By Teachers, For Teachers
We live in a society where technology is at the fingertips of everyone. Kids of all ages are capable of “surfing the net,” sending text messages, and creating videos on YouTube. I find myself constantly in a battle against technology and maintaining student attention. Student motivation is harder than ever to achieve.
So what is a teacher to do? Well, I for one have decided, if you can't beat them, join them. I refuse to allow technology to win the daily battle for attention from my students. After all, it is MY job to stimulate their minds and expand their horizons, right?
With weapons in hand - my laptop and cup of Dunkin Donuts (shameless plug) - I began searching for methods to incorporate technology in and outside my classroom beyond YouTube videos, internet scavenger hunts, power point presentations, and basic research.
Here are a few ed tech methods I discovered that my students love:
Online Student Blogs
Blogging is a wonderful thing. I have recently started blogging and have found it not only allows me to share my thoughts and feelings in a creative manner, but it increases writing skills. So I thought, why not set up a classroom blog where students are given blogging as a homework assignment?
Most students hate writing assignments, especially those that require a reaction to something read. Instead of “what did you think of chapter 5” or “what do you think will happen next,” I pose a question and have students blog their reactions. Students are writing, they are responding, they are engaged, and they are learning! Of course with all classroom activities, instructions and guidelines must be given. Here is a great websites on teacher/student blogging. Education World also offers a great resource on online student blogging basics.
Wikis are simple web pages that groups, friends, and families can edit together. They are a great edtech tool to use for group or individual research project. K-12 educators can even start up a free wiki. There are many opportunities for teachers to incorporate wikis into their curriculum.
Podcasting is a method of communication in which people create audio files and post them to the Internet for others to download and listen to at any time. There are so many great ideas for podcasting in the classroom . For instance, when I was teaching in a private school, I was looking for a specific lesson on a theme I was teaching. I found a humorous podcast discussing this theme. I plugged it into my iPod and we listened as a class.
This is a great tool because you are able to pause for class discussion and of course rewind if needed. Podcasting in the classroom also serves many purposes. It is a wonderful introduction into public speaking and leads to activities where students can create their own podcasts.
Skype is a personal favorite. It is a free resource that allows many great educational opportunities. For instance, while reading MVP by Douglas Evans (highly recommended), the students began wondering what inspired the story. So I did a little research and discovered that Douglas Evans not only had a website but was more than willing to do a skype interview with my students. I was so excited and you can imagine how the students felt. They were going to get to talk to a REAL author. We set up a day and time and the students were able to ask their questions and learn all about MVP straight from the author himself.
My search for tech tools for my classroom definitely paid off. My students and I are enjoying using all these resources in my classroom!
What ed tech resources do you use in your classroom? Share with us in the comments section!