Thursday, October 22, 2015

3 Ideas for Opening Your Classroom to Something Techtastic!

Every day I see teachers all over the EdTech spectrum- hesitant teachers and teachers "all in" regarding educational technology. As in many areas of life, we are all in different places in regards to our comfort levels, our "belief" in the abilities of technology, and our time available to devote to learning something new. With that in mind, here is a small list of suggestions to broaden/deepen/start technology in your classroom:
  1. Pick one thing to try this year that is tech-based. Perhaps it's using the e-portfolio app, Seesaw to help your students keep a journal of their learning in your classroom this year. Perhaps it is allowing your students to create videos using Green Screen by DoInk to allow students to share their knowledge on a subject. Perhaps it's owning the collaborative value of using Google Docs/Drive and Notability for writing projects. The opportunities are endless, contact someone in your building that seems to be doing something interesting, or your friendly tech coach!
  2. Immerse your professional side in Twitter for educational purposes. It's fairly simple- create a twitter account- follow some hashtags that would benefit you as a professional and get to learning. When you see someone posting things that interest you, follow them. It isn't like Facebook- it isn't weird to follow people you don't know. Educators use Twitter to broaden their view on education, so the more people you follow from a variety of places, the stronger your ability to see various ideas! Hashtags can be specific to what you teach or what your current interests are- for instance, I enjoy participating in a variety of hashtag chats #edchat #gwinchat #BYOTchat #1to1techchat #edtech #edtechbridge and my personal favorite #TnTechChat but I can glean lots of information just catching up on the hashtags occasionally using Tweetdeck without adding into the conversation myself (we call that Twitter lurking but it isn't a bad thing). Not quite sure how to start? Download the Tweechme app to develop your PLN (personal learning network) created by Susan Bearden.
  3. Ask! Seems simple, right? Do you have a lesson plan that could use a little UMPH? Do you have students that struggle consistently in a certain area? If you have a curriculum coordinator, a tech coach, or a fellow teacher that seems to have a handle on tech in the classroom- ask them what they would suggest! I enjoy being asked into classrooms to just observe. Often, because of what I do, I can think of ways that technology might enhance a certain lesson plan or even aid a certain student. Perhaps, start with a lesson plan that feels like it's a bit lackluster and grow it with the support of technology. Technology doesn't always fit but ask around to see what might help.
Simply stated- start simple. Find support. Take a chance. Knock down the walls of your classroom. Engage. CONNECT. CONSUME. CREATE. CURATE. 

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