Thursday, August 1, 2013

10 Ways I Enhanced My Classroom With Tech This Year

Last year I wrote 10 posts outlining how I tried to enhance my classroom with technology. My thought is that if I can think of at least 10 things that I did differently each year, then I'm doing a decent job keeping up with my professional development in this area.

So I will commit to this every year.
Unfortunately this kind of commitment means I'll never go home early

The difference for this year though is that instead of writing 10 separate posts, I'm writing a single post outlining everything. Many of these in this list already have their own post or presentation though so I reference them whenever possible.

This year's class

Here we go:

10) Sign Up Genius
I was the Elementary After School Activity Coordinator at Lincoln. If you've never tried being an activities coordinator, you can get roughly the same experience by going down this slide twice a day for a year:
This was not one of the activities offered

Automating signups was a late revelation for me, and saved me a lot of hassle. After automation I was only going down this slide once a day. I looked around a lot, and Signup Genius was the easiest, the prettiest, and the free-est.

9) Class Economy Tech Products
There should be a post about this in the future.
I get all of my class economy ideas either directly or indirectly from my students. This year was the first year my students and I made a huge transition on what was possible to sell. Students started selling Garage Band songs that they created, Scratch digital stories, and short films. They emailed their customers not only their purchases, but thank you letters and promotions.
Songs are much lighter to carry around too.

8) Using Back Channels
I go over this as much as memory allows in the link above.

7) The Class Online Newspaper
Posteous is dead. Long live Posterous.

6) Individual Blogs
Why on Earth would anyone choose to make a Google Site if they have access to Blogger?

5) Edmodo and the 4 rooms
I love Edmodo, except that it's clunky and linear and doesn't really do what I want.

4) Teaching Authenticity
This is one of the ideas I presented in my NESA presentation this Spring. I thought that this summer I'd create a great big database of fake websites as a fantastic resource. It appears that everyone under the sun already had this idea though. Anyway, it was the first year I taught fake websites.

3) Teaching Searching
Another component from my NESA presentation this Spring.

2) Class Website
This stretches the definition of "new" I guess. I've had class websites before. The year before last I did not, but I brought it back this year with a vengeance... filling it with everything under the sun, until electricity and internet outages suspended it in January. After that there didn't seem really a demand to bring it back. Still, for that first semester, it was awesome.
As awesome as this photo

1) Saying Goodbye....
Being an International student is hard in that it always seems like you're either just fitting in to a new setting, or saying goodbye. This year one of our students left without having the chance to say goodbye. I therefore designated a day for the kids to make whatever they wanted- cards, movies, reflections, songs, digital stories, slideshows, or whatever else they could think of- to make for the departed student so that they could each say their goodbye properly, in their own way.
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