Yep. Technology and I were meant to be friends! I think this pilot experience is ranking up there with one of the best learning experiences of my career as an educator. I have learned so much, change my views/ideas, and become more familiar with Google tools (which as an iPhone/iPad girl, it was good for me to branch out!). I’m so glad that even though initially I was bummed to not be piloting iPads, the powers that be, knew better. It just goes to show even when you think you know, you really do have no idea. 🙂
That being said here are my new jams: Padlet, Screencastify, & video/audio directions in Canvas (my school district’s LMS)
If you haven’t had a chance to check out padlet.com, I highly recommend it. This website is like a giant bulletin board that is perfect for collaborating and sharing. I first heard about this during a #ditchbook Twitter Chat. During this chat, a Padlet was created where people were adding and sharing resources for other educators: http://padlet.com/mourakd/kg7szw5nerr9 I loved the idea of having a board to post and add to so I immediately went to the website. ANNND it’s free! They do have a school option that is paid but I have found the free version to be just fine.
I decided to create a Padlet for my classroom and I then added links to our other Padlets. Please check it out here: http://padlet.com/spitzer/SeussvilleWhoNotes I have especially loved using it to help enhance my student’s learning experience during our poetry and figurative language study. Here is a link from the Ditch that Textbook Blog that has wonderful ways to use Padlet in the classroom: http://ditchthattextbook.com/2014/11/03/20-useful-ways-to-use-padlet-in-class-now/
I was introduced to this from our TOSA (teacher on special assignment) and then learned even more at a free webinar through SimpleK12. This is a Chrome extension that will video record your screen. You can either choose to just have your voice or your voice and a little webcam in the bottom of your recording. This got me thinking about the idea of an in class flip that I had heard about at a conference last fall. It is like flipping your classroom but instead of students watching the video at home, students can watch the video in class.
2 weeks ago, we started our poetry genre study and this was the first time all writer’s workshop activity was on a Google Doc. I had every student share the doc with me and then I used Screencasitfy to go over their writing piece with them. I highlighted words/sentences/phrases that I wanted them to go back and revise or edit. I then added a comment with a link to their first video writing conference. The next day, students were able to access their video and get right to work on their writing. This allowed me to conference with 15 students. I then had the rest of my class at my back table for more guided support in the writing process. For the first time in a long time I felt I was able to reach each and every student during our writer’s workshop. I was amazed by the amount of time this saved, how engaged my students were, and how helpful it was for them. They can now watch the video at any time. I am hooked and can’t wait to continue using this in the future. The gears in my head are already turning for how I can use this with reading conferences too.
Video Directions in Canvas (LMS)
If you read my last post, you are probably aware that I’m trying to navigate the waters of an LMS. Over the weekend I was going back through some of my notes from our webinar and I happened upon the option of inserting videos in assignments. Then it clicked. I could create a video providing students with directions that they would be able to watch and watch again if they needed help remembering. Yep. This was happening. I went ahead and created an assignment for students to learn and practice plurals that end in s and es. I opted for the directions to be a video too so that students could see my excitement. 🙂 After recording the directions, I inserted YouTube videos that highlighted plurals. Part of the directions were to watch the videos, and record plurals in their reader’s notebook at the same time. They made two columns and separated the plurals by s and es. When they were done watching all 4 of the videos, and had at least 10-15 plurals written, they were to show me their notebook. Instead of having students submit something to grade later, I simply checked that they had completed the assignment. OH MY GOODNESS. GAME CHANGER. I wish I would have done something like this at the very beginning of the pilot. It went so smoothly and students were 100% engaged. I walked around during their working time and offered support and guidance as needed. I cannot wait to use this again and even tweak it to make it better.
These tools are so simple yet have been game changers for my classroom. Do you have any tech tools that have been game changers for you?