If you have a tween in your household you probably know or have heard of Fortnite. Well Tom Spall has taken that concept and made it into a platform for student choice! Can you say GENIUS! " Students not only need, but they also want the ability to have both a voice and the freedom of choice when it comes to creating and presenting their content." Check out the Student Digital Menu and read more of his inspiring words from Brenham ISD!
After using Flipgrid for over a year now, I finally finished the required steps needed to get my Flipgrid Certified badge while at the TCEA conference. I am so excited and LOVE Flipgrid! It is one of the best and easiest student response tools online today. Safe for any age group, you have the ability to set preferences of privacy for a controlled environment response. You simply create a Grid for your 'classroom' and then add Topics to have students or others respond to it by video. It gives people of all ages a safe environment to provide them a voice about their learning. To learn more about Flipgrid or how to get started, see this Educator Guide from Karly and Sean.
'Teachers always ask me, "Why do we have another tech thing for my classroom? I mean gadgets are cool, but it won't change how I teach. " Well lately I have been able to show how this 'little black box', called a ScreenBeam, has changed how teachers teach and interact in their classroom. The Screenbeam is a simple was to untether our teachers from their desktop computers. When you use a wireless device with Windows 10, you can connect and display your screen to the entire classroom and move freely around the classroom.
For example, our teachers love Kahoot - fun way to assess your student's understanding of a lesson. The problem we ran into however, was that to run the game, had to be at their desk. With the use of the Screenbeam, teachers can now freely move around the room while running the game. Teachers are more engaged with their students, and the Screenbeam makes it easier for teachers to facilitate learning in the classroom. Students can also create their own games to allow them to own their own learning. Students love the ability to interact with each other and play in the 'game-like' setting , making education fun! I encourage everyone to add a little 'magic' box to their classroom. It will change how you teach and interact with students, especially while using a fun edtech tool like Kahoot. If you untether your teaching, you can really connect on another level with students.
It is a sad day when you read that TodaysMeet is shutting down. For those of you that are fans of having a backchannel for communication - during presentations or classroom discussions, losing TodaysMeet is big news. However as with any edtech tool - you lose one but learn of another....there may be a good option for teachers/ presenters wanting the ability to maintain that same TodaysMeet 'feel' by using what is appropriately named, Backchannel Chat. I am not a huge fan of the 'look' of the landing page, but the functionality seems on par and simple to use. Now of course for more features (that most teachers would love) you can pay a meer $15 for the year! Seems like a steel to me! I love the fact that you can easily see who is the moderator and participant, as well as get a transcript of the chat. They have even added in features for students to upload files to the teacher ( a paid feature). The company seems to be working to get requests and suggestions built in. So for the fall of 2018 - I say put it in your edtech bag - it will be a keeper!
I recently got to meet an author, teacher and all around amazing edtech innovator, Catlin Tucker. She runs her classroom like we all dream of...but Catlin makes it a reality! Catlin offers smart ways to use stations at ANY grade level to engage students with relevant and timely work AND immediate feedback. She makes better use of her class time with students rather than making assignments that have to be graded outside of work. If you haven't see her on Twitter or read her blog - she is a must! I can't wait to see what she offers our district with her textbook collaboration! The online piece for McGraw Hill is going to rock!
Follow her blog: catlintucker.com/
Find her on Twitter @Catlin_Tucker
As I rounded the week at TCEA, I reflected on the power of video in the classroom. Video is engaging to our students; it is a format they are comfortable with; and there is little room for misunderstanding a concept when they can literally 'see' it on the screen. A blog post by Dr. Nathan Lang (also a former co-worker of mine at NASA DLN) called Student Video Creation: 5 ways to ensure it aligns with district-tier goals addresses how this can use Marzano's instructional strategy of identifying similarities and differences more clear. The post has great insight into how student created videos can lead students to effectively communicate their own learning in the classroom. I think it goes without saying that video can help students understanding of concepts in the classroom, as well as for teachers to use effectively to communicate their own ideas and lessons in a 'flipped' classroom. When I started working with video over 20 years ago, I knew then that it was going to be a powerful force in education. Today it is even more present. Being in an area hit by Hurricane Harvey, video helped convey the devastation, helped get the word our about heroes, and helped raised funds because we could hear and see from those affected. No matter who uses video and whatever the purpose, it can have a huge impact. Make it a part of your classroom and make a change for the better! #wevideo
TCEA has been another engaging adventure:) My first time not presenting in five years... My favorite sessions were learning more about BreakoutEDU. My forward thinking librarian had already ventured out and done this with her book club last year, but after seeing it in action, I wanted to know more . I heard the improvements, tutorials, and how to get/create games. I got to the early session early, and actually spoke with (and took a selfie...shameless I know) with one of the co-founders, Adam Bellow! The hardest part is designing the game, but as an educator - you get out what you put into it. More work designing the game, brings the best learning outcome for your students. Adam made a point of emphasizing that this game hits the 4Cs: collaboration, creativity, communication, and CRITICAL thinking. I can't wait to get my own box and start designing/ training for teachers using this gaming platform! #BreakoutEDU
This school year has been all about gamification in the classroom. During my teacher training days we look at ways that they can easily incorporate gaming in their classroom to engage the students. Everyone loves a little competition and now that Quizlet has added a 'live' feature students are able to have even more fun! https://quizlet.com/features/live
Quizlet added a new 'live' button you will see now after you have entered into a set of your 'cards'. The objective is to work with a team to get all the answers right. Here is how it is different from the others like Kahoot or Quizizzes....when students join the group to play (and you need at least 6 players), it will then assign them into teams (typically they are some type of animal name) thus no planning for the teacher required! When you start each team member will see the question and several answers on their device, HOWEVER, only one in the group will have the correct answer. What I love is that it forces the students to talk and discuss the answer choices and come to a decision as a group. If they pick the wrong choice, they have to start all over. When the first team correctly matches all the cards together, their animal appears on everyone's screen. The stats not only show how they did but gives you a summary of the least answered correctly card and the most correctly answered card. And here's the best part-- you can replay and shuffle the teams. In my experience it typically takes clear instructions and then at least two rounds before the students understand how it works. I think it works best when reviewing or introducing a concept. And if you already have a point system or badging in place-- you can award the teams! Try Quizlet.live!
I work in a Microsoft District -- which basically means that we rely heavily (but not solely) on Microsoft tools and platforms. My favorite one, besides the entire Office 365, is OneNote. With the onset of summer and our collaboration with curriculum we have started using OneNote, which is Microsoft's digital notebook. It does everything!!! There truly is not much it cannot do. And with Office 365, you can not only create a personal OneNote for your self, but there is a Staff Onenote and Class OneNote. See below for a breakdown of the features (including what you get from add ins, etc.
I mean seriously why would anyone NOT use OneNote??!
Well my apologies for not keeping up better with the site and the amazing tools I have discovered this year. Yes it is Leap Day, on the eve of March 1st before I am making a post in 2016. However in the spirit of the testing season, I want to spend this post looking at Go Formative. I was fortunate enough to be a part of the TechFAT team that presented at TCEA 2016 on some of the best formative assessment tools for the classroom. Formative allows anyone to turn a typical handout into an 'actual' interactive document that can be add to student learning through video examples, teacher notes, or simply the ability to submit answers electronically. Take a look at the video below.
I work with teachers and students as a Digital Media Specialist for the Pearland ISD Curriculum Department. My goal is to share innovative and useful information for other educators, as well as catalog my personal finds along the way!