Learning is a lifelong process. For most of us who believe in formal schooling and supplementary education, learning can never be completed without assessment. For enabling great learning, periodic assessment is equally important. If we can pinpoint to the strong and weak areas of a student, customizing a study plan to suit his/her needs becomes much easier. We at Vedantu, strongly believe in solving everyday problems for learners and teachers and thus, we created our own Learning Management System (LMS) recently.
It has been 2 months since we launched our LMS (Learning Management System) and it has been an amazing ride to see the product being used in unique ways by our teachers and students.
Why we built the LMS? In our user research, there were few Key problem areas that we identified with Content Sharing and Tests/Assignments:
- Content Creation – Teachers did not have any easy tool to create personalized content (tests, assignments, notes) and share with the student on Vedantu
- Content Sharing – Teachers could not share tailored content as per the requirements of the student and the topics taught, which resulted in students not receiving enough tests, assignments to practice on time.
- Content Consumption Interface – Test/Assignment sharing, attempt and evaluation interfaces were not intuitive and had very few options that led to offline sharing and submissions with no tracking.
- No Tracking and Reports – Students and teachers did not have the progress tracking and reports at one place.
Tests and assessments play an important role in the entire learning cycle for a school student. Assessments inspire teachers to ask these important questions:
- Are we teaching what we think we are teaching?
- Are students learning what they are supposed to be learning?
- Is there a better way to teach the subject, thereby encouraging better learning?
Hence, we came up with the following solutions to address the problems and concerns:
- Completely new LMS for teachers – Teachers can now create their own personalized tests/assignments/notes to suit the learning needs of their students. Teachers can unleash their creativity and create interesting tests and assignments for students.
- All Types of Tests/Notes – Students shall now get objective, subjective and mixed tests along with Assignments and study material from their teachers for practice
- Easy interface for the attempt – Students can now easily attempt tests/assignments from desktop or mobile. Students can type answers, take a photo of the written answers, add attachments, record audio or video answers. This helps students in reinforcing the concepts they have learned and also help them in gauging their learning.
- Track Progress – Students can now attempt and track all their tests/assignments/notes from a single page. Now they can view the report of each test and assignment attempted, anytime!
Now that we have our awesome teachers using our LMS for more than 2 months, we have some great practical stories to share…
“LMS was something I always wanted as I was not really happy with the kind of ready-made tests we had before. I wanted to create my own tests. Initially, it took a little time to understand the process but now I am very comfortable.
Tests and assignments are integral part of teaching – learning process. With subjective test, I am able to check the student’s’ ability to comprehend whereas objective tests are the best way to test learning outcome in a quick, time-saving manner. Auto evaluation of objectives is such a boon that combination of objective and subjective test helps me to handle assessment of a number of students at once.” – Sweta Rai
“I have used LMS enough to be able to use it in a very effective manner. I am very comfortable with it now.
During a class, I set the expectation to complete a test by the coming weekend. Weekends being a little light, are the best time that they can attempt the test with full enthusiasm. Even though I set the expectation to finish a test by the coming weekend, I set expiry date to at least 2 weeks. Due to unforeseen circumstances (school load, sick, travel, guests etc), a student might not be able to get time to finish test on time. I don’t want them to complete it just for the sake of it. If they can’t finish it by the weekend, they can finish it later.
Student reaction is positive. Many students and parents remind me if I fail to provide a test on time. Attempt ratio is very high. Its not 100% because there are students who are taking class for casual learning right now and want to take serious classes later (eg. one student based in Toronto paid for OTF, never attends it, gets the video and watches later. He has plans for serious Physics studies starting in a month).
In case of OTF, it also helps me gauge myself. If a few students in a batch have performed poor, then I have to improve them. But, if most of them have performed poor, then I need to improve myself. I did a poor job in explaining the concept to the class.LMS helps me gauge the level to which a student has understood a concept.I can then plan to either revise the concept with student or move on to the next one.
I do see a few shortcomings and have suggested a few enhancements. If they are implemented, my productivity would increase. But the current product, as it stands now, is a good tool in itself.” – Bhavdeep Sethi
“LMS is very comfortable for me as I can prepare my own question paper and assignments for my students depending on their individual capability. I am having freedom to choose questions for designing a question paper which consists of all type of questions varying from easy to difficult. I am including reasoning type questions, concept based questions and HOTS questions.
Students are very eager to take test as they want to evaluate themselves. Most of the students attempt shared tests and assignments within 12 hrs, this shows their willingness in taking test.
Evaluation is very easy, in case of MCQ, True/False, Match their is an auto evaluation option, and also I can add a comment for wrong and correct answers, because of this student will get to know their mistake once they finish their test.
I share a test with my students after every topic completion. From their test results, I get to know how clear are they with the concept and what topics they are facing difficulties with. I discuss the difficult topics in my next session and clear students’ doubts. This makes the student and teacher self satisfied. Student will be very confident in taking test at their schools.” – Santoshi Gururajan
“Prior to this tool, it was difficult to send tests, assignments, notes and similar tasks through mails or phone. It was equally difficult to keep the track of them.This process has become relatively convenient and easier now. This tool is very simple and easy to use. Though there is one time effort to create tests and assignments but once we create them, we can use the same with many students that s reduces my workload by leaps and bounds. Students are also very enthusiastic and zealous to learn via this tool. Though the attempt ratio is little less, but I must say it is increasing day by day.
Moreover, interesting fact is that students are asking me to share the homework without fail. This tool is really helping me a lot to set the goals for my students. They can see their grades and they can improve their grades by keeping track of their marks.” – Manisha Bhala
Assignments are usually dreaded by students, be it at the primary school level or during postgraduation. Few teachers manage to make their assignments interesting enough for students. Such a trend has made plagiarism rampant in many submissions. It is also not uncommon for children to seek the help of older members in their family to submit the assignment on time.
The top complaint from most children is that assignments are akin to copying texts from reference books. Most students wish for assignments that are not time-consuming and do not require lots of expertise. They also fervently wish that assignments ultimately ‘mean’ something and are not just given for the heck of it. Perhaps it is time for us teachers who have trouble with late or incomplete assignments submissions to have our assignments relooked at.
Here’s a checklist to find out if the quality of assignments given is good, bad or otherwise:
Is the assignment personalized?
Children love to give a personal touch to assignments. Hence, assignments that ask for their point of view on topics, or assignments that ask them to write a poem or story tend to arouse interest in the students. The assignments that require students to conduct home experiments are considered some of the best, as these have a personalized touch and incite learning by doing.
Are the assignments the same for all students?
Students are smart. Often, they are smarter than the teachers expect. Common assignments are thus easily copied by everyone in the class, without any regrets. Such a habit must not be encouraged through assignments that are given en masse. Students should be given different topics as assignments. This may even prompt a discussion among them, on the given topics.
Do students learn from each other during assignments?
Two minds are better than one. Therefore, when more than one student works on a given problem statement, the solutions are noticeably better. Teachers must hence try to involve as many students as possible in the projects assigned to the class. Examples are science projects, plays, etc., which require a group effort. If this is not possible, teachers can also give marks to groups, according to the aggregate marks secured by the members of the group. This will encourage students to peer review their assignments and projects, something that’s very effective in the learning process.
Are assignments time consuming?
Assignments should not come in the way of daily studies and daily play. They should be a healthy part of the day, and should typically be around a half hour to one hour long. Beyond that, the tired minds of students will not work at their optimum capacity. But that’s not to be the case for secondary classes, where assignments are week-long. In such cases, time management is up to the children themselves. But even then, students must not be burdened, lest they grow a dislike to the subject itself!
Are they meant for students or experts?
Science experiments and projects are the usual suspects for an involvement of outside hands in the students’ assignments. This is simply because the expectations of the teachers from these projects are too high. Gone are the days when a student could bring lenses to class to explain phenomena of light, now the student has to come equipped with a PowerPoint presentation, a huge chart with explanations, and thankfully the lenses too. Such work requires expertise, which is expected of graduate students, not primary or secondary class goers.
To sum it up, assignments should be in the interest of students. They should not overburden them, and neither should they pressurize the children to stretch beyond their capacity. Also, assignments should be made more fun, so that the children respond to the demands of the class in a way that is encouraging to the teacher as well as fun for the children! Assignments are not meant to be dreary. They are a way to take back the fun and warmth of classrooms to home, in keeping with the fact that education is a never ending process.
Year tab on the calendar has already moved on and the cold air has started warming up a little. Suddenly there is a buildup of a dreadful, irky and gloomy environ around our students’ minds in the preview of examinations.
Let’s get along and help clear this stress and darkness around their minds to let them excel in the exams.
Below are some points we must take care to help students walk towards the path of success without being overburdened with tasks and preparatory jitters.
1 – Assess the academic weak areas of your students and take sessions to improve. Conducting tests, evaluating carefully and providing constructive feedback are the key. Keep the parents informed about ward’s progress.
2- Revision plays an important role during this period, keep enough time for recapitulatory classes and don’t forget to share your own tips & tricks to revise quickly.
3- Discuss the blueprint and marking scheme with your students. Many a time students do not answer as per marks allotted for question, awareness will surely improve the performance.
4- Do emphasize on exam and study planning, this would definitely help them be more prepared and confident of their preparation for the D-day. Don’t forget to mention the importance of double-checking attempted answers.
5- Encourage your students to attempt mock tests within the stipulated time, this would help them introspect their preparedness. Sample papers will be shared with you for CBSE and ICSE classes 6 to 10, feel free to share these with your students.
6- Involve & educate parents. In many a cases, parents add on to the pressure the child is going through. Help them understand their children are already on the course to reach their potential and they should support them in reaching the pinnacle.
We are sure, you are already preparing your students for the upcoming examinations full-throttle and these tiny tips will come handy to you.
Happy teaching and exam preparation!
Image Courtesy – Google Images.
Teaching and teaching it right is a tough job in itself, and when you have a few difficult kids to deal with, it becomes even tougher. Worry not, today in this post, you will see 5 powerful tips that will help you teach more effectively. These tips will not only help professional teachers to teach better, but also homemakers, mothers and tutors to deal with children more effectively.
1- Mind Your Tone & Voice
The general course of action followed for handling difficult kids is to shut them up with a huge shout or lecture them for their misbehavior or lack of attention. You Shouldn’t! The more you shout on, yell at or lecture a child, it is more likely that the child will dislike you and become resentful.
Rule of thumb is to NEVER ever lose your cool! If students discover a few of your pain points that raises your tension, they’ll keep triggering it time and again. The more calmly you handle the situation, the easier it becomes for the child to build the rapport with you.
Also, don’t shower them with false praises it’ll do more bad than good, instead give them targets to accomplish and praise them on real achievements.
2- Build the Foundation Right
Talk to your students, understand their requirements, counsel them whenever needed and be with them as their mentor and friend. Keeping some pre-conceived notions regarding your students would be the last thing to do as a teacher. Completely avoid being judgmental, let your students feel at ease, greet them with a smile and let them know you are really happy to teach them. To teach effectively, striking the right cord with students is really important.
Set the expectations right with the students and let them know of the consequences in both positive and negative scenario. Stick to your rules, the child should be convinced of the same consequences every time he/she fulfills the expectation. This would motivate them to meet the expectations most of the times.
3- Be Positive, Proactive & a Good Mentor
Being positive is something every teacher should follow and follow it very religiously. Being positive not only gives you strength to deal with everyday hurdles in dealing with difficult kids, but also lifts you up along with kids and people surrounding you. Proactively monitor the entire set of students and figure out the ones who need your attention most. Make them sit near you or make sure you stay near them during the teaching hours – this ensures the child is attentive during learning.
Try to be their friend, appreciate them for their achievements in front of everyone, but don’t shout on them publically, shaming in front of everyone doesn’t work at all. Share with them your own anecdotes – this will inspire them.
4- Make Learning Interactive and Interesting
Gone are the days when teachers used to stand at a podium and deliver the lecture and pupil used to jot down from the little written on the blackboard. These days’ students are more informed and resist boring lecture methodology of teaching. To keep the interest alive, use activities, give examples from day-to-day life and involve them as much as you can in the teaching.
Try ‘gamifying’ the lessons, this builds healthy competition among the students and make it more interesting for kids to understand the concept. Also, make use of ‘peer instruction’ in your sessions – this encourages direct participation of students in learning. Studies have proven that peer instruction harnesses pupils’ collective knowledge to deliver measurable improvements in learning.
5- Build relationship with students & Parents
Have you heard of teaching or learning happening in silo? It never happens! Try connecting with your students at a personal level. Know their interests, ask them about their family, relate with them on common grounds. Take out some time for interacting – talk with their peer, involve parents, and take help from your colleagues to know about the student better. Appreciate them for their achievements in co-curricular activities, including sports, choir singing, theater performance, etc. Regularly follow-up with parents for keeping a tab on child’s improvement on the behavioral front at home. Educate parent and involve them in corrective steps.
We believe with these few handy tips, you’ll be able to handle your students more effectively and teach them more efficiently. We would love to read more about your experiences, don’t forget to share them with us in the comment section.