Reflective Teaching – Day 26

Te@chThought‘s Day 26 Challenge is: “What are your three favorite go-to sites for help/tips/resources in your teaching?

Two years ago, this would be an harder question to answer! My go-to sites included SMARTTechnologies SMARTExchange, Youtube, and just general Googling!

Now, I am primarily using Twitter. I curate great ideas by favouriting tweets, or reaching out to the author for more information. I post questions with hashtags and seek out answers, tagging in people I think that may be able to help me.

I am filled with gratitude to be teaching in a time where global connection and collaboration are celebrated and invited. Ideas and resources are shared freely and conversations spark innovation. It’s exciting!

Go-to sites are shared quickly. Teachers also create and share their own resources. It is no longer a matter of bookmarking key sites to return to repeatedly, social bookmarking has become more important for the flow of ideas. There is a growth mindset about teaching and a desire to support others in their own learning and efforts.

What a great time to be teaching!

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Reflective Teaching – Day 13

Te@chThought‘s Day 13 Challenge is: “Name the top edtech tools that you use on a consistent basis in the classroom, and rank them in terms of their perceived (by you) effectiveness.

I love educational technology! It was difficult to rank by effectiveness, because in reality the use changes based on student preferences and needs. My list is somewhat in order, but I’ve shared my thoughts related to each tool.

  1. Data projector: mine is always on. It is used in connection with a SMARTBoard, AppleTV, a huge variety of dongles, a hardwired “teacher” computer, etc. It allows students to quickly see what others are seeing. It makes sharing easy. I think that this suite of technology (projector, SMARTBoard, AppleTV, VGA dongles, speedy computers, and good quality speakers) are an essential minimum in a classroom.
  2. Student devices (BYOD): this has its challenges, but is still so new to me that I am enjoying the possibilities. Having students choose their own device means that they are using something that they have selected. They have personalized it. And most importantly, it travels with them. BYOD helps to break down the walls between home and school learning. The challenge is the variety of devices. You cannot become partial to particular apps!
  3. A single classroom (ideally 5-10) iPad(s): having an iPad dedicated to your own students is ideal! We had a single iPad that was only for our class use. Actually, it was intended as a “teacher” iPad, but I prefer to use my personal iPad. This iPad has our class Twitter account open, class blogs open, and a variety of other commonly used apps available. This iPad became the chosen tool for creating projects, for filming our antics, for a quick “Google”, and trying new apps before deciding to add them to personal devices. Having a class iPad was helpful for when students left their own devices at home or when we had issues with depleted batteries. I would really like to see about 10 dedicated devices in each classroom.
  4. Class set of iPads: I had this for a few months. It was great! It gave a lot of control to the teacher. It was easy to set up the iPads and extract what students were creating. We have strict Freedom of Information Protection of Privacy laws in British Columbia. The issue with a class set of iPads is equitable distribution. They now have to be shared throughout the school, which means you can not count on having them available when something comes up, document and project management becomes a bigger challenge, and the iPads can be returned in a variety of conditions!

Thinking about the edtech that I’ve enjoyed over the years makes me wonder. . . What’s next?