Communicate with Students Through Technology
Never a question of the latest technology – a printing press, a computer, an application – but it was always in creative ways that teachers use technology to meet the needs of students. The challenge is to choose the right tool for the job.
I avoided the red feathers from my first day of teaching. Instead, I always look for the best ways to give students the kind of feedback that allows them to think about their work, not just to correct or edit it. Here are some favorite discoveries:
Individual possibilities – When I want to start a conversation with students about their writing, they create individual podcasts. Listening to my enthusiasm or curiosity about what they write motivates them to deepen their work.
Screencasts – To provide information about student speeches and presentations, I use scenarios. I can create vocal words – like the special feature of “director’s comments” on DVD, while watching presentations recorded by students. I use one of these two programs to produce screen recordings: ScreenFlow or Jing. For some examples, see my blog 5 ways to customize student comments.
When it comes to the tool, my colleagues and I can not live without, it’s Google. Here are some of my favorite features that are easy to get started.
Google Docs – Google Docs Not only is it a great way to go paperless in the classroom, it also offers a great comment feature that allows teachers to respond. And the power of real-time collaboration makes group work more productive. For example, I had groups of students who wrote Soliloquies to put on the Twelfth Night, and were able to work on another part of the scene simultaneously.
GoogleForms-Inside Google Docs you can create a form, which is an online survey that collects the answers in a spreadsheet. I use them for formative assessment, reflections or even the organization of assessment data, these forms allow me to communicate with students (and parents) effectively.
Google Sites: These sites offer great organizational tools. For example, these tools have allowed me to create and maintain the website of the class using the websites. And students can create a site template to house resource, research, and completion products. See my website, Geek Like Me – welcome in room 506! By Sarah Brown Wessling.
Google Reader and Google Alerts – When I knew how to do research, they still had to find the source, but with Google Reader and Alerts, they can teach students how to “research commissions for delivery.” Of course, I’m still passionate about our libraries, but these tools are excellent partners for modern research.
Web 2.0 for Thinking 101
My delicious account is saturated with Web 2.0 tools that I find. I am particularly proud of the three because of the way they support all kinds of thoughts in the classroom.
Animoto I love film projects, but not production time (downloading movies, publications, etc.). Enter Animoto! Using your images and words, this simplified movie production program adds transitions and music to the professional movie in minutes. Ask students to collect pictures that represent a topic. They use it to teach how sounds and sound create a tone or book readers create communications in a movie format to share.
VoiceThread: Using this tool, I ask students to add their comments about the voice or text in an image or a video I posted. All students with access can read the comments and see who made them. Voicethreads can be used for comments, reflections, thematic discussions.
PollEverywhere – The ideal solution for click systems is one of my most frequently used tools. Students use their cell phones productively through an online survey. Vote in the next book let’s read, send me your “exit map” for the day, or generate a conceptual understanding of a survey using Wordle, this function still has a place in our class.
By deepening the technology of 21st century education, they do so with curiosity and confidence, knowing that one of the greatest gifts we can give our students is new means of applications