Sunday, November 9, 2014

Confession #1 - I Miss Being a Classroom Teacher

I'm in year six as an Instructional Technology Specialist and not a year goes by that I don't miss being a classroom teacher. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my job, love training teachers, love working with teachers to integrate technology in their classroom, and on and on. I think the reason I miss being in the classroom is two fold: 1) I miss students and 2) As an Instructional Technology Specialist, I've learned about many new technologies that I would love the opportunity to implement in a classroom.

So what would my future classroom look like? Here are the top two technologies that I would use in my classroom on an everyday basis. Take a look and see if maybe you could incorporate these.

Remind for Parent Contact
Need a one-way communication tool that doesn't share personal contact information and works both from a laptop or a mobile device via an app? "Here's Your Sign!" Things to know about Remind:

  • It's FREE. Can I get an AMEN? Teachers love technology tools that are free.
  • Sign-up takes about 20 seconds.
  • Teachers do NOT have to enroll parents or students. Parents enroll themselves with a code generated by the system. Enrollment prompts them to enter their first and last name.  
  • No personal phone numbers are shared. 
  • It's a ONE-way communication system. 
  • Once your class or classes have been created, Remind generates an instruction sheet for you to print or email those you would like to invite. 
  • Remind generates a message history. 
  • Schedule when messages will be sent.
  • Attach files (photos, PDF, documents, URLs) to messages.
  • Attach voice clips when you send a message using the app. Click here to download app. 
  • Resources for teachers. Click here
It doesn't get much easier than that. I understand there is a time and place for emails and phone calls, but as a parent of teenagers I love that their teachers have Remind accounts. I get a text message when they have a test, forms are due, fees need paying, games/practices have been cancelled, and my new are available that my high school senior can apply for. 

Student Response Systems 
I love student response systems for several reasons: polling students for classroom discussion, formative assessments, and review games for summatives. Below are my "go-to" response systems:
  • Poll Everywhere - used for creating classroom discussion
    • Using this student response system means you do want to project the poll from your laptop to a projector.
    • Students can answer the question on their iPad, phone or on a laptop.
    • Clickable Image question is my favorite. You can create your own image to upload. 
    • Try word cloud responses with open ended questions.
    • Click here for a tutorial guide.
  • Kahoot - used for review sessions for summatives
    • Kahoot is a game based response system. Players get points for answering questions the fastest and correctly.
    • The teacher clicks "next" so students receive the question.
    • The website should be displayed on a projector from a laptop while students respond via a web-enabled device via
    • After each question is ask Kahoot shows the leader board. Top 5 appear on the screen
  • Socrative - used for formative assessments and exit tickets
    • Types of Quizes:
      • Quick question – means you ask a verbal question on the fly and choose what type of response you want…T/F, MC, Short Answer
      • Exit Ticket asks the same three questions every time…
        • How well did you understand today's material?
        • What did you learn in today's class?
        • Please answer the teacher's question. (you ask a verbal question to class)
      • Space Race – means you push a quiz that has been created already to “groups” you choose and the groups compete against each other to see who can make their spaceship get to the finish line first.
    • What I love about Socative:
      • Quiz responses can be exported into an Microsoft Excel file.
      • The Exit Ticket can be used without having to prep beforehand.
      • The order of questions and answer responses can be randomized. 
  • Student Response Tutorial Guide - click here

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