NEWSLETTER // Februarry 2015

Teaching with Tech in the Technology Age

Technology and education are pretty intertwined these days and nearly every teacher has a few favourite tech tools that make doing his or her job and connecting with students a little bit easier and more fun for all involved. For the students, the advent of anything from feature phones to top-of-the-line smartphones has made for interesting learning experiences, as, I dare say, with information abounding, failure on the part of the student is no longer an option.

 

How often have you heard the following conversation between two people: “If all else fails, then Google it!” However, as technology evolves, so have the tools available to make the teaching experience so much easier, adding value each time. Yet, as with anything related to technology, new tools are constantly hitting the market and older ones rising to 

 

prominence, broadening their scope, or just with new features that make them better matches for education, which can make it hard to keep up with the newest and most useful tools – even for the most tech-savvy teachers.

 

Edudemic, an organisation that ‘connects education and technology with education’ has compiled a list of some of the tech tools, including those that are becoming increasingly popular and widely used, that should be part of any teacher’s tech-tool arsenal, whether for their own personal use or as educational aids in the classroom. As a parent, the best advice is to take these to heart and employ them in your child’s study routine, and then stand back and see the results. If you cannot access these tools directly, or, for some reason, you can’t find them, then use the tried and tested Google search engine!

 

Social Learning

The following tools use the power of social media to help students learn and teachers connect:

  • Edmodo: Teachers and students can take advantage of this great tech tool, as it offers a Facebook-like environment where classes can connect online.

  • Grockit: Gets students connected with one another in study sessions that take place on this social site.

  • EduBlogs: EduBlogs offers a safe and secure place to set up blogs for the teacher or the classroom.

  • Skype: Skype can be a great tool for keeping in touch with other educators or even for attending meetings online. Even better, it can help teachers to connect with other classrooms, even those in other countries.

  • Wikispaces: Share lessons, media and other materials online with students, or let them collaborate in order to build their own educational Wiki on Wikispaces.

  • Pinterest: You can pin just about any image you find interesting on this site, but many teachers are using it as a place to collect great lesson plans, projects and inspirational materials.

 

Learning

The educational tools listed below can help to make lessons fun, interesting and more effective:

  • Khan Academy: Many teachers use this excellent collection of maths, science and finance lectures and quizzes to supplement their classroom materials.

  • MangaHigh: MangaHigh offers teachers a wealth of resources for game-based learning of maths.

  • FunBrain: If you’re looking for a great collection of educational games, look no further than FunBrain. On it, teachers can take advantage of fun tools for maths and reading.

  • Educreations: Educreations is an amazing online tool for the iPad that lets teachers (or students) create videos that teach a given topic. It’s perfect for studying or getting students to show off their knowledge.

  • Animoto: Animoto makes it simple to create video-based lessons or presentations for the classroom and to share them with students or anyone else.

  • Socrative: Available for computers, mobile devices, and tablets, this student-response system engages students through games and exercises on any device they have on hand. Even better, teachers can easily assess student progress and track grades.

  • CarrotSticks: On this site, teachers can take advantage of a wide range of maths learning games, giving students practice while they have fun.

 

Lesson Planning and Tools

The following tech tools can be used to pull together great lessons and design remarkable and memorable student projects:

  • Teachers Pay Teachers: Have you great lessons to share? Looking for something to add to your classes? On this site, you can do both, selling your own class materials and buying high-quality resources from other teachers.

  • Planboard: Make sure your lessons are organised and that your day runs smoothly with the help of this amazing online tool designed just for teachers.

  • Timetoast: Timetoast is pretty ‘cool’ for student projects, allowing them to build sleek, interactive timelines in minutes.

  • Capzles: As there are so many different ways that Capzles can be used in the classroom, there’s bound to be an application that fits your needs. What does it do? Capzles makes it simple to gather media like photos, videos, documents and even blog posts into one place, making it perfect for teaching, learning or online projects.

  • Prezi: Want to build presentations that will wow your students? Use this online tool that makes it simple to do all kinds of cool things with your lessons, even allowing collaboration among teachers.

  • Wordle: Create stunning word clouds using Wordle, a great complement to language lessons of any kind.

  • QR Codes: QR codes (or quick-response codes) are showing up with greater frequency in education. If you’d like to get in on the trend, you’ll need a tool to create and manage the codes like Delivr, and one to read codes.

  • Google Docs: Through Google Docs, teachers can create and share documents, presentations or spreadsheets with students and colleagues as well as give feedback on student-created projects.

  • YouTube: Not all schools allow YouTube, but they are missing out as the site contains a wealth of great learning materials for the classroom. There’s even a special education-focused channel just for teachers and students.

  • TED-Ed: TED isn’t just a great place to find inspiration anymore. The site also contains numerous videos that are organised by subject and can help you to teach everything from how pain relievers work to Shakespearean insults.

  • Glogster: Glogster is a social site that lets users mash up music, photos, videos and pretty much anything else you’d like. It’s a great way to create learning materials and a handy tool for creative student projects.

 

Useful Tools

The tools below can help you to stay connected, organised, and increase the ease of building multimedia lessons and learning tools:

  • Evernote: Capture great ideas, photos, recordings, or just about anything else on your Evernote account, access it anywhere, and keep it organised. This is a must-have tool for lesson planning.

  • Twitter: There are so many ways Twitter can be used in education. Teachers can connect with other educators, take part in chats, share their ideas, or even use it in the classroom to reach out to students.

  • Google Education: Google offers a number of great edtech resources for teachers, including email and collaborative apps, videos, lesson-plan search, professional development, and even educational grants.

  • Dropbox: Easily store, share and access any kind of data from anywhere with the easy-to-use and free Dropbox service.

  • Diigo: Diigo lets you treat the Web like paper-based reading material, making it simple to highlight, bookmark, take notes, or even add sticky notes.

  • Apple iPad: One of the most widely used, though expensive, tech tools being used in today’s classroom is the Apple iPad. With a host of educational apps being developed for the device, it’s become a favourite of teachers and students alike across the world.

  • Aviary: Aviary is a suite of tools that make it easy to edit images, effects, swatches, music and audio or to create and modify screen captures.

  • Jing: If you’re teaching children about tech or just about anything else, a great screenshot program is essential. Jing is one great option that allows teachers to take screenshots as images, record up to five minutes of videos, then edit and share the results.

  • Popplet: You and your students can use Popplet to brainstorm ideas, create mind maps, share, and collaborate.

  • Google Earth: From geography projects to learning about geological processes, Google Earth can be a wonderful and fast way to show students things anywhere in the world.

  • DonorsChoose: Need funding for a classroom project? You can get it through this site, which hooks up needy teachers with willing donors.

  • SlideShare: With SlideShare, you can upload your presentations, documents and videos and share them with students and colleagues. Even better, you can take advantage of materials that others have uploaded as well.

 

Immediately after reading this, it will be normal for your head and mind to be buzzing with what to do with the information at your disposal. The trick to traversing the technological world and making most of the various tools discussed above is not to try to make use of all of them at once. Instead, try one at a time until you find the one that is the best fit for you or your children. Ultimately, if all else fails, the old way – the trusted way – is always the best way: Google it. 

 

Additional source: 

www.edudemic.com

 

 

 

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