Well July is here and so is another edition of #2GETHERWEAREBETTER! I am linking up with Ashley over at Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd and Angie at Lucky Little Learners to share an area of my teaching or classroom that I would like to improve this coming school year. I fully agree with these ladies, that we as teachers always have room for improvement and with the support from other amazing teachers we can do wonderful things!
This summer I was lucky enough to attend a Professional Development workshop by my school district. At this workshop I attended multiple sessions about the integration of technology in the classroom and blended learning. These sessions truly impressed me and got me thinking about my own classroom at my current school and how I could do things differently.
So, let me give you the background...I taught for 8 years near Charlotte, North Carolina. Over the course of those 8 years I saw the use of technology in the classroom change drastically. By the time I left NC and moved back to Ohio, two years ago, our students were using technology on a daily basis. My previous school had two computer labs, multiple carts of iPads and laptops, computers in every classroom, Smartboards and document cameras, and more. The day I first stepped into my current classroom, I felt as though I was going through a time warp. There was nothing, or so it felt. I literally had a chalkboard, two old computers, an Elmo and an overhead projector! So, you can imagine my shock and frustration. This past school year, our building worked hard to get Smartboards in every classroom and purchase a large number of Chromebooks for students to use on a regular basis. We are getting there and I know that eventually my students will have better access to technology.
Here is the problem though...I was SOOOO use to using technology and then all of the sudden it was gone. So, I went back to teaching without much technology. Then as we started to get pieces of equipment, I wasn't sure how I wanted to begin integrating it into my curriculum now that I was at a new grade level and had reverted to old methods for a year. My goal this summer to to find ways to integrate technology into my daily instruction this coming school year. Here are a couple of ways I hope to do this:
1. Blendspace- Blendspace is a website that allows you to create online tutorials for students. Students can watch videos or other online activities in a sequential order that you decide when you create the lesson. The teacher who taught me about this site uses this site to create lessons for students to do during independent math time, while others are working on math stations or guided math activities. He also creates lessons that are to be completed for homework. This website can also be used as a way for teachers to compile resources and then share this with teammates, so that all resources are available to each other.
What does this mean for me? I know that all of my students typically do not have computer access at home. So, I am not planning on having them use this as home as mandatory homework, however, I will let parents know about the lessons I create so that they can use them at home for extra practice, if they choose to do so. I am also hoping to create lessons to use during math, similarly to how the other teacher used them. I would like to have students who may need additional instruction, use these when not working with me.
2. Schoology- Schoology is a website and our school district has a membership. Until this summer, I had only used this to complete online professional development courses, and share some resources with other third grade teachers in my district. It is basically like a Facebook for students and teachers. After the PD I went to, I am hoping to create a Schoology page for my teammates. I am hoping to use it to more effectively share resources, lessons, and more. This site is also accessible for students. I am hoping to have students use the discussion boards on this site as a way to blog about their independent reading and share their thoughts with peers.
3. Kahoot- I was introduced to Kahoot during this past school year. This is a FUN way for students to review concepts. This past year we played this game prior to our unit assessments. We usually played the game in groups. This coming year I hope to continue to use the game, but also have the students begin generating some of the questions. If you haven't tried this game, you should. Your kiddos will love it! Oh, and it is FREE!
4. Google Docs and Forms- I have used Google Docs for my own use and for team planning/sharing files for years. This past year our school purchased Chromebooks which do not have Word for processing. Instead the students use Google Docs to do their word processing. It was such an effort to get them signed-in that we never really did anything besides publishing our writing.
This year, I would like my students to use Google Docs to share their writing with their peers and have their writing partner type comments for them. I would also like the students to email their writing to their parents and have their parents provide feedback.
I'm also using Google Forms this year. I had never used them before. This year I am planning to have my parents fill out one Google Form on Meet the Teacher Night, instead of filling out tons of forms before they leave. I am hoping it makes things easier for the parents and for me!
OK...So, do you have experience with Blendspace, Schoology, Kahoot, or Google Docs? If so, what advice would you give and/or suggestions? What other technology sources would you encourage me to use, even with limited resources?
Don't forget to head over and see how others are improving their classrooms this coming year!