Back to School with Wunderlist
4 Tech Tips for Teachers
These days teachers are using technology to help students learn in fun and interesting ways, from Skype lessons with kids on the other side of the world to using Google Maps to track the Westward Expansion. It’s not just great for students though–technology is also helping teachers spend less time on admin and more time on what they love, teaching their students.
With the new semester on the horizon, we chatted to Andrew Fenstermaker, 5th grade teacher at Penn Elementary in Iowa, USA, and Jon Tait, Deputy Head at Acklam Grange school in Middlesborough, UK. Here’s a taster of how they use Wunderlist to help them through the school day, along with a few of our top tips.
1. Organize your students
Are your students always forgetting their homework planners at home? With Andrew’s solution, lost homework planners are a thing of the past. In order to teach his 5th grade students to proactively organize themselves he introduced Wunderlist into the classroom.
Andrew's students all created their own Wunderlist accounts and made a ‘virtual homework planner’ list with their initials and class code in the title. They then shared the list with him. He asked permission from each student’s parents but the lists were not shared with them. This was so that each student developed a sense of responsibility and was accountable for their own assignments. Not only did it help Andrew organize his classroom but it also gave his students important time-management skills.
Pro Tip: You can also use Comments on your students’ homework planners to provide feedback and guidance in real time. Have they been sick this week? Simply update their planners with the important work they’ll need to catch up on.
2. Help your students to prioritize
Andrew’s class add their assignments to their lists as soon as they get them and set a due date for each one. This helps them to prioritize and figure out what to work on first. When revisions are needed they change the dates and move the to-dos up and down the list. The best bit? Some of the students started to add all their household chores and after-school activities too, so now they have a holistic overview of everything they need to do.
Pro Tip: Want to take it one step further? Have your students submit their homework by uploading or linking to the document and assigning the to-do to you.
3. Save time by collaborating with your colleagues
With 18 colleagues on Jon’s Leadership team, meetings are inevitable. But since he introduced Wunderlist to help the team manage their projects, it’s reduced how often they have to meet because they’re all kept up-to-date during the week with Wunderlist.
Using a list for each project, Jon can assign to-dos to the team and everyone can see when they’ve been checked off. They can also use Comments to discuss anything that comes up. It’s made collaborating so much easier, that they now can spend more time focussed on their students. In fact, it’s helped so much that Wunderlist has actually become a verb around his school, “I’ll Wunderlist you!”.
4. Share your reading list
As the new semester starts there is a lot for students to take in, books to read, videos to watch and things to buy. Create a list with everything that’s needed for that semester and share it with all your students. With the new Duplicate list feature, you can get your students to then duplicate this list to their own Wunderlist accounts and start ticking off when they’ve read the books or bought the items.
Pro Tip: Try using the Add to Wunderlist extension to quickly add a webpage to your list, such as linking to a bookseller where the book is in stock.
We’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg of how you can use technology and Wunderlist at school and we are sure you have some tips of your own.
If you’re new to using technology in the classroom then we’d love to help you out. So join us in a Twitterchat! If you’re a teacher or simply interested in how Wunderlist and other apps can be brought into the classroom then find us over on Twitter on 1st September from 7pm(CET)/2:00pm(EST) and follow the discussion on #Wunderchat. Jon and Andrew will be there to answer many of your questions.
Special thanks to our contributors:
Jon Tait is a PE teacher and Deputy Head at Acklam Grange School in Middlesborough in the UK. He also carried the Olympic torch in the 2012 Olympics, which sounds pretty cool to us. Check out his great TedX video about technology in the classroom and follow him on Twitter.
Andrew Fenstermaker is in his second year of being a 5th grade teacher at Penn Elementary in North Liberty, Iowa in the US. He aims to bring technology into the classroom with the goal of enriching the learning experience where possible. Follow him over on Twitter.