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TeacherBot 3000: Classroom Automation for Max Efficiency


August 11, 2023

Classroom automation has the power to transform teaching and learning. By automating routine tasks like grading, lesson planning, and administrative work, teachers can save hours each week and devote more time to inspiring students. 

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Why Classroom Automation Is Important

There’s nothing better than watching a student’s face light up as they successfully tackle a difficult concept, feel pride in a completed project, or hear a word of encouragement in your classroom. “This is what I love. This is why I teach,” you might find yourself thinking during these moments. 

And there is nothing more frustrating than feeling like there’s never enough time in the day. Grading, formatting lesson plans and rubrics, and crossing T’s and dotting I’s in administrative work aren’t nearly as fulfilling as working directly with your kids. But alas, they’re necessary.

What if you could get back hours in your week by automating processes in your workflow? What if you could make life a little easier and more rewarding? It’s not a dream; it’s something you can implement this school year. These products and programs can get youl on your way to creating a more efficient classroom and a more relaxed you!

Classroom Automation Tools to Try

Voice Assistants

Voice assistant products like Amazon Echo, Google Assistant, or Apple’s HomePod can automate mundane tasks, offer tutoring help to students, and keep your classroom on track. Try these ideas:

  • Add events to your personal or classroom. Set timers throughout the day to keep your lesson, students, and you on track.
  • Set one-time reminders (“Remind me that students at track are to be dismissed at 1 PM.”) and recurring reminders (“Remind me that lunch is at 10:15 AM every Thursday.”). 
  • Make a to-do list or shopping list as you see things that need to be done or bought.
  • Use your voice assistant for independent, self-guided student editing help (“What are some synonyms for ‘nice’?”) 
  • Create a station for reluctant readers where your voice assistant reads a book or article with participants.

Remember: voice assistants may have some issues with privacy, so before using them with students, talk to your supervisor. Use this guide as a foundation for how to safely and effectively use this technology in your classroom.

Artificial Intelligence

AI has made quite the splash this year. It has created both interest and fear around what it means for students, teachers, and education. The good news? There are many ways to use AI to lighten your workload. Plus, they don’t have to interfere with providing authentic and excellent learning experiences in your classroom.

  • Chat GPT: Perhaps the most well-known AI, ChatGPT, can generate lists of questions for bell work, outline units, write first drafts of lesson plans, and more. Get started with this handy list of ideas.
  • Auto Classmate: Create lesson plans, engagement activities, and would-you-rather questions for free with Auto Classmate. An AI-Powered Instructional Coach tool is available for a fee. Other programs (like resources for administrators and lesson enrichment generators) are coming soon.
  • MagicSchool: MagicSchool offers three main functions: creating lesson plans and rubrics, generating IEPs, and leveling and scaffolding existing texts. Teachers can sign up for free. 

Remember: AI is not perfect and its use raises ethical and moral questions. There are documented cases of AI programs plagiarizing, making up information (called “hallucinating”), and presenting wrong answers to questions. Rising evidence suggests it also has inherent biases that can be harmful to students. Make sure you always scrutinize and fact-check material created by AI. Be aware of any policies your school district may have about its use in the classroom.

Online Tools

If you’re like most educators, you spend a lot of your day tending to duplicative tasks like feedback, grading, and paperwork. These online tools are designed to reduce that mind-numbing labor so you can get back to doing what you love: teaching! 

  • Blaze: If you’ve ever felt bogged down by endless, repetitive feedback, Blaze can help with keyboard shortcuts. Set up templates and processes to quickly offer high-quality, personalized feedback to your students in a timely manner.
  • IFTTT: IFTTT offers more than 700 integrations with tools to help automate time-draining tasks in your classroom. Options range from automatically silencing your phone when you walk into the building to uploading classroom photos to shared folders for parents. 
  • Google Tools: Google offers many cloud-based programs that can make your classroom more efficient, including automatic grading and easier student collaboration.

Ready to automate your classroom? Check in with your IT department and see if they’ve got any more suggestions. Your school may already own licenses to these or similar programs. Or they might be able to help you set up your systems! 

Joanna Guldin-Noll spent years teaching at a Baltimore high school, pioneering the school’s first AP English Language and Composition course, garnering thousands in grants for her students, and teaching American Literature, honors, and recovery courses. With a Master’s in Secondary English Education from Johns Hopkins, she was an adjunct faculty member and portfolio coach for the School of Education’s master’s program and served as a consultant for educational start-ups. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband John and her puppy Albus.