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Simple Ways to Improve Student Motivation

September 30, 2014

article-new-ehow-images-a08-9f-gv-keep-children-school-800x800Remember sitting in class and falling asleep because your teacher is “boring”? Or that time you drew hearts on your notebook instead of paying attention? Or that group of kids So you definitely know that some students are experiencing this in class. We all know that teaching isn’t easy, especially trying to motivate them to learn.

Allow students to work together.

Research shows that when students work together in groups, they will retrain the material longer. By putting them into small groups, students can motivate one another to reach their goal. Also, group work provides a change of pace from the usual classroom activities. But you will need to make sure that the groups are well-balanced so that all students are sharing the same amount of work.

Learn your students’ names.

Learning your students’ names is a great way to let your students know that you are interested and cares about them. It can create a great learning environment that motivates them to work harder because they want to get good feedback and praises from you. If you have trouble learning their names, we have a post that can help you remember their names.

Give helpful feedback.

Feedback is a great way to motivate your students to do better. It has to be clear and meaningful. It allows your students to see where they can improve and what their strengths are. It shows that you care about their success and wants to help them succeed in school. Feedback can help transform your students’ learning. We have a great post with 4 ways to provide feedback.

There are many different ways to motivate students in class. What other ways do you recommend?

Until next time,

Eva D.

Voki Community Manager

1560505_10152516453053764_8553617582835278394_nBio: Eva is the Community Manager for Voki and is part of the Marketing Team at Oddcast. She enjoys playing the piano and knitting on her free time. (She’s also a Rubik’s cube master!) She loves to hear your feedback and comments for Voki!

Guest Blogger: Using Voki to Support Learning by Craig Kemp

September 25, 2014

My name is Craig Kemp and I am Head of ICT & Learning Innovation at Avondale Grammar School in Singapore. I am an experienced New Zealand educator with a passion for Student Voice and Global ‘Connectedness’.

Being a globally connected educator means that you use tools to support the learning of your students on a global scale. In the 21st Century Learning Environments we work in, our job as educators is to support the learning journey of the digital natives in our care. Digital natives are engaged more actively now than ever before, through the use of technology on handheld and personal devices. This natural instinct to utilise technology on every occasion to support their learning makes it essential that educators are up to speed with how and why students use their devices.

Voki is a tool that I have used and still do use every week to support learning in my classroom and around my school. Voki is a free online tool that helps engage and connect learners anywhere and at anytime. I have seen it successfully used with new language learners and as an extension tool to support those students needing another vehicle to present their learning.

The good thing about Voki’s is that it is a flexible program and can be used across the curriculum and for many different purposes.

I have started to get hooked into creating a flipped classroom, as the current trends in education would suggest we should be. Voki is becoming a tool I am using to break up my lessons and add a bit of spice. It is exciting for the students to have variety.

Voki has become a tool in my school to encourage student voice. Often, in our classrooms, we have students that dominate conversation. It is hard to get true voice from shy students who are not strong at verbally express ing themselves. Voki has become a tool to share learning experiences or knowledge for those students so everyone is on a level playing field. I highly recommend giving this a go in your classroom.

In my classroom, students get the choice of how to present. Voki is one of many tools that students use on a regular basis to present their learning, either as a whole or as a part of their presentation.

I love Voki because it is easily embeddable into blogs or Wikispaces and is easy to use and very much student driven.

I highly recommend giving it a go today and sharing your learning amongst your teaching community.

______________________________________________________________________

If you missed his post on how to use Voki, check it out here.

Follow Craig on Twitter: @mrkempnz

Website: http://mrkempnz.com/

Studying Skills for Students

September 23, 2014

study-comicStudying can be frustrating, especially when you don’t know what to focus on or couldn’t concentrate. For students, you might want to avoid or refuse to study. You might also tell yourself that you don’t understand it or that you can’t do it. So, we wanted to give you some techniques/strategies that you can use to help you work on your study skills!

(Kids, you should be reading this if you want to get good grades in class!)

Exercise before studying.

Ok, maybe not “exercise”. All you need to do is move around for 15 to 20 minutes before you study.  A light exercise can help you improve your memory before a test. Exercise not only makes you healthier, it also boosts your brain power. Exercises enlarge the part of your brain that helps you pay attention. That means it can help you remember what you studied!

Take breaks while you study.

When studying for tests (or doing your homework), everyone needs a break every now and then. You should take a short 5 to 10 minutes break between your studies. By taking short breaks can actually help you concentrate better. If you like to snack, avoid any junk food and grab a healthy snack. Stick to your time limit so you don’t have to spend 45 minutes watching YouTube videos during your “break”.

Whistle while you work! (Listen to music while studying.)

Some kids study better with music on because it can help them ignore other sounds around them. So pick a music that helps you concentrate on your studies. Classical music is one of the music that you can listen to when studying because it is peaceful. If you like nature, you can listen to sounds of nature like rain or waves. Listen to your music at a moderate volume while studying.  Don’t listen to music on the radio because ads and talk radio hosts can cause a distraction.

The main point is to help you figure out what’s the best environment for you to study. Work with your parents to figure out the best way for you to study!

Until next time,

Eva D.

The Voki Team

1560505_10152516453053764_8553617582835278394_nBio: Eva is the Community Manager for Voki and is part of the Marketing Team at Oddcast. She enjoys playing the piano and knitting on her free time. (She’s also a Rubik’s cube master!) She loves to hear your feedback and comments for Voki!

 

 

 

Teaching Students How to Ask Questions

September 18, 2014

asking-questionsAs we all know, it is important to raise questions in a learning environment. That’s how we learn and that help students learn in class. We always hear teachers telling us that there’s no such thing as a stupid question. What do you do when you have students who are scared to ask questions? So it is up to you, the teacher, to encourage them how to ask the right questions. Here are some suggestions from the Voki Team on how to encourage more students to ask questions.

Create a safe environment for students.

Asking questions can be a very scary thing, especially to younger students. Encourage your students to ask questions by creating a safe classroom environment where they can freely ask questions. A teacher can do so by implementing rules and guidelines. This is important because students can feel they can ask questions without being judged and are respected by other students.

Praise every question.

Praise every question that was asked in class. This will reinforce that it is alright for students to ask questions in class. For younger students, you may want to say, “That’s a great question and it really helped us out!” For older students, you should consider praising the significance of the questions.

Make it fun!

What’s a better way to get students to ask questions than playing a game or being involved in a fun activity? Create fun activities with asking questions. Have your students try out the “5 Whys” activity. This can be used in any type of settings. (It was originally used within the Toyota Motor Corporation!) Or you can try out one of these activities here, such as the activities on how to use Wh- Questions.

There’s many other ways to encourage a student to ask questions in class. How do you do it? Let us know!

Until next time,

Eva D.

The Voki Team

1560505_10152516453053764_8553617582835278394_nBio: Eva is the Community Manager for Voki and is part of the Marketing Team at Oddcast. She enjoys playing the piano and knitting on her free time. (She’s also a Rubik’s cube master!) She loves to hear your feedback and comments for Voki!

Time Management Tips for Teachers

September 16, 2014

alarmclockonbooksRemember that time you felt overwhelmed by that huge pile of essays on your desk? Sometimes, we feel that there is not enough time to get everything done. (Don’t you wish we have a 25 hour day instead of 24?)  If you’re a teacher, you know that you need to have good time management skills. So we put together a quick guide for you that you can use to help manage your time!

Create a to-do list.

Having a to-do list is can save you a lot of time. Start off by writing down the different tasks you need to do that day and organize them based on priorities. Try to tackle what you can do to day. If you still have some tasks left over, add it to tomorrow’s to-do list! By writing down your tasks, it can give you a clear idea on what you need to get done for the day. Also, it can help you focus on what are the most important tasks for the day.

Don’t take your work home!

Don’t you just hate it when you have to carry that HUGE bag of papers and reports home to grade? Home the place where you can relax and forget about grading. When at home, you should spend time doing the things you enjoy. When you are tired from grading, it will make you less effective in class. So take this time to relax at home and stay refreshed! Also, if you have a long commute home (like me), use that time on the train or bus to grade those papers! (It’s a great way to multi-task too!)

Saying “no”.

Are you the type of teacher who is constantly involved in school activities? Sure, it is important to be involved with school activities. If you feel like you have too much work to do, it is OK to say no. You don’t need to be involved with ALL the school activities but you can try to help out at one or two events each semester!

Have a clean desk.

If your desk looks like a pack of rhino just ran through it, maybe it’s a sign that you should clean it up! When we have a cluttered desk, it can be hard to work effectively. Don’t spend 5 minutes trying to look for a new piece of chalk, or that stapler that used to be under that pile of yellow paper. A cluttered desk can take time away from what’s important. Keep the top of your desk clean with only the materials you need. Everything else should be stored away in drawers!

Different teachers have different ways of managing their time. You are not limited to the tips we provided. It is important for you to find your style of time management. Let us know how you manage your time!

Until next time,

Eva D.

The Voki Team

1560505_10152516453053764_8553617582835278394_nBio: Eva is the Community Manager for Voki and is part of the Marketing Team at Oddcast. She enjoys playing the piano and knitting on her free time. (She’s also a Rubik’s cube master!) She loves to hear your feedback and comments for Voki!

Things to Do at the Beginning of the School Year

September 4, 2014

keep calmWe all remember that Back-to-School anxiety on the first day of school: trouble sleeping before the first day of school; double-checking (maybe triple- or even quadruple-checking) your book bag for all the materials you need; headaches and stomachaches. After a few days of school, these anxieties will fade away (at least, for some student). As a teacher, you have to respond to these anxieties and help your students try to re-adapt to the new school year. So what can you do to help students ease back into school? There are activities that you can do with your students! So let’s take a look:

Learn each other’s name.

Yes! This is a must-do for teachers and students. Play a name game with your students so they have a chance to know each other. After all, a game is always a good icebreaker! If you need tips on how to remember your students’ names, check out our last post here! Or you can set up a buddy system so students can contact each other outside of school.

Do a fun survey.

Another way that you can help students drive out their Back-to-School anxiety is to have a quick fun survey. Students can work in a small group and college responses. This fun activity can get students out of their seat and start to talk to each other. It can facilitate conversations and allow students find out how similar they are to other students. Some questions that you might ask are:

  1. What is your favorite snack?
  2. My hidden talent is:
  3. What is your favorite school subject?
  4. How do you spend your free time?
  5. What is your favorite food?

Play a word game.

What better way to get students comfortable with new school year other than a word game. Create a word search or a crossword puzzle for your students to solve! They can even work in a group. Discovery Education offers a Puzzlemaker and allows you to create different kinds of puzzles.

Welcome back and wishing you have a great year!

Until next time,

Eva D.

The Voki Team

1560505_10152516453053764_8553617582835278394_nBio: Eva is the Community Manager for Voki and is part of the Marketing Team at Oddcast. She enjoys playing the piano and knitting on her free time. (She’s also a Rubik’s cube master!) She loves to hear your feedback and comments for Voki!

How to Provide Students with Feedback

September 2, 2014
tags:

feedback6Providing feedback is one of the most powerful tools that you can use to transform your students’ learning. But as we all know, sometimes feedback can be negative, causing it to be counterproductive. So how can educators provide effect feedback to students and encourage them to work harder?

Even though there’s no easy way for providing feedback, we generated a list of 4 different ways that you, as an educator, can use with your students.

  1. Be specific with your feedback.

You many think that “Good job!” is a good feedback. But this doesn’t tell your students what they are doing correctly or what they are doing incorrectly. What we suggest to do is try to be specific with your feedback by either focusing on one part of the work or provide your students with information on what they did correctly or incorrectly.

 

  1. Provide feedback in a timely manner.

The most effective feedback is usually given immediately.  Students who receive feedback immediately respond positively (i.e., better grades). Also, if you give feedback weeks or months later, your students will not remember what they wrote about! Your feedback can be written (i.e., post-it note), verbally or non-verbally (i.e., frown, smile).

 

  1. Alternate due dates.

If you have a lot of students or classes, this is a great method for you to provide feedback on research projects or tests. By alternating due dates for each students/classes, you can spend more quality time to provide feedback.

 

  1. Ask students to give YOU feedback.

 That’s right. Have your students give you feedback and be sure to read them! Let them know that they can provide feedback anonymously. Create surveys that allow students to take at home at the end of the school year or semester.  Ask them what they like or dislike about your class, what would they do differently, etc. If you are planning to use a survey for feedback, there are free survey tools, online like SurveyMonkey or SurveyPlanet.

Do you have other methods for providing feedback? Share it with the rest of the Voki community!

Until next time,

Eva D.

The Voki Team

1560505_10152516453053764_8553617582835278394_n

Bio: Eva is the Community Manager for Voki and is part of the Marketing Team at Oddcast. She enjoys playing the piano and knitting on her free time. (She’s also a Rubik’s cube master!) She loves to hear your feedback and comments for Voki!

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