My school has assigned teachers as tech champs to pave the way to integrating technology into 21 century skills and the Common Core into the classroom. Tech champs will be trained in Google apps, ITouch and IPad applications, and SmartBoard for the classroom.
As a teacher for only the past 13 years, education has evolved into a completely new world! Technology was just a minute speck in the realm of education. Not only are administrators asking for a total re-haul of curriculum incorporating the new Common Core, but we are expected to include technology and 21st Century skills too. As we all know, that is a lot to take on in one year. Tech Champs are supposed to be the trouble shooters for teachers that may be struggling or training educators in the newest and greatest of new Web 2.0 tools for the classroom.
I have been asked to be a Tech Champ. I feel compelled to take on the challenge because I will be one of the first trained on new apps and tools that enter the marketplace. My classroom will act as my pilot lab for new and exciting applications. We will be on the cutting edge of technology for the classroom. On the other hand, time is of the essence. Time has been a complaint for teachers forever. We never seem to have enough time to prep and plan, and evaluate, or reflect before instruction. Now, add the learning curve of technology to the equation. I find my self working at home and weekends even more to understand how I would use Web 2.0 tools in my classroom. Believe me, there are infinite ways to have technology be an integral part of the learning process, however instruction in and out of the classroom must be extended from the traditional method of teaching.
At the moment, I am using the SmartBoard in my classroom for lessons and instruction. I would say I’m still in the beginning phase. I try to explore something new on the board each day. My students love playing detectives and troubleshooting with me.
My class is also blogging with another 4th grade classroom in our district. We decided to start with just responses about the literature that we are reading in class and independently. The kids are using the basic skills of blogging right now. I hope to move them to some advance blogging by linking to author sites, adding images, and creating some orignal written work and embedding it on the blog.
We have also Skyped a couple times with the 4th grade class sharing some book reviews. Again, I would love to connect with classrooms globally. I love the EPals site, but I just don’t have the time right now to do anything with it right now. Check it out if you want to connect to other global classrooms. They have great projects to participate in too.
I’m using Edmodo to connect to parents and students, school to home. I put the nightly homework and deadlines on it daily. It is a way for the kids to connect outside of school on an academic platform. My rule is that it can only be used as a resource for school, not a place to chat socially. If the kids want to chat about a book or academic subject, I have no problem with it. Edmodo also has a great application called LearnZillioin, where there is a tutorial of selected common core standards and guided lessons for the kids to watch in and out of school. I use it on my SmartBoard as a mini-lesson and then direct my students to it on Edmodo, if they need to watch it again at night, say for homework help.
I’ve also experimented with Glogster and Animoto. I like them, but again it requires additional time to teach my class the basic skills of the application.
As a tech champ, I hope to weed out the apps that work well in the classroom and those that are fun but don’t meet the standard criteria. I hope you continue to visit my blog and watch for some of my reviews of the latest Web 2.o tools for the classroom.
Have a great week!