Teacher Turned Innovator

Teacher Turned Innovator

Teacher turned innovator describes many teachers around the world. I am fortunate to know a few teachers who are spending most of their waking hours  developing technology tools to facilitate instruction and learning.

A teacher does more than teach in and out of school. As Sir Ken Robinson claims, teaching is an art form and teachers are artists who innovate when necessary. Andreas Molander is an English language in a high school in Denmark. Andreas is an example of a teacher turned innovator.

Teaching – an exciting and challenging occupation

According to Andreas Molander, a high school teacher from Denmark, a teacher’s work is exciting. Educating people is without doubt one of the most important jobs on the planet. Education is what secures a bright future for people in the industrialized world as well as for people in 3rd world countries. Watching kids and young people grow intellectually and become proud, self-confident individuals is the reason why he’s passionate about teaching.

But a teacher’s work life is also challenging. Our work-life balance is put under a lot of strain. Most teachers have work weeks of more than 50 hours, and many of these hours are spent on tasks that don’t always feel very productive.

Andreas Molander

Andreas is a dedicated teacher who loathes marking papers. As an English as a foreign language teacher, he spent hours with a pen as his only companion when marking papers. Andreas frustrations increased when  students ignored the comments. There had to be better ways of marking papers.

The result was LangCorr – short for Language Correction. LangCorr is an organization that takes all the things that Andreas doesn’t like about being a teacher and makes them meaningful. The marking program allows Andreas to do the things he’s passionate about; namely spending time with his students and ensuring that they develop English language skills.

Andreas.jpg

Click to join the class: Formative Feedback Strategies and Digital Marking

All language teachers spend endless hours marking papers and more often than not the outcome is at best limited. This presentation will demonstrate how the usage of simple ICT tools can dramatically reduce the hours spent marking and at the same time intensify the learning process. The objective is to allow teachers to use formative feedback and marking strategies in ways that entice students into approaching areas where they may be struggling from different angles.

All course participant got free access to the program: Language Corrector.

Andreas Molander Speaking on WizIQ

Andreas is not only an English teacher in a high school in Denmark, an innovator or geek, as he calls himself, but also an amazing and passionate speaker. Andreas has given many live classes on WizIQ. He is a regular speaker at connecting online (CO09-CO15), Moodle MOOT (MMVC11-MMVC15), EVO15 and on Moodle MOOCs (MM4 and MM5). Andreas is also a very generous teacher innovator. All the attendees of the live classes given by Andreas received free access to the program: Language Corrector.

Dilemma

How did you get started, Andreas?

I’ve been an EFL teacher in Denmark for 12 years now, and throughout the years I’ve enjoyed 80 per cent of the job. The remaining 20 per cent nagged me to a degree where I found myself in a dilemma. I actually considered quitting a few years back because the 20 per cent took away my passion. The tasks that annoyed me were marking papers, constructing groups and evaluating my students’ level of proficiency through various time-consuming placement/assessment tests.

I had a choice. Either I could quit or I could do something about it. The most important task that needed consideration was the marking activity. I believe all teachers have felt the desperation. Endless hours with a pen as my only companion and demotivating sessions where students ignored the comments that I’d spent so much energy on writing made me consider that there had to be better ways of doing it.

I didn’t quit; instead I founded LangCorr. LangCorr.com is an organization that takes all the things that I don’t like about being a teacher and makes them meaningful. By doing this, LangCorr allows me to do the things that I’m passionate about: namely spending time with my students and ensuring that they develop their skills.

Language Corrector

How did things progress?

The first thing LangCorr developed was Language Corrector. Correcting papers and tests is a time-consuming task that every teacher has to endure every single week. It is no wonder that digital assignments and electronic marking are becoming increasingly popular among teachers. Digitalized correction comments can significantly save time.

By using Language Corrector teachers can add predefined comments, films and exercises by activating buttons. Thus it becomes very fast to correct syntactic and semantic mistakes and teachers can give precise, thorough and differentiated feedback for individual students. This is feedback that students can use to improve their skills faster than ever seen before. And we save loads and loads of time at the same time. Instead of writing the same comment 2000 times, we just write it 1 time and insert the comment 2000 times.

Group Constructor

The second program LangCorr designed was Group Constructor, which teachers can use to create efficient groups in their classes with only a few clicks. By using Group Constructor teachers can reduce time spent on construction of groups to an absolute minimum. The programme allows teachers to construct groups based on 12 parameters dealing with gender, level and behaviour, and teachers can also make their own parameters. Group Constructor will then construct efficient groups based on the parameters activated by the teacher.

Assessment tests

The last thing that really bugged me was the fact that teachers have to test our students’ language proficiency level. Unfortunately such assessment tests are extremely tedious to correct. This is why LangCorr created a set of digital tests that give teachers instant results! There is no longer any need to spend long hours correcting tests. The tests check for spelling, reading, text comprehension, basic grammar
and word order.

A world full of great ideas

About a year after I’d founded LangCorr, teachers started asking for other tools that could help them create variation to ensure student motivation. This is why I founded WordJuggle.com along with a colleague from my high school. WordJuggle is a non-profit site. Our mission (and vision) is to provide teachers and students with free, high-quality teaching materials.

WordJuggle

I developed WordJuggle to ensure that teachers and students can easily create flashcards with different functions that all promote student interaction and class discussions as well as group work. At the moment WordJuggle has 14 different engaging tasks that teachers can choose for their students. These include various exercises and games, such as letter jumble, associations, synonyms, antonyms, match words and definitions, discussions cards, linking words, finding words, rating words and memory cards, etc.

Within seconds teachers can print engaging teaching materials that work well with cooperative learning and individual learning alike. These flashcards are the perfect way to motivate and engage students.

Dilemma Solved

Are you satisfied with what you’ve developed?

Yes, I am for the time being. LangCorr and WordJuggle solved the issues that annoyed me about teaching and gave me back the passion that all teachers need in order to ensure that students stay motivated and engaged to facilitate that learning can take place.

Technology Innovations by Andreas Molander


Dr. Nellie Deutsch is an education technology and curriculum consultant, faculty at Atlantic University in the MA transpersonal and leadership studies, teacher trainer, researcher, and writer. She organizes Moodle MOOCs and online conferences. She earned her doctorate in education and educational leadership with a specialization in curriculum and instruction from the University of Phoenix Her dissertation research (available on ProQuest & Amazon) focused on instructor experiences with integrating technology in blended learning contexts in higher education around the world. Nellie offers free teacher training courses on teaching with technology, action research and Moodle for teacher courses to new, veteran, and future teachers who wish to teach online, face-to-face or in blended learning formats. She also provides online courses to teachers and ICT people on how to be administrators of Moodle websites. She integrates Moodle and WizIQ live virtual classes in all her courses.

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