Educators, parents, and students have had to reimagine facets of learning during the pandemic. Here is what we learned about students.
The Importance of Becoming an Innovative Educator
Being an innovative educator takes time and effort. Despite the challenges, an educator will persist and try new ways of teaching to students.
Others will fail.
Some strategies will be a perfect fit for your classroom, even if–or perhaps especially if–they are dramatically different from the strategies and tactics you have used in the past. Others will seem great on the surface, but fail to fit with your content or your natural teaching strategies. The savviest, most innovative educators persist anyway–and there are a lot of benefits to putting in the time and effort necessary to embrace innovation in your classroom. Have you been embracing innovation in your classroom environment? Check out some of these important advantages to becoming an innovative educator.
Innovation helps breed higher success rates for students.
As an educator, you may feel as though you are fighting an uphill battle to hold your students’ attention. Many of them have relatively short attention spans in general–even when compared to previous generations. A study by Microsoft suggests that attention spans have dropped as much as 25% over the last few years. In some cases, you may have as little as eight seconds to catch and capture student attention. No matter how hard you fight the battle against cell phones in the classroom, you may struggle to keep students on them–and if your students routinely use laptops and tablets in class, distraction is never any further away than the click of a mouse or the tap of a finger.
Technology offers the tools that students need to overcome that gap. It provides communication solutions that will help students get the answers they need and innovative strategies that will help keep students’ attention like never before. By committing to innovation in the classroom, you can adapt your strategies and solutions in a way that makes it easier to maintain student focus and overcome the other obstacles they may face.
Innovation helps increase your influence with other professors.
When you have a solution that works, other professors will take note. They will see your accomplishments and how they impact your students, not to mention the way many of those tools shape your work and make your day easier. Your colleagues will see that you’re on the cutting edge of technology and willing to try out new things–and trust you to share more of that information.
As awareness of your accomplishments increases, you may notice that your peers are more likely to turn to you to ask questions about the challenges they may be facing. When an issue comes up that you need to deal with, you may find that your colleagues are more likely to side with you, because they can see that you have taken the steps necessary to have a full understanding of those concepts and needs.
New challenges in the classroom and across the campus require innovative solutions.
Many of the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic are slowly coming to an end. During the pandemic, however, many professors had to look for innovative ways to connect with their students and to continue to provide effective instruction even as campuses closed down and students were scattered–often around the country or even around the world.
Professors in universities around the world stepped up to the plate, embracing innovation and looking for new ways to connect with their students. They utilized new communication apps, held virtual classes and discussions, and provided assignments adapted to the new and changing needs of the students in their classrooms.
While professors may never face the same challenges that they did at the height of the pandemic again, they will continue to face a variety of challenges–and many of those challenges are likely to be things that they may never have dealt with before. More students are looking into hybrid learning programs that will help them cut some of the costs often associated with their first-choice schools, including living on campus or commuting. Others are looking for ways to continue to learn, often online, despite the other challenges they may face and the obstacles that may prevent them from learning in a traditional classroom environment. Students want the opportunity to succeed–and many of the innovative technological solutions that emerged during the pandemic have the potential to answer those student concerns.
A professor who is already prepared for innovation is in a better position to deal with those unique situations and to, in many cases, move forward with solutions quickly, which can keep students in the classroom and learning even when potential challenges arise.
Innovative instructors are often asked to advise on podcasts and webinars.
Your teaching career is about more than just teaching. Through your efforts as an educator, you often reach out to others in the community, connecting with them and sharing with them to provide them with tools. As an innovative educator, you have the opportunity to connect with far more than just the other professors on your campus. Through webinars and podcasts, you can offer advice to educators across the country.
That presence on webinars and podcasts can offer several vital advantages to your academic career. As you get your name out there, you make it more recognizable and showcase yourself as an asset. Those appearances are credits for your resume–and they can help get your foot in the door when you want to transfer to a new university. In your current position, they can serve as evidence that you deserve that promotion to a department head, that raise you’ve been after, or the extra funding for your pet projects–including further innovations.
Being an innovative educator can help put you in a position to advance change within the industry as a whole.
The education industry has some ongoing issues and concerns that you, as an educator, may want to change, whether you’re focusing on problems with funding or struggling to keep students in the classroom as the cost of a college education continues to increase across the United States. Fewer students are graduating from high school, and even fewer have college aspirations. Many students have a hard time securing the funding they need–and having the funding necessary to support vital programs has become increasingly difficult across many college and university campuses.
As you step into a position of authority as an educator, however, you can help create change that may shape the entire industry. Through your efforts, you can connect with other educators, find solutions to some of those common problems, and start moving them onto campuses across the country. Innovation is key to unlocking those solutions and helping the education industry as a whole. As you embrace innovation, you start to look for more creative ways to solve many of those challenges–and you may discover that the answer to some of them is easier than you think, especially when you’re able to connect with other educators both in and out of your field.
Innovation can help decrease the strain you feel.
As an educator, particularly in a college environment, you constantly have stressors pounding at you. There are always deadlines hanging over your head. If you don’t have a paper segment–or even an entire paper–of your own that needs to be in a colleague’s hands yesterday for a round of editing, you may have student tests that you need to grade or papers piling up. You have meetings that you have to attend. Your students’ problems quickly become your own, especially as you connect more deeply with your students and offer them support and advice throughout the semester. You may struggle to keep up., especially as grades are due in or you have other major responsibilities around campus.
Fortunately, there are already multiple innovative solutions out there that can help decrease your overall stress and make it easier for you to take care of the responsibilities you face. Looking for innovative solutions may take time and effort, but once you have added them to your arsenal, you will often find that it’s easier to take care of all of those responsibilities on your list. Many professors, as a result, find that they have more time to take on their own projects, to help students who need a little extra assistance, or to keep up with all the other items on their list.
Innovation in the education industry is vital–and luckily, it’s ongoing. As an innovative educator, you can move to the top of your industry, become a more in-demand professor, and even create changes within the education field. Pronto is one of the innovative new solutions you can use to make the most of your classroom time and better connect with your students. Contact us today for a free demonstration of our software or more information about how Pronto can improve classroom communication or provide students with better access to the tools available to them on campus.