GreyED 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.
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You’ve done it. Go ahead and admit it. You’ve searched for your house on Google Maps. In fact the first place you looked in Google Earth and Street View was your house. But Google Map tools are not just a consumption tool, they can be a powerful creation tool for students to tell stories — stories of history, literature, science, and social studies.
As a science teacher, I always wanted to be just like Ms. Frizzle and take my students all over the world for a daily lesson. Nearpod gives my students that opportunity. With Nearpod’s Virtual Field Trip feature, students can travel all over the world – the Great Wall of China or the Palace of Versailles, to name a few – right from their seats.
Students are asked more and more often to evaluate a wider range of media. I am always looking for tools that not only I can use in the classroom, but students will use effectively. I found that tool: TED Talks.
My students search TED.com for talks that interest them. Their assignment is to intently watch the talk they selected and complete the Google Doc assignment I give them. It’s a simple assignment that has become quite insightful, for me and for my students. I am pleasantly surprised at how eager my students are to do this assignment. They even ask when we will be doing it again!
What is the biggest pain point in your classroom? Classroom management was my biggest headache.
In my first three years of teaching, I tried at least ten management systems, including red-yellow-green cards, marble jars and a clipboard I carried all day.
Enter ClassDojo. When it first came out, I immediately jumped onboard, as I was still struggling to stay afloat. It didn’t solve all my problems but it made my biggest pain point a little less excruciating, which made working through the kinks worth it.
More teachers are grading work online these days but many still prefer to grade writing assignments on paper because they can use abbreviations when they edit or quickly write in feedback. Good news: Google Documents includes a feature that teachers can use to create their own grading shortcuts.
Blogger is great tool for elementary-school students and teachers. Students can use the platform to create a year-long portfolio of their work. Teachers can create weekly newsletters or a class blog. Users can add photos of class field trips, video of class presentations or other multimedia elements. The platform includes features that allow teachers to control who can view posts.
Give it a try! If your district has Google Apps for Ed or you have a personal Gmail account, just type in www.blogger.com in the address bar when logged in.
Coding has been the hot topic in education and STEM conversations for the past year. I have paid attention to the extent that I know it’s important for today’s students to learn to code and I know that our science, technology, engineering and math teachers are finding ways to integrate coding lessons into their curriculum. I tried a few coding exercises – even played around a bit with Scratch – but never felt compelled to deep dive into the language myself.
That is, until I discovered some of the new coding games that have been developed. Here are some of my favorites:
It is difficult to keep up with the ever-changing world of educational technology, especially as it relates to policy. A good resource to know is ON[the]LINE, a service that provides resources designed to help school districts and county offices of education establish education policies and practices that address the rapidly evolving impacts of technology in 21st-century education.
ON[the]LINE is supported by a coalition of education professionals, education associations (including CETPA, CSBA, ACSA, and SCCOE, among others) and the law firm of Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP.
Many students—teen and pre-teen—say their favorite social media platform is Instagram. The same is true for me and many parents as well.
This year we rolled out a school Instagram account and parents love it! It’s become a great way to connect with parents, students and the community. We’ve also discovered that many authors, athletes, companies and school districts are on Instagram. It’s a lot of fun to loop them into conversations.
Are you also using Twitter? You should be! Set up an IFTTT account and you can automatically post Twitter photos to Instagram. Easy!
Some classroom activities — modeling, hands-on learning and interactive games — are difficult to describe to parents in a newsletter or phone call. Last spring, our school decided to create a blog for parents and embed videos demonstrating skills that pre-K students need to develop in order to be ready for kindergarten. Each video includes three sections:
What, describing the skills the video will demonstrate;
Watch, telling viewers which teachers will be in the video so their children can start getting familiar with adults at schools; and
What Else, which features resources and ideas for parents on additional ways they can help their child extend or enhance the skills.