Wednesday, October 17, 2018

5 EdTech Tools To Get You Started


I recently got an e-mail from a history teacher who felt very overwhelmed after attending a local edtech conference. She had seen everything from hyperdocs to Google Classroom and had no idea where to start. She was going from using little to no tech in the classroom to seeing the potential of individualized education that edtech allows teachers to create through choice, self-paced learning, and the various ways technology can impact teacher efficiency in grading or giving feedback. My response was a list of 5 tools that I find essential and easy to start with if you've never done this before. Just like our students, it is a little crazy to assume that when trying something new a teacher can go all in the first time around. The sort of pedagogical shifts that technology can create takes time and if the expectation is that you either make those shifts or never use tech, then we


1. Edpuzzle  

I often put my class in a station rotation model for students to consume content and usually I work in my lecture here through Edpuzzle. with Edpuzzle you can take videos and add questions to them. You can use existing videos (like Crash Course or Khan Academy) or upload your own (this is where I many times add in mini-lectures to help support student understanding of the content. You can see the student data easily to hold them accountable. Click for EdPuzzle

2. Quizlet 

Quizlet: I don't "do vocab" in class. I use Quizlet. In Quizlet you can create decks of digital flashcards and share them with students. If you make the decks private and assign them to a class (and have a pro account) you can monitor student data as well BUT the free version still offers unlimited decks you can share with students. You do NOT have to build your own and can search for teacher-created ones within your content or for a particular unit. Find Quizlet here. 


3. Quizizz 

Quizizz: This is similar to Kahoot but students can go at their own pace (you can assign a quiz as homework if needed) and you have a ton of control as to whether it shows them answers or not, how much time they have on each question, etc. There are tons of pre-made quizzes you can search through or you can build your own. This is PERFECT for building basic content knowledge and checking for understanding. Try Quizizz today! 

4. Google Slides 

Of all the things you and your students can create things on I think Google Slides is the most versatile. It's a slide deck creator similar to powerpoint but it can go so far beyond that. I use Google Slides to create presentations, Choose Your Own Adventure lectures, hyperdocs, document analysis and annotating, it's really limitless possibilities. My students use Google Slides to create presentations, to create digital posters, to create fake social media campaigns, to create eBooks and magazines, and to make infographics

5. Google Classroom

You can sync all these accounts and assign all this through Google Classroom so it is all stored and graded in one place. Google Classroom is one of the most user-friendly Learning Management Systems out there for both student and teachers. It connects with almost every edtech app and website making the implementation of tools seamless and efficient. You can make assignment templates via Google Docs or Google slides and push them out to students so each student gets their own copy to work on and you can see their progress and leave them feedback as they are working. 



There is so much more I could include on this list because right now the world of edtech is overflowing with apps and tools! But not every app or tool is right for each classroom. Using edtech is about enhancing the learning if a tool isn't going to let you do that there is no reason to use it. And it is important to remember that no matter how amazing the tool is it will fail without strong lesson planning and instructional design. 

What are some of your favorite edtech tools? Tell me about them in the comments. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Digital Citizenship Week 2018: Classroom Twitter Account

Right now on Twitter, you can follow my student-led classroom account @TweetsfromB210 to see students using Social Media in positive ways. It is important to me to meet students where they are at while also teaching them and modeling for them positive digital footprints.

I pick one student each class to host the account by sending them this link via Remind.

It's an easy way to teach digital citizenship, give students voice, engage with an authentic audience, and build your class culture.

All week I am going to share some of my favorite ways to bring social media into the classroom to help create Social Media Leaders and change the conversation around digital citizenship from a list of "don't" to a list of "do."

- Mrs. Kathryn Byars

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