Attempting to start something new can always be scary and being afraid that it won’t work can hamper the process. Technology is a great tool that when used correctly can take a basic concept and expand into a deep thinking conversation or search for curiosity that you do not have to have an answer for. You know what, that’s ok. I challenge you to do this if you are nervous about integrating technology in the classroom. Think of something you do in a normal class period and see if there is a way to modify that routine using technology. Do you have students take notes with paper and pencil? Maybe have them use an app like Show Me to record and add audio for student playback. Do you have students write an exit ticket before or at the end of class? Try Kahoot! or Socrative to generate instant feedback that allows students to discuss the results in real time. Do you want students to write summaries about their findings? Use Kidblog or My Big Campus to let students write summaries and comment on what other findings students came to. All of these address the reason you are using that technique in class but now taking it to a higher level of learning. The best part is, you were already doing these things, just revamping to what is now available.
I have always liked the idea of a flipped classroom, especially as a former high school math teacher. I ran with the flipped classroom my final 2 years in the classroom, but when students watched their lessons I had no way of knowing who was prepared coming into class. EdPuzzle can help with this. EdPuzzle takes videos from sites such as YouTube, National Geographic, TedTalks, and many others or you can upload your own video. This last feature is really cool as YouTube is blocked for most student access. EdPuzzle allows you to break up a video and ask questions through key parts of the lesson to check for understanding. It also allows you to crop the video so that you are only showing the part of the video you need. Students are also given the option to re-watch that section of the video if they need to. The teacher can then check on their understanding of the topic by viewing the results and see how many times the student re-watched it or if they saw the whole video. Below is an example. Oh, did I also mention that this is free!
Using clickers (student response systems) or online tests is a great way to get immediate assessment results for your students. However, when you only have one iPad, how can you possibly get results from all your students? I have come across an app I am very excited about called Plickers (like "paper clickers"). With this app each student gets their own card with an augmented reality trigger on it. Students can turn the card to indicate different answer choices. The teacher uses the app to scan the room and gets feedback on each student's choice. You can download the cards on the website here. I also designed backs for the cards so it would be easier for younger students to figure out how to hold them.
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