I had already been using technology for some things. Last year, I joined Twitter and so have read articles, heard about what other educators are doing in their classes, participated in Twitter chats, and interacted with educators on a daily basis. This has probably been the single handed BEST thing I could have done to improve my teaching. I am challenged daily on what my philosophies regarding education, as well as what I want my class to look like. As a result, my class has gone through immense changes. It started with the use of a class blog to keep students update on homework, as well as allow them a forum to keep in touch during holidays. A few years later, this developed into student blogs to promote writing and reflection for my students as a result of a workshop on blogging. Then I learned about genius hour and had to have my students start that as well. I also tried e-portfolios, but haven't found a site that allows a class to do this as a whole without issues. I tried Weebly, but it basically just crashed if we had our whole class in the computer room at the same time, even half the class was too much. I am trying Evernote this year, but it isn't how I want it. It has reverted to a place were students can work on writing pieces at home and school (sort of like a usb), definitely not what I had in mind.
So this year, I am trying to incorporate more ways to use the technology we have in our class to make my lessons more engaging for my class. Let's face it, students are used to this type of learning. All of them have grown up with computer and Internet access and how they engage with their peers is through social media. Most of my students have Instagram, Kik, Facebook, Twitter, iMessage, or other programs they use on a daily basis.
Some of the things I have tried this year are:
1. Using Kindle with our Apple TV to show our novel. This way everyone was able to see it and follow along if they wished during our read aloud. I can also load Kindle onto our 3 classroom iPads and share books between them. This allows me to get more bang for my buck when buying for our classroom library.
7. Using the CamScanner app with Goodnotes to demonstrate note taking. I can highlight text from worksheets, our textbook, etc. and show students what is important or main ideas. I can project it using our iPad, Apple TV, and projector combination.
8. We tried Class Dojo, which is a classroom behaviour management tool. I used it to make students aware of specific positive/ negative behaviours. They were able to sign into their own account at home and view how their day went. I stopped using it after students became more aware, but it was good for a while because they were trying to beat their past day's score. http://www.classdojo.com/
9. I have demonstrated how to use various apps to review. Quite a few of my students have loaded apps to practice times tables, or even Quizlet. Quizlet allows them to find flashcards on various topics we are doing in class. They can also make their own review questions. It is great for French vocabulary, as it will pronounce words for you. http://quizlet.com/
10. We have also used iMovie. We did a Kindness project where I interviewed students about why kindness is important and set their answers to music (using Garageband). Students have also used iMovie to share their genius hour learning. We had a group of boys make an action video.
11. Using the Book Creator App for Family Trees. Some students shared their learning about their families by making an e-book. Also, I had a student make an e-book that combined our collective genius hour learning. I thought that was pretty cool.
I'm sure there are things we have done that I have forgotten, basically I am allowing my students to share their learning in whole new ways and giving them the choice of how to do that. I LOVE THAT PART! What works for one student will not necessarily work for others! I am trying not to get bogged down into letting my lack of knowledge on something slow me down. I find sometimes I want to control everything and letting that control go is hard!! Let's face it, students pick this stuff up way faster than me because they have grown up using technology, it is their language.
Basically, my goal is to keep trying new things and to keep learning. I learn new things daily on Twitter. It is probably the best Pro-D you can get. Sometimes something will work, and sometimes it will fail, but without failure there is no learning. Well, I am telling myself that.