Sunday, August 3, 2014

10 New Ways I Used Tech In The Classroom This Year (Part 1)

For the past few years I've written an annual post reflecting on new ways I've used tech in the classroom the previous year.

 But this year... I'm doing the same thing.

And this monstrosity keeps ticking away

For the 2011-2012 school year, I wrote a series of posts starting with this one and ending in this one.

For the 2012-2013 school year, I wrote this post..

So to kick off the 2014-2015 school year here is the first five of my list of 10 new ways, which are now old ways, I used tech in my classroom during the 2013-2014 school year. 

Got that?

10) Expanding my PLN

In the link above, I share the tools I use on my iPad to consolidate my PLN: Zite, Bloglovin, Feedly, and Flipboard. 
The faceless members that make up my PLN

Aside from that though, I created a twitter account for my classroom, @grade4news. I tied an Instagram account to it, and anytime that Apps Gone Free or Appsfire notified me that there was a decent grade-level education app that was free, I tweeted it there. Now the number of parents that actually looked at the twitter feed was about zero. Still, I'll keep it going for next year as well. It's fun to do and maybe it'll become a thing for my parent community. 

9) Playing class review games using Kahoot!

I really like Kahoot! as a review tool, because my kids really liked it. Kahoot! lets you create your own review games. You can show the questions and multiple choice answers on a projector. On each of the kids' laptops (or iDevice), they will see only the symbols for the four possible answers.
After the whole class selects an answer, the student screen will show them if they got it right, and based on how fast and how correct they were, will show them their place in class. 
The teacher's screen shows a "Top 5" leaderboard after each question.
What surprised me was that every review game I made, there was a very different leaderboard of top 5 students each time. What really surprised me was that even my EAL intensive students would consistently show up on the leaderboard. It was huge for their confidence and it was always a lot of fun. 

A couple of times, the game would kick a student out for no reason, and then they'd have to wait until the next review game to participate. 

One thing I wish Kahoot! would do is to randomize the answers. If we play the same review game more than once, I had to manually switch up the answers so kids don't just memorize the answer pattern. Making this process automatic would save me a lot of time. 

8) Using my iPad for everyday classroom use

The link above covers several apps I used for the classroom: Too Noisy (a noise monitor), StrataLogica (a virtual globe), Pinterest (a web curator), Decide Now (a randomizer), Fun Sounds (a sound board), Heads Up (a group pantomime game), Haiku Deck (a presentation tool), and Stage (a document camera app). 

7) Using my iPad for everyday assessment

The post linked above features apps I used for classroom assessment: Confer, Notability, Google Docs, and Explain Everything.

6) Using Aurasma in the classroom

The original Aurasma logo

For the most part I really enjoyed using Aurasma this year. I had some problems with the app losing or dropping or not synching links, so I'm going to experiment with Layar at the beginning of this school year to see if it's more stable. 

Here is a quick list of how I used Aurasma last year:

- "Best Part of Me" project for Back To School Parents' Night

- Virtual Word Wall with vocabulary words linked to kids acting out their meaning.

- Virtual Book Reviews, with book covers linked to the children's review of the books they've read.

- Kid-created augmented reality comic books and instruction manuals.

To start the next year, I was thinking of having a giant map, like this one in our upper elementary hall:

I'd like to invite students (4th and 5th graders) to film something about themselves and the place where they are from and link it to the map. 

My next post will cover five more new ways I used tech last year. 

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