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I use my Smartboard and document camera on a daily basis. I'm an art teacher and my room is long and narrow. When presenting a demonstration to the class, I do so under my document camera so students can easily see what I'm doing. I also record my actions and put together files for students who may be absent to review at a later date. I find that the SmartBoard is so much more than just a whiteboard. I use it in conjunction with Prezi and PowerPoint to make interactive presentations.
I find that I personally use these new technologies in creating lesson plans, but don't allow my students to use these tools to create responses. It may be because I am a specials teacher and have limited time with each class (45 minutes a week) that using these new technologies to create a project would take a very long time.
In watching the video I identified with the concept of being somewhere in the middle of the two polar extremes of teaching with an old school approach and teaching with all the luxuries technology can afford. I see benefit to combining the two methods to create lessons that are rich in content as well as technology to enhance and deliver the content. As I watched the video I began to process how I could use some of the featured tools in the classroom to expand on my current methods. I am learning a great deal about Google apps already so I definitely want to try some of the ones that apply to my lessons and discussions. More specifically, I'm interested in using more tools that enhance and support student assessments. I would like to use Google forms and clickers this next year. These tools will help me to gain assessment information quickly. I can view the results as a graph or display which is a fast and efficient manner and I can quickly identify which students need more help. It will also allow me to navigate through my curriculum and lesson planning more effectively as I can see what they already know about a topic or what misconceptions they have as well.
A tip that I would suggest is to collaborate with others in your PLN and practice the tool before launching. You can meet with other teachers either F2F or through use of a collaborative web tool such as Wikispaces or Blogger for discussion blogs. You can learn a lot from one another and share your own technological successes or mistakes. I would also encourage you to make sure that you test out the tools before implementing them. Sounds very base but it's important for us to not grow frustrated when things go wrong technologically during a lesson. We need to realize that things can and will go wrong whether it's from user error or technology failure.
One tool that is a great alternative to the clicker systems is http://www.polleverywhere.com/. It is more ideal for junior high and high school student when the kids have texting on their cell phones. I like the idea of this because most kids have cell phones in the upper grades and they would love to use them. It's also free.
Anther tool that I used last year with my older elementary students 4th & 5th grade was Edmodo.com. This is a great tool that looks and feels like Facebook. However, it's easy to set up without requiring passwords and emails from young kids. The teacher creates a class site and gives the password to her students. You can have discussions, poll the students and download files and videos. Students can also upload assignments to the site and you can grade the work on the site. I also think this is a great site to introduce students to "social learning" and using social media the appropriate way to learn instead of for social destruction. Introduce netiquette skills as the first lesson though!
Wow I am impressed! I have never heard of either of the technology tools you mentioned but they both sound really interesting. How long have you been using these tools and how have the kids responded to them? Have you had any resistance from staff or parents?
What hit me from this session was how just because you add technology to a lesson doesn't guarantee it will be a success. However, from a special ed teachers perspective I see the value in adding visuals, breaking up lessons, and offering alternatives to traditional pencil and paper assignments.
If I do return to the classroom I would really like to utilize blogs, webpages, and Google Docs. In the past I stuck to PowerPoints, Interactive Whiteboards, Document cameras, and Youtube.