Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tech Time

Yesterday, while at the Curriculum & Instruction Summit on initiative integration, I sat in on one breakout session on one teacher’s integration of technology in the classroom. This particular teacher had found ways to incorporate technology with only four student computers, a Smartboard and thirty minutes of media time every other week. I wanted to share with you some of the free resources she spoke about.

Think of it as the Facebook for educators and students. Edmodo is a multi-faceted website that offers teachers access in different ways. One way teachers can use Edmodo is to communicate with each other; think of it as a professional learning community. In one school district I used to work in we would subscribe to different school and district leader’s pages. Here they would post links to articles, helpful information, and other school related materials on their site. In addition I was able to subscribe to other educator groups and discussion rooms created based on content area or grade level learning. This is just the beginning of what Edmodo has to offer. Teachers can also set up classroom groups. Each student receives an account. Teachers can post lessons, assignments, create smaller groups around a topic and communicate with their students using this interface. Students have the ability to message the teacher, and the teacher can decide whether or not to allow students to message each other. Students do not need their own email address in order to sign up, the teacher can create independent accounts for his/her. A new feature recently added to Edmodo is the Snapshot for teachers and schools to use. This feature allows teachers to create pre/post/interim assessments aligned to a common core standard and generate a “quiz” testing students on their knowledge of the standard. Data is generated into reports, and then sent to the teacher who has the ability to send out supplemental lessons to support reteaching of the standards to those students who need more support.

LearnZillion is a free resource offering teacher’s lessons, PD and other classroom materials aligned to the common core standards. This site developed out of the idea for educational professionals to share Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK), with each other throughout the country. LearnZillion is directly linked to Edmodo and educators can access their lessons and materials through the Edmodo account.

Sick and tired of bookmarking hundreds of pages, only to discover you cannot find what you are looking for? Are there websites that you would like your students to have access to, regardless of what computer they logged into? Symbaloo is the answer you are looking for. It allows you to create an account where you can store all of your favorite sites as tiles (if you love visual cues this is the one for you!) you can access from any computer. Just sign into this account and a screen will come up with your saved sites. You can create an access login for your class and link trusted websites for students to access at home as well as in school.

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