Wednesday, January 27, 2010

How I use technology in my classroom

I continually use technology to enhance student learning and to link my classroom to the world.
Some of the successes:
Webpage. Using Contribute allows me to update my curriculum and classroom activities on a daily basis. Parents can find out what we are doing. Students know weeks ahead of time what we will be doing. Students have access to classroom resources such as videos, lecture notes, handouts and assignment when they are home sick. This has been a great help to students and it actually saves me a lot of time. It improves lesson differentiation. All of the notes are on line. Students may print off notes instead of struggling with writing them during the lecture. It also saves on paper. In my 6th grade multimedia class all the instructions are online--no handouts needed. I also experimented with this last year during the 8th grade Earth's Resources unit and was able to cut the paper use down dramatically.
Social Bookmarking. I have set up a site through delicious that allows me to bookmark sites for professional and student use. I have tags (categories) that correspond with units in the curriculum. I also link to web sites that I use for professional development.
iMovie - iDVD. Students produce videos that they use to help in class presentations. Students produce 2 - 4 minute videos, upload them to my drop box and then I use iDVD to organize them and produce a DVD. Students can bring in blank DVDs to get a copy of their work. The most successful project that I did last year was my final "exam". Students had to produce a video that demonstrated what they learned during the year. It was amazing how this activity engaged students--and it was the last week of school!!!!
Excel. Students are required to analyze their scientific research using spread sheets and graphs. I did not want to overlook this one, because it is one of the standards that our students have difficulty with. Skills in analyzing and interpreting graphs are stressed on both the state test and the ACT.
U-Tube/Online Videos. At least once a week I show a short video clip on our topic. This seems to accomplish the same thing as the old hour long videos, but is a much better use of time. I also have found sources for the longer videos on line when needed at This saves district $.
Student WIKI. I am currently working on a new project where students post work on a wiki. They are going to use the wiki to collaborate on a genetic disorder. The assessment piece has been a struggle, but I've got one and we're going to jump in and give it a try. You can follow our progress on Wiki Spaces. The project will be starting in early February, so the wiki currently is a work in progress. If you would like to contribute, let me know and I will invite you into our wiki.
Staff (and personal) development. When I want to learn new things about science, technology, or life I search the web. We really don't have a lot of quality inservice that helps me develop as a teacher. I can usually find what I need on the web somewhere. Some of my favorites are: Atomic Learning, 4Teachers, TedTalks & the list goes on and on. Check my delicious site--(tags: education or technology) for more. One of my favorite personal sites is a Firefox add on called Stumble Upon. You download it and it installs a button on your Firefox browser. When you click the button it randomly selects web pages on topics that you have chosen. It's random, but you never know what you might learn.
Ipods. I use iTunes to download podcasts to contiually monitor new things going on in education and the rest of the world. Most podcasts are free and have the lastest and greatest of what is going on in science and techology. Students used iPods in my classroom to study symbols of elements. I put the names into a program that made flash cards. Students loved these. I'm still working on other ways I might be able to use these in the classroom.
Webquests. I have one or two of these for most of the units that I teach. They are interactive and do a much better job of presenting the information than the textbook. Last unit we used a site that presented Earth History--not of of the most exciting topics, but the students were totally engage.
Promethean Board. I've used this a dozen or so times. It was somewhat useful. Lecture is really not my strength, but it is helpful at times for presenting and reviewing information. I have been reading an interesting blog on this topic.

Some of the technology that I have played with personally, but haven't gotten around to using in my classroom are:
Skype. Connecting with people around the world. I have this at home and it worked great for talking to a friend in Jamaica.
Moodle. Not sure how I can use it yet, but it looks interesting.
Google apps. This would allow students to collaborate more easily outside of school.
Flash. I understand it well enough to realize that students could do some incredible science projects with it, but not well enough to jump into a project yet.

1 comment:

hm said...

Wow you are impressive....way to hip to retire!