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Showing posts from March, 2016

What is Your Favorite #EdTech Resource?

I decided to share my current favorites in 6 categories we use to do most of our coaching. If you ask me the same question next week, I might have a completely different set of choices . . . Stay tuned.  (Many of these tools can be applied across multiple categories, so take the labels with a bit of skepticism.) Collaboration: Google Drive
(Suite of resources to collaboratively create Documents, Presentations, Drawings, and much more.)Communication: Remind
(Remind (formerly Remind101) is a safe, free way for teachers to text message students and keep in touch with parents.)Creativity: Thinglink
(Annotate image and video content with notes and rich media links.)Critical Thinking: TEDEd
(Build a lesson around any TED-Ed Original, TED Talk or YouTube video.)Curiosity: Wonderopolis
(Check out a wonder of the day.)Assessment: Formative
(Formative runs on any internet connected device and is optimized for an 1:1, BYOD, flipped or blended classroom.)If you want a few more here is our full resource …

Why Use Technology in the Classroom?

We live in a world where technology is all around us. It is a blessing to many and a curse for some. The incredible growth of educational technology has flipped many teachers upside down and we often struggle to use technology effectively to enhance learning.  I believe that is easy to use technology in the classroom, but difficult to use it well. The challenge of using technology in the classroom is too often overlooked.  Too often technology initiatives focus on "If you build it they will come." and not enough on good learning practices enhanced by technology. 
Components of using technology well in the classroom: Students must be engaged in the content.Content alone is not enough. Content should help students build essential skills.Technology should support skills connected collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking. Technology should open doors to more learning.Technology in the classroom should be learner-centered. Technology should always be used with…

Study Smarter - Not Harder

Exams may be just around the corner, so here are a few resources to help you organize, prioritize, and prepare for just about any assessment. 

Tips for Studying Smarter, Not Harder
Supercharge your Study Guide
It is just as important to think about HOW you study as it is to WHAT you study.Don't Memorize - ORGANIZE!
Organization is the difference between knowing and understanding. Graphic organizers are a great way to make connections. Finals Studying Planning Template
Planning Calendar to organize and prioritize. Digital Tools to Support Individual and Collaborative Studying
Concept and Vocabulary Review - Quizlet
Start with flash cards. Students can make their own, or choose from millions of flashcards sets created by others. Students can use several study modes including multiple choice tests and study games.Collaboration - Google+ CommunitiesStudents create online study groups in Google+ Communities. Students can create private communities to share resources and have discussions. Orga…

Focus on the Content to Teach Essential Skills - #EdTech PD

Many educators get excited about the latest and greatest shiny new EdTech tool, but over the years we've discovered that this does not always move teachers forward in their teaching. Many teachers also struggle when a tool they fell in love with either disappeared or was no longer free. Too often the phrase, "Why should we use this if it is gone in a year?" was heard. 

We've begun to steer our Profesional Development away from the tools first. For district required Tech Tools (Gradebooks, LMS, etc.) we do create online tutorials and offer periodic face to face help sessions. 
We plan professional development with the idea that we want to model a student-centered learning environment. Instructional Technology PD focuses on specific teacher and student skills rather than the tools, with these two foundations:
We model our PD around learner-centered activities, with this infographic as our foundation: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teachers Who Use Technology. We ask…

Learning To Be An Instructional Coach

The roles of EdTech Coaches have evolved. The early generations of EdTech Coaches primarily focused on finding and teaching the tools. This was a need since "educational technology" was not integrated into mainstream education. Our early goals and projects focused on finding a tool and showing teachers how to use it. Sometimes, we even took the easier path and did the work for the teachers instead of teaching them how to do it themselves. The questions we most often answered were “how” questions. “Why” questions were rarely part of our conversations.
In the past, effective  pedagogy and best practices were almost always secondary to the shiny new web resources or devices. Many of us put the carriage before the horse and failed to bring real changes to how we teach and learn. A WebQuest, after all, is really little more than a digital worksheet. Using technology to provide students with worksheets on a computer screen is not listed as innovation in any book about educational …

Google Maps Tools for Critical Thinking and Creativity

Google Maps is a useful tool for many of us in our day to day lives, but many classrooms don't take advantage of some of the incredible resources that are connected to Google Maps.

Google maps can provide classrooms with some incredible opportunities to create lessons based on creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration. 

Here are a few resources connected to Google Maps that classroom teachers will find useful:
Game using StreetView images that drops the player in a random location and challenges them to work out where they are.
Create Your Own Geoguessr with GeosettrSmarty Pins
A fun and interactive game that tests players’ trivia and geography knowledgeMy Maps
Create custom maps to share online with Google My Maps We recently used My Maps as part of our Biome Unit.Google Cultural Institute World Wonders
The World Wonders Project is a valuable resource for students and scholars who can now virtually discover some of the most famous sites on earth.Street View Treks
Trek the…