create your own videos, You Tube is the best place for all your learning and teaching needs. A mammoth repository of world’s all kind of videos created and uploaded by billions of users, it is the number one website on the internet. Here, you will find millions of educational videos on any topic you name.

You Tube Channels further provide users to create their own public or private video channels. So, if you wish to create your own teaching video and share with your students only, you may create your own You Tube channel and limit access by selecting the private mode. For video making, there are a large number of android based video making and editor apps for teaching and learning like kinemaster, Powerdirector, Videoshop, Powtoon, Animoto, Hippo video etc. that will help you easily create simple videos.

Wait no more, just explore and get equipped with the new way of teaching and become a digital teacher ready for 21st century teaching. The most important aspect however, is the online learning pedagogy and methodology which will help teachers give a framework to get skilled in the gamut of online tools discussed above. Readiness to unlearn and upgrade for the 21st century roles will be crucial in the coming times.

Rikisha Bhaumik

    Rikisha Bhaumik is Honorary Associate Editor at Courseware World and has over 5 years of active association with the field of e-learning along with 10 years of active and continued association with school education. She is adept at experimenting with innovative tools and technologies in school education and her direct involvement with learners and pedagogy has given her an augmented insight into the scope of e-learning in school education. Her writing repertoire mainly consists of detailed and research-based articles on various e-learning concepts and trends.

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    Rikisha Bhaumik