You can find Axis12 at BETT 2015 on stand C516, where they will be introducing ‘Teacher Dashboard’.
My Father and Grandfather were both teachers and my childhood recollections are of a Dad who was with us most weekday afternoons to practice sport and music, dish out chores and endlessly work on renovations around the house.
Holidays were spent together as a family. While other Dads would drive to meet their families at the beach for weekends during summer holidays or only be around for a couple of weeks – our holidays with Dad seemed endless…golden. We were not well off, but I grew up feeling more fortunate than any of my peers.
When the time came to choose a career my father encouraged me to consider teaching. He was fulfilled with his career as an educator and although the idea was appealing, my temperament was not suited to it and my ambitions led me elsewhere.
My brother-in-law is a teacher though and although I was initially envious of what his family life would be like compared to mine, what has become glaringly apparent to me over the years is the stark contrast between the time he has available with his family compared to that of my father’s generation of teachers.
The length of the school day hasn’t changed so much in the last 20 years, so what’s going on?
According to the Department of Education the average primary school teacher now works 59.3 hours per week, and the average secondary school teacher 55.7 hours. Only about 20 hours of this is in the classroom.
Holidays are cut short with planning days, assessments, and lesson planning. Classes are larger, standards are constantly changing and targets constantly shift according to the whims of the current government.
Students are forever being internally and externally assessed, meaning more homework and more preparation and marking time for teachers.
In these modern times, the approach to work overload is often to turn to the latest technology for a solution. Technology brings with it promises of efficiencies but often fails to deliver. One of the most common reasons is simply that there is too much of a learning curve for teachers – with so much demand already on their time, it’s no wonder that new ICT initiatives in schools often flounder.
If technology is really going to be an enabler in schools, it needs to be something that the teachers know how to use instinctively, and something that students will benefit from knowing how to use in the future – not an entirely new application that requires hours of training.
It is in this area that Microsoft Office 365 is starting to excel. It offers a great suite of tools, which is available free for most schools, and is already familiar to many users. Over 80% of Fortune 500 companies use Office products in the workplace, so it makes sense that students extend their knowledge of these tools when preparing themselves for professional life. One common observation among teachers however, is that the platform’s power can also be a source of its frustration – some teachers find it to be too complex for the classroom environment.
We developed Teacher Dashboard as a ‘tool that tailors Office 365 to teaching’. It’s a Free SharePoint application that sits on top of Microsoft Office 365, and helps teachers complete their administrative tasks quickly and efficiently, allowing them to spend more time working with their students….or enjoying their time off!
Teacher Dashboard is built in close collaboration with both Teachers and the Development team behind Office 365, and adapts Microsoft’s products to the specific requirements of the classroom.
We will be at BETT 2015 London 21st-24th January, so please drop by Stand C516 and ask to see a demo.
Teacher Dashboard for Office 365 – get your life back.