Tech Tips

GreyEd_techGreyED Solutions is pleased to partner with SmartBrief to provide busy K-12 education technology innovators with “Tech Tips Tuesdays.” Published every Tuesday in the SmartBrief on EdTech newsletter, Tech Tips are written by educators for educators to boost their know-how and expand their skill set. Read Tech Tips here on our site or subscribe to SmartBrief on EdTech to get them delivered directly to your inbox.

 If you’re an educator and would like to contribute to Tech Tips, let us know!

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Tech tools for elementary math instruction

Source: SmartBrief on EdTech in partnership with GreyED

As the end of summer fast approaches, there are many uncertainties that the new school year brings. But one thing I can count on is my 90 new fifth-grade math and science students will all be performing at 90 different levels. It is a daunting task addressing all of these needs but fortunately there are many tools out there to help. Here are two of my favorites:

Bringing virtual reality to your classroom

Source: SmartBrief on EdTech in partnership with GreyED

One of the biggest trends to come out of ISTE 2016 was more viewers and services for virtual reality in education. Here’s a look at some my takeaways from the show:

Nearpod, a student engagement platform, has added a virtual reality component to its services. It is a paid service, though some schools and districts have received viewers as a bonus for purchasing the program. The service is available for all platforms, including PCs and mobile devices. Nearpod also offers lessons for teachers to purchase.

How to Create a STEM Lending Library

Source: SmartBrief on EdTech in partnership with GreyED

Recently through a grant, several teachers came up with the idea of a STEM lending library for our 50-school district. When approached with the idea, I was excited and gave the green light and signed off on logistics right away.

We purchased Spheros, Makey Makey, Ozobots, 3D printers, Raspberry Pi devices, and several smaller items for the library. The resources are available for teachers and schools. All items come with simple step-by-step directions on how to get started right out of the box.

Boost home-school communication, decision making with community-feedback forum

Source: SmartBrief on Education in partnership with GreyED

Most school districts struggle with customer service. Educators are pros at classroom engagement, but engaging parents and staff in critical conversations outside of school poses real challenges. Parents often don’t know who to contact or even how to contact someone with a question or to share a comment.

At Lincoln Public Schools, we’re committed to listening to our community. We use Let’s Talk!, a cloud-based platform designed to give community members — teachers, students, parents and staff — a central portal for providing feedback. Users can ask questions, weigh in on school district decisions, submit concerns or even share compliments.

Use project-based learning to support student voice, engagement

Source: SmartBrief on Education in partnership with GreyED

Student-centered classrooms foster engagement and authentic learning. These environments allow students to have voice in their learning, plus explore and create in ways that the traditional lecture-based classroom can’t match.

One project we did this year involved having the students identify a problem from their lives and come up with a way to solve it using technology. Two students noted that the current process for signing out of class to use the restroom was tedious, and thought that a simple scan out would be faster and less intrusive to the class. I thought it was an amazing idea and let them run with it.

Why you should use Open Educational Resources

Source: SmartBrief on Education in partnership with GreyED

Our teachers are better than any piece of technology, and certainly better than any textbook that we can buy. We need to do more to tap into this valuable classroom resource. If we can harness this teacher expertise, our students certainly will benefit.

Teachers who curate and cultivate a variety of Open Educational Resources — both digital and in print — give their students the best real-time educational opportunities. Open Educational Resources give teachers a way to design curriculum that is interactive, relevant and updatable. There is positive power in teacher control over curriculum. Teachers working with their peers, instructional coaches, and in curricular teams allow for the best student-centered lessons.

Using video to support teacher training programs

Source: SmartBrief on Education in partnership with GreyED

Each spring semester, the seniors in our student-teacher program complete the edTPA assessment. This performance-based test requires teacher candidates to submit an unedited video recording of them teaching a lesson in the classroom. The recording is part of a portfolio highlighting the individual’s ability to plan, instruct, and assess.

Student teachers require frequent and high-quality feedback from faculty in order to develop pedagogically and evolve into reflective educators. This year we used a video-based web platform, ADVANCEfeedback, to provide authentic reflection and discussion to our teacher candidates. The platform supports annotated feedback on classroom videos.

How to ease scheduling of parent-teacher conferences

Source: SmartBrief on Education in partnership with GreyED

As an elementary teacher, I have always dreaded scheduling parent-teacher conferences. I sent students home with a conference schedule noting my availability and parents would send back a form with their chosen time. I would use the forms to manually schedule time with each parent and input every meeting into my calendar. As you can imagine, it was a tedious, time-consuming process.

Flip that interview

Source: SmartBrief on Education in partnership with GreyED

Regardless of industry or profession, one of the many common experiences we all have is the job interview. All of us have probably been the interviewee many times in our professional lives.

Additionally, many of us have also been the interviewer or the facilitator of interviews. And the process of these interviews has been largely unchanged for years. We hear and deliver the same questions, such as, “Tell us about yourself,” and “Where do you see yourself in five years?”