30 Technology Tips to Help Your At-risk Students

When implemented properly, technology can produce significant gains in student achievement.

Can technology help reduce the number of at-risk students?

As per SCOPE, Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education, when implemented properly, technology can produce significant gains in student achievement.

The question is– How to do it? How to use technology to help the at-risk students of your class?

Here we list eleven highly effective technology ideas that would empower you to aid them.


Free teacher-time

When dealing with at-risk students – you need a lot of it. True, you cannot create time; however, with digital tools you can cut a lot of slack from your everyday schedule. You can divert this time to attend to your at-risk students. Here is what you can do:

  1. Digitize everyday practice sessions. While students practice by their-own, you can attend to the kids who need you the most – the at-risk students.

  2. Monitor their behavior with digital tools. This would allow you to profile their learning curve, and facilitate early interventions. Early interventions are more effective, and they need lesser time.

  3. Use digital tools for lesson-planning, grading, reporting, and everyday communication. Standardize your lesson-plans so that they can be used year-after-year. This too would free-up time from your weekly schedule.


Personalize the learning experience

Not all at-risk students are weak-learners.

Several live in circumstances that prevent them from studying at home. Sometimes, one bad year can ruin the next one too. The best thing that teachers can do in such cases – after understanding their students – is to ensure that these kids have a chance to overcome these barriers. Here is what you can do:

  1. Investigate. Identify the trouble. Talk to your students. Find out what holds them back. Maybe they don’t have a computer at home, probably it’s the Internet. Perhaps, they are unable to study when they want to, or maybe they haven’t got the surroundings that support learning.

  2. Create a digital resource library for your class. Create your lessons in multiple formats. (Or you could download standardized lessons and personalize them.) This library would allow students to choose how they learn and when they learn. They can watch a lesson while commuting to school, or listen to a lesson while having their dinner. Create opportunities, and they would use it.

  3. Create a resource library that covers various learning styles. Have worksheets for students who love to practice; manipulatives for those who love doing things; audio-files for auditory learners; and video-resources for visual learners.

  4. Record all your lectures. This would give students the opportunity to refer to the topic as many times as they need. This alone can be of great help.

  5. Personalize classroom tests. Certain testing-resources can highlight students’ weaknesses. Moreover, detailed reports can help you estimate students’ actual knowledge-level.

Now you can personalize their learning path, create interventions, and schedule future assessment points.


Involve the parents

  1. Make use of emails, video chats, and online-messengers. The objective is to get them involved with their kids’ studies before it’s too late.

  2. Invite parents to join the educational software your school uses for monitoring student learning. If parents are not ready to attend PTA meetings, mail the data to them, or give them live access to weekly student reports. This would allow the parents to make informed decisions.

  3. Moreover, some tools allow students, teachers and parents to connect on the same platform. This improves transparency, and allows teachers and parents to monitor the learning curve of their kids, jointly.

Use your digital tools to understand your at-risk students.

19 Bonus teacher tips for your at-risk students

  1. Use your digital tools to understand your students. The data that your test-reports generate is precious; use it to understand students’ strengths, weaknesses, their preferences, and their learning habits.

  2. Encourage your at-risk students to participate in online-discussions (If you haven’t created an online-forum for your class; it’s about time you did.)

  3. Find out the ways you can encourage your students to participate in online group activities.

  4. Make your digital instructional activities as much interactive as possible.

  5. Expand your set of teaching strategies – the aim is to increase your online and in-person interactions with your students.

  6. Develop learning activities that satisfy a wider range of student’s learning needs. Resist the desire of generalizing your students’ learning-habits in a single group.

  7. Redefine your assessments. Digital assessments can measure a lot more than concept-proficiency. Ask yourself- are assessments just a measuring tool? Could they be used as a learning tool?

  8. Use your digital tool to understand what your students bring to the class.

  9. Explore what extra resources you can use to supplement your instruction, and their learning activities.

  10. Rather than measuring performance, concentrate on student growth.

  11. Let their instruction be incremental.

  12. Talk with your at-risk students, regularly. Learn about their media preferences. This would help you personalize your resources.

  13. Collect feedback from your class at regular intervals.

  14. Encourage peer-activities. Some students learn best in a collaborative environment.

  15. Prefer formative assessments over summative assessments.

  16. Give regular feedback. Even if your students have access to online report cards, make it a point to explain it to them. They lack the skill of interpreting their performance pedagogically.

  17. Don’t wait to give feedback. Be quick. Swift feedback – an immediate note of appreciation – can go a long way.

  18. Ensure that students understand when you are available at school, and when you could be approached online. Ensure that they know the proper online-modes of contacting you.

  19. Make use of your learning management systems to detail your feedback. It’s most appropriate to attach reports that highlight their strengths and weakness, along with your custom recommendations.

The most important factor is your familiarity with your at-risk students. Your knowledge about their learning needs, learning styles, strengths and weaknesses, and the circumstances, in which they study, could go a long way ahead. Moreover, you should ensure that they find you easily approachable. Technology can be a great tool in this endeavor; all you need is to do is to select the right tools.

We encourage you to explore PracTutor. PracTutor helps students practice at own pace by personalizing their learning path. It provides students with several accommodations, and ensures that students can learn independently.

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