I have a deep appreciation for technology, both in my personal and working lives. I spend a ridiculous amount of time researching, getting excited by, and exploring new technologies, both in the online and hardware sense. (Currently, I’m reading multiple reviews a day on ‘Bookshelf Speakers’ in an effort to find something to replace my aging classroom speakers.)
This being said, as I become more established in my career, I’ve began finding myself raising my proverbial bar when it comes to technology that I use personally, or will introduce to my students. I often look for resources that help achieve tasks in a more creative, or efficient manner, while seeking to avoid using technology ‘simply for the sake of using it.’ I’ve found that finding quality resources is increasingly important, yet often difficult to the sheer quantity of new information and tools made available every day.
Within my classroom, I use technology to a relatively high degree, and if not for the finite number of student laptops in my building, I would use it even more. The majority of my classroom use can be broken down into 3 use cases: Project Creation, Formative Assessment/Review, and Research uses. I’ve compiled a list of some favourite tools below, each of which I’ve used in the classroom this year.
- Flipgrid (Short Video Creation)
- Adobe Express (Graphic/Video Creator)
- Canva (Graphic/Video Creator)
- WeVideo (Freemium Video Editor- some school divisions have access to the full version)
- Microsoft Sway (Presentation Software)
- Prezi (Presentation Software)
- Kahoot (Review/Quiz Game)
- Blooket (Similar to Kahoot, but with additional Mini-Games- great for keeping engagement with lower level learners who may be frustrated with Kahoots)
- Formative (Online Assessment Tool- great amount of flexibility for your use case)
- Microsoft Forms (Similar to Formative, but works well with our division’s Microsoft Accounts)
- Plickers (Great Alternative to Kahoot for younger grades or classes with less access to technology as it only requires one teacher device and zero student devices.
- Britannica School– The school version of the popular online encyclopedia allows you to sort their traditional pages into grade level, and reading level appropriate content. For example, you may find the page on the Second World War, but there are up to 9 variations of grade/reading level to pick through. I believe this is a subscription service that your school division may or may not pay for. For those of you in Saskatchewan, I access it from this link from EdOnline.
Screenshots taken britannicalearn.com.
Culturegrams– I currently only have access to dated physical copies, but I am hoping to get digital licenses in the future! These are concise summaries of several different cultural aspects of nearly every country in the world. Very helpful for research projects with students, particularly in the late elementary/middle school years.
Outside the classroom, I find myself using technology constantly to connect with others, but the majority of this communication is with those I’m already connected to. I use a variety of social media apps to connect with family and friends, but rarely comment in public online spaces. During one of my blog posts for Alec Curos’ (@courosa) EC&I 831, I wrote about ‘lurking,’ more than participating in many online communities. I’ve come to appreciate my Ed. Tech. classes pushing me out of my comfort zone, to try and connect more with others online. Joining conversations online, such as #SaskEdChat on Twitter, have allowed me to build confidence in my participation, while also expanding my personal learning network, and digital identity. I find the more comfort I build in these spaces, will better allow me to convey digital citizenship ideals with my students.
I’d love to hear about any other Ed. Tech Tools that you enjoy using with students, or any other tips for participating in online conversations (especially Twitter!) Feel free to leave ideas below or follow me on Twitter (@MrLundED) and share there!