9 Tips - How to Make Time for Tech in the Classroom This blog arose as I was instructed to finish my SLO. I hadn’t even started it yet, as I was never instructed to do it in the first place. In fact, I knew nothing about it until an email arrived telling me my SLO wasn’t finished. Just MORE required paperwork that is beyond aggravating. First off, I still have twenty something IEP’s to write, an individual report on each child’s progress, and meet with parents if any changes are expected for next years placement! Make time for TECH? How? I can barely get off the computer doing mundane chore after chore. Where is the time for meaningful planning and execution of lessons?
With that off my chest, I do actually have I few tips that work and would like to share them with you.
- Put the students in charge. Let them design lessons to share through the Project Based Learning model. We as teachers cannot possibly handle all of the terrific techs out there. We need to take advantage of the manpower every class so often is under uses. Assign students the task of learning the ins and outs of some new tech tool and have them make a tutorial in their choice of presentation tool.
- Educreations is a wonderful example of an app that could be used across all curriculum areas for students to make their own lessons/presentations/study guides/ tutorials or any number of other PBL activities.
- Try Haiku Deck. It’s addicting and can make everything from flash cards, with great image selections for mnemonic helpers, to magnificent presentations. This free app can be used in a plethora of ways within the classroom and any content area can be infused.
- Make it a routine to utilize tech in every lesson. Even if it is as simple as a two-minute video share to precede the lesson for the sake of mental stimulation. TEDx Program has wonderful short videos with a wide array of differing content. If you are lucky enough to have access to iPads, break midway and have students do a quick Google search for a specified topic, play a game or app related to the day's lesson; start or end your lesson with a multiplayer app.
- Set aside five minutes at the end of each class to use whatever tech you have available for a student reflection piece or exit card as a quick success indicator. Use a timer so you know to stop in time to accomplish this segment. You could change it up with a number of different activities from a draw what you learned, listing key points, a KWL Chart, or even filling in a simple Then and Now graphic organizer.
- Have you heard of YAKit Kids? Yes, it’s free and the possibilities are endless when it comes to creativity. Students can take any photo or picture and narrate it with all kinds of hysterical features. Assign a famous person and several parameters and you will be amazed at the effort that goes into this venture.
- Use News-O-Matic, an online subscription based daily Newspaper that's worth its weight in gold. It's a real bang for the buck, and coursework could range from a traditional current event to a scavenger hunt. News-O-Matic publishes at the end of each school day to give teachers a chance to view upcoming news and plan accordingly. Best part, Russ, and Newsy always have five great news stories covering all different interests written with kids in mind. Did I mention the inclusion of teacher materials?
- Google Maps can be used in any number of different ways, from investigating your own neighborhood to synching up with whatever you are currently covering in social studies. Math and maps are always a great combo and distances in miles versus meters or an introduction to latitude and longitude, as well as directionally. Science can be infused by comparing the continents in regard to the distribution of the Pangaea.
- Explain Everything - A productivity app with a whiteboard type screen that allows users to record audio and video, write, and move objects all while recording in real time. The end products can be many things pictures, videos, tutorials, endless possibilities for students to create and show what and how they learn.
Some App Essentials:
- Kids Discover has an ever-growing collection of different titles, all state of the art apps kids can get lost in. Again, the potential for cross-curriculum studies is a real bonus here.
- Another gem is One Globe Kids. This subscription-based collection of stories features a day in the life of children from all walks of life. The developer has visited every one of these destinations and the app is chock full of gorgeous photographs representing a day in the life of different children from all over the continent. This app is continually adding new kids and places to the mix, with the mission that early exposure to different cultures can have a huge impact on an individual's acceptance of diversity.
- One of the best developers of educational apps, Cognitive Kid, has a variety of kid-friendly and educationally packed products on the market. If you can, get your school on board with this series.
- Pinterest may sound blasé or even passé at this point, but this program is perfect in a school setting for unlimited possibilities in all subject areas. A great tool for Health and PE, as well as any other disciplines.
Photo Credit: wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock