There’s no word that can induce a universal groan from all students quite like this one: Homework.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a student who genuinely loves homework.
Teachers generally assign homework in order to give students more practice time with a skill.
This independent work has long been touted as a great way to reinforce content that was taught during the school day.
Some teachers also assign homework as a way to keep parents abreast of (and even get them involved with) what students are learning in class.
Unfortunately, though, homework often doesn’t live up to these lofty ambitions.
Too hard or too easy, students often don’t see value in the work they’re sent home with and don’t always know where to turn if they’re confused.
There are also plenty of educators and parents who argue that after a long day of classes, what students really need is time to relax, play, pursue other interests, and just be kids.
Luckily, there are plenty of technological resources available that can help students make the most of their home learning time.
Below are four ways that teachers are using technology to rethink the homework they assign to their students.
Typically, new content is taught during the school day and students review skills and content at home.
A flipped classroom, as its name suggests, flips this model on its head.
Students learn new content independently at home and then come to school ready to practice.
The benefit of this is that students are in the presence of peers and teachers when they’re doing the actual practice where they may need additional support.
Additionally, many teachers find that they can free up class time for more rigorous assignments by having students do the initial learning of the material at home.
Here, teachers can assign lessons that are based on engaging videos for tons of subjects. Each lesson includes a video, and multiple choice and discussion questions. Teachers can check and review responses in real time as students submit their work.
Can’t find what you’re looking for? You can also create your own lesson based on YouTube videos of your choosing.
iAcademy is another fantastic resource for flipping your class.
Students can complete any number of engaging CTE courses lesson by lesson, and then come to class and apply their newly minted skills to a group project.
Google Classroom is a phenomenal resource for teachers of all subjects.
It’s free, easy to use, and there are a wealth of possibilities with this tool.
While Google Classroom is a popular way to assign classwork and projects, it works just as well for homework.
With a few clicks of your mouse, you can create an assignment for students to complete.
It’s easy to include readings, questions, quizzes, and even video clips. Google Classroom veterans have even been known to upload screencasts of the day’s lesson so that students can go back and watch a video if there’s something they’re stuck on or want to review.
An added perk of Google Classroom is that it makes collecting and checking homework a breeze!
This versatile tool makes life easier for teachers and also helps students learn to navigate an important technology resource as they complete their nightly assignments.
Log Practice Time
A list of problems to copy from a math book or a vocabulary worksheet don’t generate much student excitement.
But if the purpose of homework is to give students practice, then these seem like safe bets.
Why not freshen up your routine for practice problems with technology?
There are plenty of learning platforms that students can use to log practice time on a skill. Many of these platforms are free and include features that allow teachers to set up a classroom and track student progress.
Here are some of our favorite freebies:
Reinventing Group Projects
Groups projects are a great way to break out of a homework rut.
Students love collaborating with their peers, and there’s no doubt that projects can provide for more rigorous learning opportunities than packets.
The only downside of group projects is that they can lead to logistical struggles if students don’t live near each other.
An easy fix for this? Technology, obviously!
Consider having students complete a group project using Google Drive.
Whether it’s a group paper, website, or presentation, Google Drive makes it easy for multiple students to collaborate on the same document in real time.
Not only will students be excited to “hang out” digitally with their group as they work on their assignment, but they’ll be learning how to collaborate remotely in the 21st century. Talk about valuable job skills!
So challenge yourself to ditch the worksheet packet and push your homework game to the next level with the wealth of technology resources available to you.
Note: Obviously all these ideas require students to have a computer and internet access at home. If this isn’t a reality for all of your students, there are some resources that can help.
Check with your local internet provider. Many offer special discounted rates for low-income families if they sign up through a school.
You can also ask your school administration if there may be funds to buy a handful of “take home” Chromebooks for students who don’t have access to a computer.
As a last resort, older students can access free computers at their public library.