Tool#9 Incorporating Classroom Based Devices.
1. Technology is a valuable instructional tool. Most of our students interact daily with some form of technology, but I don't think they fully understand what technology can do for them, outside of gaming or chatting with their friends on Facebook. It makes me so happy to see my students post pictures and projects that they did in class for all their friends to see.
Technology must be tied to the curriculum or we are cheating our students. Through technology they can connect with the world and explore places outside of their community. It is a way to introduce, practice, and reteach difficult concepts in the curriculum, but it is a only tool, not the answer to everything.
2. When students work with the classroom devices, there should be specific objectives incorporated and/or products created to show learning has taken place. Just like with any other assignment, students should be held accountable. This can be done several ways, from posting a simple reflection of the activity on line through a blog or Edmodo (my favorite) to an actual product. A database of activities could be posted on Google Docs and students check off as they are completed. Student projects could be placed in a designated teacher folder, assignment folder on Edmodo or use Dropbox.
3. There are many different sites available for students. Below are a few that I have used or want to use this coming school year.
http://www.brainpop.com/ All contents
The sites need to be previewed and determine if they are best viewed by a netbook or iPad. Nothing is more frustrating than having the students go to a site and the activities can't be completed due to flash (ipad), so check first.
When a site used in a center, a specific learning goal must be established and the end result or product published either by posting reflections, completion approved by teacher, printing out results, etc.
4. Apps. by the hundreds are there, some good, some bad and more are added daily. It takes time to download and preview the apps. Below are just a few my students have used in class. While the students are using the apps. I try to sit down with each student as they are using them for a couple of minutes and chat about what is going on. Even though it is noisy, I don't allow headphones to be used, so I can monitor what they are doing. My classes are small so I can do this.
Khan academy and brainscape for test prep
iTunesU - teacher/student made books used with iBook and a macbook.
Stack the states lite
Stack the countries lite
5. Google Earth is a great app to use for geography and weather.