Tech Tools for the Everyday Teacher

Posts tagged “21st Century

The 21st Century Conference in Hong Kong: just a red dot

imagesI spent three hours today with Dan Meyer – renown High School Math Teacher and TED talk contributor.  It was excellent.  He led the 3 hour workshop with some provocative questions.  Honestly, he’s one of those educators where three hours flies by.

Throughout the conference keynotes and speakers have been talking about various technologies that can aid instruction in the classroom.  One of the buzz topics is the constant evolution of technology.  The speakers have stated that we need to teach students to adapt and be flexible with new technologies.  Therefore, we shouldn’t expect students to dig too deep into one tool, rather, students should be able to experience as many tools as they find useful.  The result is that students aren’t experiencing depth.  Just hours before, Dr. Larry Rosen discussed concerns regarding attention spans and breadth vs. depth in content.  Would it not be appropriate, dare I say  – beneficial for students and teachers to choose specific resources to engage with at a deeper level?

Here I run a blog called tech4teacher – where I describe the many free resources available to teachers and tell about how I use them in my room.  I do sound somewhat hypocritical.  I just wonder if we are looking at technology the wrong way…

Anyway – Dan Meyer introduced our class to a website: click here.

This website is so simple – but has so much teaching potential.  Now I might lose some of you because to use this website in its true nature each student would need to be on an ipad or a laptop.  Nonetheless, I suppose it is possible to use it as a teacher showing it to your students.

The website allows for you to upload an image.  Then create a suggestion for an audience to put a red dot somewhere on the image.  Every student who has that link can move their own red dot and they can’t see each others.  There’s also a teacher link which allows for you to see where everyone has placed their red dots.

Dan showed us a number of examples of how this can strike up conversation:

Here are a few student-view perspectives.  Hopefully you can see how this might strike up conversation:

http://activeprompt.herokuapp.com/SUVMN

http://activeprompt.herokuapp.com/SNQFY

http://activeprompt.herokuapp.com/SFVOM

You start to get the idea.

It can be powerful because it is anonymous – so students don’t get scared of showing where they think the red dot should go.  It’s also powerful because if you place up questions that have undefined variables, or that have multiple answers – it can create incredible conversation.

Really – it’s all about encouraging an intellectual need in students, rather than social or economic needs.

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What have I learned recently?

I have been trying to incorporate a lot of technology in my classroom recently.  Like I said in my last post, I constructed the interactive whiteboard that Johnny Lee geniously created.  It works.  That being said I do believe the software he recommends on his website is really the only software that works ‘well’ with this contraption.  Another thing that is important to remember is that the placement of the wiimote is vital – and if it shifts than the whole touch-display is off-put.  I have not done the interactive whiteboard with my students yet because I want to make it a little more fool-proof.

I recently acquired an ipad2 from my district to see its functions in the classroom.  I have been using Doceri – which enables the ipad2 to link to your laptop and then you don’t have to stand up at the front to control your laptop – it also allows for you to write or draw on the ipad2.  It’s actually a very handy program.  I have not had the freedom to use other apps yet – but I’m hoping the district loads some on the ipad2 soon – as its very limited with its capabilities, or I just can’t figure out all its uses. 

That being said, the students have never been more engaged with the lesson? or with the ipad2? than when I pull out that device.  They love it.  It just has a pretty steep learning curve.

There you have it.  I will keep you posted on the interactive whiteboard and try to get some pictures of it in use.

 


Gliding through time…

For all you Social Studies teachers… or really anyone that uses timelines in class – here is an excellent resource.

Timeglider – is an excellent website that allows for teachers to create their own timelines with images or links.  It’s awesome because it is easy to embed in websites or create links.  Refer to my WIX post if you need to see a website that will work with Timeglider.  If you click on Add-Widgets-HTML in WIX then you can embed the HTML script from timeglider into your webpage.

Timeglider would also be easy for students to use.  A great activity I am going to use with my students is to have them create timelines on Timeglider on Explorers through the Revolutionary War.  Through creating timelines students get a visual aid that will assist them in remembering sequence of events and how events were caused.

I have created an example below of just a few pictures and dates shown on a timeglider.  I found it easiest to find links and plug them into the timeline – instead of downloading pictures and uploading them on the website.

Example