Saturday, September 13, 2014

Classroom EdTech Tools

(Part of @teachthought 30-day Reflective Teaching Blogging Challenge) more info here.

Day 13 challenge: "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."

Using technology in the classroom is one of my biggest goals this year. Over the last handful of years, the classroom has seen a shift in technology use from something only the teacher uses and manages to something the students can use to learn, create, and share.

Some of the top EdTech tools that I use in the classroom are a combination of websites and apps that make teaching and learning more interactive, engaging, and fun.

1) GAFE - Google apps are useful even more this year since we are 1:1 with Chromebooks. My students can access, create, and share documents, presentations, email and more.

2) KidBlog - My students are enjoying their own special blog to share more about themselves, their experiences, and their writing with their classmates, families, and friends.

3) TodaysMeet - Students can respond to prompts, topics of discussion, and more as they write short messages and read what their classmates have written. We have even sent out a link to our discussion so parents can join in.

4) Twitter - Besides having a personal account which I have used to grow my PLN of amazing educators I learn from everyday, I have also created a class account which I have used to connect my classes with other students across the country and to tweet out pictures and updates of what we're doing daily in class. It's a great way for parents to see what we're doing and have a few topics of conversation to discuss each evening. A few of my students even participated in a "student chat" about starting out the school year and building community. It was fun to sit with them and watch them see our tweets "favorited" and decide what we wanted to tweet to the various questions that were posed. 

5) Socrative - This tool has been helpful in gaining formative assessment information. The students have found it easy to use, and I appreciate the easy feedback information it gives me. This is one tool I think I will use even more this year than I did last year.

6) Skype - I'm very excited to use Skype in addition to Google+ Hangouts to connect with other classrooms around the country & world this year. I already have plans in place to use Skype to make learning come "alive" in my classroom.

I enjoy trying new EdTech tools and will most likely have many more this year to try and to add to my go-to list. As new technologies are invented, educators will most likely find a way to use them effectively in the classroom.

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