Our country has changed a lot in the past year. I think most educators didn’t expect the 2017 we now have. We didn’t expect the current education secretary that we have, the president we have, or even some of the other federal changes that we now have. Some of the immigration and refugee policies of 2017 have impacted our schools, along with a shift in direction from the federal government about transgender bathroom policies.
From Flash Cards to Book Clubs, Google Apps Are a
Great Asset for Classrooms
There is no doubt that Google Apps is revolutionizing classrooms. This centralized platform of creation and collaboration makes group projects and teacher feedback easier. It also streamlines parent-teacher communication, making it easier to keep busy parents informed of their child's progress. Perhaps you have already integrated Google Docs and need ideas, or maybe it’s time to make use of this extraordinary tool. No matter where you are with the totally integrated paperless classroom, here are 25 hacks to start you off on your Google Apps journey.
During the past year or so, flexible classroom seating has become a popular topic for educators. This term can be interpreted a few different ways, but at the heart of it is the concept that students are able to choose different seating options that fit best with their learning style.
Those of you who aren’t social studies teachers may be inclined to skip over this blog post, thinking it doesn’t pertain to you. Still others may be saying, “Why bother teaching current events at all?” After all, with the 24-hour news cycle, nothing stays “current” for long! However, research indicates that a regular dose of current events has a multitude of benefits, even in classes outside of social studies.
If we could offer teachers something that would save them time, save the school money, communicate better with students and parents, help struggling learners, and impact the learning environment for students...would they consider using it? I’m guessing they would.
Our school district recently moved to the Google Apps for Education (GAFE) platform. Because I previously used GAFE, I knew the potential for improvement that this would bring to our school and our students.
GAFE Is Great
If you’ve been been using Google Classroom for the last few years, you’re probably already “sold” on why it’s a good thing to use. But if it’s new to you, you probably want to know the reasons why this change is a good thing for students. Here are some things to consider:
Last week we discussed why accustoming students to whole-class collaboration is critical to their future success in the workplace, and looked at the ways that mobile applications can facilitate that type of classroom collaboration.
Today we’ll consider other types of ed tech: interactive whiteboards, digital displays, and Web 2.0 tools.
As an educational technology specialist and enrichment teacher, it is important to me to plan projects that incorporate various subject areas. Tailoring my classes using project-based learning allows students to apply knowledge and skills from one subject (such as math) to understand and perform tasks for another subject (such as science). Team planning with teachers allows me to identify ways to share curriculum, aligning learning through multiple disciplines, and supporting creativity. On the student side, learning is scaffolded, as knowledge is built from one subject upon another.
The following are examples of various cross-curricular projects my students have completed, which are focused on grades 1-6.
Building a T4PD Community, Part 2
Last week’s blog, “Building a T4PD Community: Part 1,” described a new strategy for professional development that has helped one school transform into a 21st century learning center. Working one-on-one or in small groups, teachers come together to share their expertise in a supportive environment. This week, learn how you can institute the T4PD model in your school.
Getting Started with T4PD
Building a T4PD technology integration model in your school is easy – but it does take time. For two years our staff has been working to transform our classrooms with instructional technology, and we still have a ways to go to achieve full implementation.
Within the T4PD model, each member of the staff assumes one or more of the roles described below. While the process appears to result in a hierarchy, the foundation is based on a community of teachers assisting one another in a casual setting for the better implementation of instructional technology. Furthermore, teachers who take part in a T4PD model may actually fill several roles as the process continues and their ability to use technology in the classroom grows.
My History Classroom, “Redefined”
Throughout my teaching career in a semi-urban district outside of Cleveland, Ohio, I have tried to inspire my students to achieve more by bringing my knowledge and passion for Social Studies into my classroom. However, as many of you have probably noticed, history is a topic that simply does not grab 21st century learners. Today’s students are accustomed to working with mobile devices, glancing at quick headlines, doing Internet-only research for projects, watching short YouTube videos, and reading and composing social media buzz. When today’s tech-savvy students are presented with traditional textbooks, worksheets, and magazines that are older than they are, they quickly become disengaged learners. It’s for this reason that several years ago I began a personal quest to “redefine” my instructional strategies, methods, and materials for the 21st century. The end result is my highly successful paperless classroom!
20 Tips for Encouraging Student Collaboration
As you’ve no doubt noticed, collaboration is a hot idea these days in both schools and the workplace. Encouraging students to learn from one another not only facilitates positive interaction; it also gets them ready for the future. Collaboration can be fun, since it’s a good break from the one-sided learning model. But sometimes you need to take steps to ensure maximum engagement from students. Read on for 20 effective tips for encouraging collaboration.