Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Technology 2015-2016

I am at that point in the summer where I decide I need to start planning but then my temporary ADD kicks in.  Standards, Lessons, Benchmarks, PARCC, Technology, Class Rules,  INBs, Flipclass...
It drives me crazy!  I always say to myself KISS! But of course my brain doesn't work that way.

So I start by breaking it down into categories,  This post is obviously about technology.  I won't lie I am the teacher in my school that loves technology and gets super excited about trying new things  However, I am also not naive enough to think that tech is the answer to every prayer and will change everything about my teaching.
The main thing I try to ask myself when thinking about technology in my classroom is:
Will it improve student learning?

The following are things that I know for sure I will use this year.
All things Google:
 We are a GAFE school and I have totally fallen in love with Google Drive after having to send out my laptop for repairs last year, got a loaner and never missed a beat since all of my files were on Drive.  I plan to use Google Forms for administrative tasks like parent logs and for stuff like formative assessments.  I plan to use Google Drawings by uploading photos of student work and annotating them to provide feedback.  I plan to use Google Classroom to share this feedback, along with flipped videos and to provide a place for students to communicate with me and peers. (*along with other uses I find after reading Alice Keeler's great post:

I know I just raved on about how much I love Google and we are a GAFE school, but my admin wants us to use Weebly sites.  I have no clue why, but it is what it is.  I have a class webpage where I share info with parents, the weekly assignment sheets I make for students and any videos they need to watch are there in addition to Classroom.  

Discovered Plickers last year and my students and I love them.  My favorite way to use them is for quick formative assessment.  After I teach a whole group mini lesson I give 2-3 problems to see where the students are.  Then I can sort them out to groups based on the results.  I like that it saves the results so you can go back and analyze it a little more when you have time, the only drawback is you can only get a report on one question at a time.

This shows a portion of the report which is really cool.  Not only can I see who got it right, I can see the wrong answers that were chosen so I can figure out where the misconceptions might be.

BRAND new to this!  CueThink was suggested to me by our awesome, amazing, wonderful (can you tell I think highly of her?) technology consultant Lauriene.  I can't even begin to explain how super cool this app looks in this post since I've only just created my account and tinkered with it for about an hour yesterday.  However, trust me it is super cool: teaching students problem solving skills, getting them to share their THINKING, visually and orally, and sharing with peers for feedback.  Since we are not a 1:1 school, I plan on using this in one of my centers so hopefully all of my students can get on and use it within a two week period.

Even though my students didn't exactly love Tenmarks due to the fact that they found it too challenging (too bad!) I am continuing with it this year.  As much as I hate teaching to the test, I feel that Tenmarks really prepared them to take the Parcc test.  Since the questions and responses are set up in the same format.  I really like how their reports are formatted.  Very usable which is important.

We have a subscription for this at my school and we use it a lot.  My students who didn't like TenMarks were happier with IXL, because I think there are less word problems.  Unlike TenMarks, the reports are really hard to figure out and use.  Its almost like there is just too many options. But in general I really like this app because the students really get a lot of practice with the skills we are learning.

There are other things I might throw in from time to time like Kahoot, xtra math, Brainpop, StudyJams, etc.  But the others will be used on a regular basis.

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