Five Great Ways to Integrate a Little Tech

At the beginning of the school year it is best to review and find some good ways to integrate. So, I poured myself an Oranjeboom and started to look over my resources to find five easy ways to integrate technology into just about any classroom. So here they are, if you have an Oranjeboom I suggest pouring one into a glass and reading on. I think you’ll find them helpful (both the BOOM and the five integration tips). If you have one of your own please leave it in the comments. We at IT Babble love comments.

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Edmodo
I like to view technology as a tool in schools. You know like a textbook, pencil, but far more dynamic and powerful. A lot of people try to use technology to replace an existing element in their classroom. Man, this is totally wrong! There is room enough for everything. Technology should not replace anything unless it is simply better in nearly every aspect. We can discuss this later. Anyway, Edmodo is a great way for you to extend your class beyond the four walls of your classroom and let you reach out to students at home while providing great resources for you and your class. You can post assignments, discussion topics, and even poll questions. Your students can ask you or the class questions and share information. It really is pretty fantastic. I’ve been reading about this great tool and I have heard third grade classrooms have tried it! That is impressive. It’s easy and if you want my review on Edmodo, click here and enjoy the read. I also have some YouTube videos that I’ve embedded below.

VoiceThread
A review for the long time standard is VoiceThread. While I do have some issues with the service, it is still a great way to bring the class together on a common topic and let the collaboration fly. Voicethread is basically a slideshow program (though you can upload video) that lets you the viewer comment and add your own little mark ups to the presentation. You comment on individual slides by leaving a text message or an audio or video recording. It even syncs up your response with the presentation. It is a nice way to transfer thoughts and ideas from one class to another and instead of students just presenting their work, they know have a platform where people can now comment and thus adding and expanding what the presentation actually says. Cool huh?

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Have your kids build their own website
You’re probably saying “Whoa! I don’t know any of that there HTML stuff.” The fantastic development of Web 2.0 technologies makes it easier than ever. I’ll list a few free and easy ways for your students to build websites. Also these website creators are typically drag and drop friendly. It may take a little getting used to, but the simple layouts and easy to use interface will make learning the basics quite easy. Why do this might you ask? It is a great way to have students post up and reflect on work they are proud of or work that they may want to improve on, or just some thoughts about school. I think everyone out there can agree, that instruction and assessment without some sort of reflection or examination is a little short sided. The website is a way for your students to express themselves, examine what they have learned a little more closely, and share those thoughts with their other classmates. Of course, there are security issues to be concerned with. Check with your admin and let the parents know that their children will be doing this. Looking into educational bundles where there is one account that can create many websites will also help to provide a little protection for your students.

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Note: This list is in no particular order and last time I checked you could create a website for free. Have fun!

How about creating a Comic on a current topic? Try make belifes comix
There are a lot of free websites out there that will let you make your own comic and rather than list a ton, here is a good one: www.makebeliefscomix.com This one is good because you don’t need a login to access, you have lots of choices when you’re done such as print, e-mail, etc. The editing of the comic itself is very simple, straightforward. It does not give tons of options though, but sometimes that is a good thing. If you don’t have a lot of computers in your room, or access to computers often, this could be an easy and yet productive means for kids to create comics on just about any topic you can think of. Play around with it yourself and have some fun.

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Google Docs and all that Google stuff
If you are not familiar with Google Docs, it is high time for you to check it out. You can post papers on Google Docs, share it with other people, but it only begins there. You have the ability to create spreadsheets and even slide shows. Not only can you share this great info, but your students will be able share their papers with you as well. It is a great way to have students virtually “turn in” their papers and save a little paper. Also, if for nothing else, the students need to have a free gmail account which will let you chat with them. I know this sounds like the last thing that a lot of teachers want to do, but with some strict guidelines of how to use the chat feature it can be a very useful and powerful tool of collaboration. Also this is a good time to discuss Internet safety and responsibility. Just a side note, it may take some time to get everyone signed up with Google, so take that into consideration before planning an activity utilizing this feature rich web app.

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About Patrick Cauley

I teach middle school technology and love to play around with tech and teach students and colleagues alike. You can read my blog at www.itbabble.com
This entry was posted in Edmodo, Helpful Tips, Opinion, Tech Integration, tutorial. Bookmark the permalink.

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