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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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?
- 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?