Integrating technology in the classroom Wish List

We’re constantly trying to think  of meaningful ways to integrate technology into our classroom. We’re doing some of these things in one form or another (i.e. class blogs and student wikis), but we’re always trying to improve our practice. Here’s our wish list for things to experiment with over the next few years. 

Are you doing any of the following things in your classroom? What were your experiences? Would you do it again?

  1. Students use blogs to work through the writing process. They write their drafts online within a protected enviornment, peers leave comments to help them revise and edit, and when they are ready, they take the natural step of publishing content online to the real world. By publishing online, we can network with classrooms around the world. 
  2. I’d like to webcast and telecommunicate with a class on a different continent. Imagine the thrill of getting feedback on your story from a student half-way around the world or seeing a class from a different continent. We’re also exploring moderated marking in our literacy PLC at school. A group of teachers get together, create a common assessment tool, implement it in the classroom, and then we mark it together. Blogging provides a platform for teachers in different classrooms in different schools that are working on the same unit at the same time to allow their students to interact with each other through peer feedback in the form of  comments. 
  3. Students apply comprehension strategies when reading texts online. Resources are always a limiting factor in the classroom. On-demand access to the internet in the classroom would open up a library of expository articles (i.e. wikipedia), graphic novels, sports facts, as well as other high-interest material.  The internet offers a great hook and resource to help us close the gender gap. Students on IEP (with funding) can use tools like kurzweil to help them access texts. 
  4. Student collaboration through wikis. Students create KWL charts on math, science, history/geography concepts on wikipages and as their understanding evolves, so does their wiki page. Group work allows for a truly digital collaboration environment. The history feature allows a level of accountability because we can track who is contributing ideas.
  5. Better communication with parents at home. Parents can have a guest account so they can log in and see what their students have been doing / learning. Both students and parents can see other examples of what excellence looks like.
  6. Using laptops in class allows us to hook students with meaningful digital interactivity. Instead of using clickers to have students “vote” an answer, students could use twitter to “tweet” a text message which is displayed live on the class data projector. ELL and ELD students could use google translate to get a quick translation of class materials. (Sure machine-translation isn’t perfect, but they already use their pocket digital translators anyways. Laptops help facilitate what ELL students are doing already.)
  7. A class set of laptops could be shared amongst different classrooms because they are mobile. (Unlike a desktop computer which would have to stay in the “computer lab”.) Although it would be technically challenging to have so many wireless connections in the same room, logistically, it might work better to have a class set of wireless laptops because it creates possibilities for us as a division to work as a professional learning community (PLC), collaborate, and integrate technology into our practice. 
  8. Connecting a flat-screen television in the classroom to a computer so it becomes a message board. You could post homework and announcements on it. (One day, I dream of buying a touch screen so that students can flip through the homework pages.) Student work can be flashed through as a presentation during nutrition breaks. Could we network the same message across all flat-screen tvs in different classrooms?
  9. Using an ELMO document camera to completely eliminate the need for an overhead projector. Being able to take digital images to post homework and lessons online for students on the class homework page.

All great ideas start somewhere. What do you think?

{ 33 comments… add one }

  • classroomtechnology January 10, 2012, 9:14 PM

    Hey Todd, thanks for chiming in. I just checked out the GradeCam website and it looks very cool. Does the software only work with a live image (from a web cam or ELMO), or can it work if you scan the papers into PDF format. (Our photocopier can bulk scan pages which might be faster than manually swiping each page under the camera.)

    How do you get parents to log in and check their child’s mark? (Statement #5) – We haven’t been able to find a good solution. A few of us have classroom twitter accounts. Some informal polling leads me to believe that not a lot of the parents in our community have twitter accounts, but the teachers who do use twitter use it mainly to update their classroom websites on the go. (i.e. their twitter feed gets posted on the class website which parents can visit.)

    In terms of #4 (online collaborations), we’ve moved away from wikis and towards Google Docs. (Google Apps for Education) – the fact that you can have multiple students working in the same document at the same time and watching each other type is very cool. Sometimes I have students do assignments in Google Docs and I can watch them from my computer to make sure they are on task and heading in the right direction (just in time support).

    Cheers, Kisu

    Reply
  • DeEtte September 7, 2012, 9:11 PM

    I like to use edublogs.org in my classroom. I find that students are excited about responding to blogging. I am able to easily put up questions and even created a grading rubric that is posted on my blog page. Students comment about my question, which are sent to my email. From there I can approve it to go live on the web or deny it. I find that students really enjoy blogging and getting their ideas live on the web.
    DeEtte

    Reply
    • Melissa October 14, 2012, 3:55 PM

      DeEtte – You determine which content actually gets published on your blog page to ensure appropriate comments? This would help ensure comments are appropriate on the website and definitely a good use of shared learning.

      Reply
      • classroomtechnology November 2, 2012, 11:18 PM

        Hi DeEtte, Melissa,

        I like how Edublogs.org and WordPress.com both give you the option to moderate comments so you can control what shows up on the class website (and what other students can see.) It’s the best way to make sure conversations don’t get out of hand and are appropriate for school.

        On the other hand, I also find that moderating hundreds of student comments means you also slow down the speed of thought and online conversation because the teacher becomes the bottleneck in approving content. There are other options to make sure content stays appropriate, but nothing is as good as approving every single comment. I love how a class website can become a shared learning environment.

        Reply
  • FG September 25, 2012, 5:52 PM

    There are so many technology programs and application that teachers can integrate into their course curriculum to help students to comprehend information and develop skills. I agree that technology allows for a collaborative learning environment. Many times students have to carry this technology home with them and apply it towards assignments. How are parents involved in learning how to use this technology in order to help their students in the home environment?

    Reply
    • classroomtechnology September 27, 2012, 11:13 PM

      I think technology can certainly help with parent-teacher communication, but it all depends on the comfort level of the parent. For some parents, email is a great way to communicate and let them know how their child is doing. Other parents don’t have an email address at all. One of the powerful things about a school Google Docs setup (i.e. Google Apps for Education) is that it allows you to share folders of student work with students and parents… as long as parents are net-savvy enough to be able to create a Google account. Technology is certainly a convoluted issue. We want our children to have digital skills, and yet, we also need to ensure that we maintain healthy screen time limits. And, of course, there’s also the widening technology gap between haves and have-nots. Ultimately, I find some parents are very willing to embrace the technology, and others are not… as with all things. What have been your experiences?

      Reply

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