I love technology! Inside the classroom, technology provides us with new tools that can be used to increase student engagement and deepen conceptual understanding. Outside of the classroom, technology grants us new ways of communicating with students and their families.
Examples of how I use technology in the classroom:
- Graphing calculators such as the TI-Nspire or TI-84 provide opportunities for students explore mathematical ideas in ways that build strong conceptual foundations. Feel free to check out some of sample lessons and activities that I've written for the TI-Nspire.
- Mathematics websites and software such as Desmos or GeoGebra are often used because they provide an interesting entry-point for mathematics investigations. However, when their use is judiciously structured by the teacher, these programs become tools that help students dig deeper into the concepts than they could with just pencil and paper. I'm particularly fond of how Desmos' teacher dashboard provides ways to probe student understanding and better facilitate mathematical discussions.
- Discussion boards allow students to exchange ideas in an online format. Often students who are reluctant to speak up in class will participate online - sometimes at great length. Additionally, students are pressed to go deeper and provide more support for their ideas when they can take the time to write out their comments.
- Webquests can be an effective way to guide students through a series of curated online resources to investigate a topic such as the cultural background of a novel or how historical sources compare to a play. In a mathematics classroom, students can use webquests uncover the history behind mathematical advances or explore contemporary problems and issues that can be modeled with mathematics.
- In the past few years, many technologies have emerged to that are designed to increase student engagement (such as Kahoot, Plickers, or Popplet). Their absence from this list does not necessarily mean that I would not use them -- just that I haven't yet had a chance to try them!
Examples of how I use technology to increase communication:
- I designed and maintained my own website to provide students (and their families) easy access to the class handouts and work schedules for my English classes, as well as links to online resources. I've also used Moodle in similar ways for my math classes and Blackboard for my online composition classes.
- I created orientation videos using Camtasia and posted them to YouTube to help my non-traditional (older) students at Miller College learn how to use Blackboard.
More recently, I guided the Parent-Teacher-Student Organization at Milwood Elementary (MPTSO) into the digital age.
- I introduced the use of Remind to allow safe and secure communication with families by text message.
- I moderated for our first Facebook page and created safety guidelines about what could (and could not) be posted on it.
- I shifted our email list from being hosted by a single personal email account to using bulk email service (MailChimp) that would allow families to subscribe/unsubscribe easily and give us valuable statistics on how many emails were actually being opened and which links were being clicked.
- I taught our executive board how to use Sign-up Genius to recruit and coordinate volunteers for events such as Book Fair, Santa Shop, etc.
- I set up a shared Google Drive environment for the MPTSO files so that all board members could access them from home.