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With the right implementation, tech and AI tools can increase the success of teacher teams and professional learning communities.

5 tech, AI tools to enhance teacher team success

Schools and districts have leveraged the increased technological fluency of staff and students to address persistent challenges

Key points:

Technology plays a crucial, and expanding, role in today’s schools. The availability of tech tools, including those with artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, continues to grow – as do their potential applications in the classroom

Schools can also use tech and AI tools to enhance the success of teacher teams and professional learning communities (PLCs). When teacher teams set collective goals, their intended results – such as improved student outcomes – often occur in the classroom. But working toward their goals relies on effective peer-to-peer collaboration, which requires different skills and structures than classroom instruction. Technology is here to help bridge the gap.

Below are five AI and tech tools to enhance teacher team success.

1. Miro: A tool for visual brainstorming

Teacher teams need to brainstorm, exchange ideas, and work toward solutions together. An online whiteboard is a great solution for collaborative work because it provides a centralized canvas where members communicate with one another visually.

Miro users populate their whiteboards by uploading documents and images, embedding videos, or linking to websites. They can use sticky notes, shapes, drawing tools, emojis, and the like to share and respond to content. The whiteboards expand to hold any amount of content. Plus, users can view and make changes to their Miro board synchronously or asynchronously.

Additionally, Miro offers an AI tool called Miro Assist to help teams capture advanced insights from the content on their boards. For instance, Miro Assist can condense thousands of sticky notes into a single sticky note and automatically generate presentations, mind maps, and diagrams to help teams quickly transform their content into different visual forms.

2. Paymo: A tool for project management

Among the common PLC pitfalls that diminish effectiveness are a lack of structure, directional clarity,  and leadership. The project management software Paymo, which is free for schools, can alleviate each of these challenges. 

Paymo provides a centralized workspace where teacher teams clarify roles within their group, assign tasks to individuals, and track progress over time. These features allow educators to move from brainstorming and open-ended conversation to defining concrete, actionable goals so they can make real progress.

Teams can organize uploaded assets according to project or task so members know just where to find the information they need. And Paymo includes a comprehensive dashboard where leaders can get insights about how the PLC is progressing. 

3. Tricider: A Tool for decision-making

Making decisions as a group can be challenging. Tricider is a free online tool that simplifies the decision-making process and makes it more equitable by allowing users to leave plenty of feedback. It’s a great choice for teacher teams or PLCs who want to brainstorm ideas and work toward a consensus in areas like grading and assessment or professional development.

Here’s how it works: a user enters a question they want the group to consider. They then send the question directly to group members or get the ideas started by listing a few options for the group to consider. Recipients can add their own ideas to the list of options, leave pros and cons for other members to consider, and vote for their favorite ideas. The feedback is listed in three easy-to-read columns, which helps make even complex discussions easy to digest.

Giving team members the chance to weigh in on decisions helps create buy-in and a sense of shared accountability, which is one way to accelerate the success of your teacher teams.

4. Conceptboard’s Plus Delta Template: A tool for reflection

Conceptboard is another online whiteboard that teams can use for visual collaboration. Their Plus Delta template is perfect for teachers who want to self-reflect on their practice.

Plus Delta is a formative evaluation model that prompts individuals to assess what went well with an event or experience and what could be improved. Conceptboard’s template is just as straightforward as the evaluation model. In the “plus” column, teachers record practices they want to replicate, while in the “delta” column, they list opportunities for growth and enhancement. 

These insights promote a continuous improvement mindset that can help teachers strengthen their team’s collective efficacy, or belief in their joint ability to positively affect students. Research has shown that mindset matters: collective teacher efficacy has a strong and positive correlation to student achievement.

5. TeachFX: A tool for tracking engagement

TeachFX is an AI-powered app that provides instructional feedback for K-12 educators. Teachers use their phones to capture an audio recording of their lesson. Then, TeachFX generates personalized reports on academic vocabulary, talk ratio, and student engagement. 

The feedback that TeachFX provides is private, objective, and non-evaluative. Rather than telling teachers how to change their practice, TeachFX empowers them with data they can use to guide their own growth and decision-making. 

The data teachers receive may be surprising. One middle school teacher overestimated the amount of time her students spent talking during a lesson by 10 times (she guessed five minutes; it was actually 30 seconds). Gaining this level of self-awareness makes the tool so valuable for teacher teams who are looking to challenge their current thinking and practice. 

Of course, strategies to increase engagement in the classroom go beyond boosting the time students spend talking. But students’ willingness to participate in discussion is one indicator of their comfort level and motivation – and it’s something that TeachFX can help improve over time using research-based methods

A valuable opportunity to boost teacher team effectiveness 

It’s no secret that the expanding world of tech and AI provides educators with a variety of tools designed to increase their professional effectiveness. In a recent survey, 83 percent of teachers reported that their ability to use ed tech tools improved during pandemic building closures. Since reopening, districts and schools have leveraged the increased technological fluency of staff and students to address persisting challenges such as learning loss, delayed social-emotional development, and teacher burnout. There is no cure-all for everything that ails our educational communities. However, the potential to give teacher teams the tools they need to tackle these issues with the assistance of tech and AI is immense. 

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