The personal learning network for educators
The current generations of educators have a huge burden on their shoulders. They are the carriers of change. They have to encourage project-based learning, greater collaboration between the students, insightful discussions… the list goes on and on.
Out of all trends in education, this is the most important one: teachers are being transformed into mentors. Since the role of the educator is changed, everything else changes, too: the teaching methods, the testing and grading, the way we pay individual attention to each student, and the approach towards encouraging their personal and professional development.
Nathaniel Koen, a high-school teacher from New York, puts it nicely: “The students are no longer consumers of knowledge that the teacher serves. They are the creators of the educational process, and the teacher must adjust.”
The good news is that technology is there to help both teachers and students throughout this process. Students can easily level up their knowledge and skills if they have the right educational platform at hand.
We suggest 10 platforms that can aid the transformation of teachers into mentors and students into creators of educational trends.
Teachers are doing everything in their power to unlock each student’s full potential. StudyBlue is a tool that supports that mission. This is a crowdsourced learning platform, where students can find and share flashcards, study guides, notes, and other learning materials.
Over 10 million students are part of the community. The social aspect alone motivates the users to make progress with their studies. The materials are designed to help the students learn faster and more productively.
When a teacher acts like a mentor, the intellectual stimulation they trigger is far from boring. They share fun facts and lessons created in a pace the students can easily follow. Open Culture is an online platform that makes that goal easy to achieve. Its library of resources includes 1,200 free courses, 1000+ MOOCs, and plenty of free movies, audio books, eBooks, textbooks, business courses, language lessons, and K-12 learning materials.
The students don’t feel like nerds when engaging in an Open Culture course. They satisfy their natural curiosity through different resources, which are much more fun than the traditional ones. The best part is that this is a free learning platform. Here’s how a teacher can benefit from Open Culture:
They can suggest the students to take a course of their choice in and share the impressions with the class. This is a great way to allow the learners to explore different areas of interest.
They can use the textbooks, eBooks, movies, and other resources to add that special edge to their lectures.
The trivial information at this site may not be necessarily useful for school, since it’s not always related to the curriculum. However, the resource is still educational and stimulates the user’s interest to learn something new every single day. It’s important to introduce students to this platform, since it helps them gain an important quality: learning not for grades, but for the sake of learning. That’s what mentoring is all about.
You didn’t expect to see this site among educational resources, did you? However, it helps you deal with one of the greatest challenges you face as a teacher: inspiring discussions. There’s a discussion on any topic on Reddit. If you can’t find the discussion you need, you can start one. This platform encourages open discussions with no prejudices. Advise students to explore subreddits such as education and literature.
You can turn Reddit into a class project: tell everyone to sign up with a username you’ll know, and start discussions. They will get a chance to interact not only between each other, but with the whole world, too. Think of interesting topics and stimulate your students to prove a point. Much more fun than an essay!
Speaking of essays, you know how much students struggle with them. Teachers don’t always have the time and patience to guide each student through the process of research and writing. You just give general instructions and expect them to figure out the rest by themselves. That’s the wrong approach to mentoring. You should provide proper support in the development of each class project.
EssayOnTime can be very useful in such situations. Students get connected with professional writers, who guide them through the entire process of writing, editing, and proofreading. Throughout this collaboration, they learn what academic writing is all about. It’s not about getting a grade. It’s about exploring a topic in the tiniest details and finding the most interesting aspect of it. It’s about developing argumentation skills, which they will need in any profession.
Whatever question or doubt you have, the Quora community can help. This is an extremely useful platform that triggers insightful discussions on any topic. Your students will learn solely by reading the most popular answers in the categories they subscribe to. If they need specific information, they can explore the website further.
Tara Roberts, a high-school teacher from Illinois, has been relying on Quora for the past two years. “Thanks to the Internet, students have access to all kinds of information, which is not always reliable and relevant. When they explore Quora, they understand what good information means. I always encourage them to double check the facts before using them in any way.”
The students can use Quora for academic papers, too. As the mentor, you can ask an insightful question in the community. You will get answers from real experts on the matter, but they will be different and they will lead to various resources. Tell your students to explore those opinions and resources, and use them as a foundation for their papers. With this approach, you will teach them how to recognize high-quality resources and discuss them from their own point of view.
A teacher’s job doesn’t end in the classroom. You must offer reliable support during the learning process. You need to reveal each student’s strengths and weaknesses, so you’ll help them emphasize the strengths and overcome the obstacles. With Docsity, the process of personalization is easier than ever.
This is a studying platform that helps students get ready for tests and exams. Over 1.8 million students share their notes and studying materials with the community. When a student becomes part of this community, they get the support they need, but they are also encouraged to contribute with their own content. To make it even easier for them, you can search through the library of sources to find materials they can use.
There’s one aspect of the modern learning process that makes it really special: individualization. In the era of online learning, each student can discover their learning style and work on their interests. You’ll notice that some of your students have artistic potential, and others told you they liked to cook. The curriculum doesn’t give you space to direct them all towards their interest. That’s where Skillshare can help.
Skillshare is a platform that offers short classes taught by expert practitioners. Everyone learns what they want to learn, as much as they want to learn. The platform can get addictive, but learning is the good kind of addiction you want your students to have.
In this connected world, learning a second language is a must. This process is not only about memorizing words and grammar rules. It’s about discovering new cultures, and that’s exactly what we need students to be doing. This app makes language learning easy. The students can start from scratch and go through brief daily lessons that make them progress. The best news is that it’s absolutely free.
You can encourage the students to use the app, pick a language and start learning something every day. Then, they can share their progress. You’ll assign brief, simple sentences and each student will translate them on the language they chose. That’s a nice way to show how diverse our world is.
Traditional education gives enough theory, but the students need something extra to develop practical skills. This is the resource that makes that happen. The students can explore hundreds of courses in different categories, including photography, business, software development, technology, and more. As a teacher, you can’t teach them everything they want to know, but you can direct them towards the resource that can help.
With the right online resources, it’s easy to be a student nowadays. In fact, it’s great to be a student, and it’s great to witness and support that process of learning! The 10 platforms suggested above help you become the teacher everyone wants to have, and make a student’s journey much more exciting.