Too many times, we tell ourselves, “Things are going to be different this year”. And that’s where it ends. Things can be different whenever you choose for them to be different. It doesn’t have to be on January 1st or your birthday. Better only comes when you make things better. Simple as that. Marinate in that for a bit and Happy 2018! It will be whatever you make it to be!
Have you ever considered app smashing with Flipgrid. There are many different ways to do this but my go-to tool to do this with is Nearpod. To do this, make sure you have both a Nearpod and Flipgrid account. Once that is done, you’re one step closer. To see step-by-step instructions, check out my how-to video that walks you through the rest of the process. Enjoy!
Let’s face it, it’s human nature to push the boundaries, students in particular. We’ve all had to kick someone out of a Kahoot because of a name that is questionable to use in class. Sometimes we are so worried about starting a Kahoot in time that we overlook the game settings. Well in these settings is a Name Generator. Click that bad boy on and now, students no longer have the ability to create their own display name because Kahoot will do it for them. That’s extra time on task and less time for those students to take forever getting into the game because they’re more worried about their display name more than anything else. Try it out for yourself. Buen Provecho!
If your refrigerator was empty, your next step would probably be to make a list of groceries for your next shopping trip. Which items would make it on your list? Eggs, bread, butter, milk, cold cuts, etc. Most of us usually buy the same 100 or so items when shopping, that’s it. We don’t stray away from our comfort items and necessities. However, when we go out to a restaurant and order an item that has ingredients other than that in your shopping list, it tastes great and we suddenly say,
“We need to make this at home!”
“This is different, but delicious!”
“I could get used to this!”
The same goes for using digital tools in the classroom. Why are we “Kahooting” our students to death? In no way am I saying that Kahoot is not a great formative assessment tool in the classroom. What I’m saying is that it’s not the only one out there. We’ve all heard of “Death By PowerPoint” and I’m comfortable in saying that “Death By Kahoot” is not too far off. Think for a second to your classroom or classrooms that you’ve visited in your educational role. I’m pretty sure that you’ve probably seen some sort of “Death By …”. As educators, we get comfortable with what works for us and that comfortable recliner is one that is difficult to get out of. When we do learn of a new tool or resource, we usually like it and see its value but then get turned off by the fact that we now have to create content with that new tool from scratch. Let’s think of this from a student perspective.
Diego walks into his 1st period at EdTech Bites Middle School and sits through a 28 minute PowerPoint and then takes a quiz through Google Forms after. Once he completes the quiz, he begins gathering his items and waits for the bell to ring. His 2nd period teacher does the same thing, and so does his 3rd period teacher. By the end of the day, his only deviations from this were lunch and gym class. Would you like to have the same coffee and bagel everyday for breakfast? There’s nothing wrong with coffee and a bagel but wouldn’t it be nice to have a blueberry scone or a veggie omelette on occasion? Sure, that scone would take some work to prepare and bake. On the other hand, your family would be grateful that you took the time and effort to change things up.
Variety is the spice of life. Sure there are things that we always like to count on but there are instances where variety has value and can give you a bit more insight. Our digital toolboxes are growing yet some of those tools needs to be dusted off and used more. By doing so, you’re changing things up for your students and exposing them to other means of presenting, taking a quiz, and giving input. Don’t they deserve it? I know my children do. Do yours?
“Who has time to do that?”
Often times, this is the response I get from my audience while delivering some sort of professional development that deals with digital tools, infusing technology, or instructional strategies. It is true, many of these tools and strategies do require some work up front. That can be a daunting task to anyone who is unfamiliar with a new tool or way of doing something. Instead of thinking of it as a time consuming task, think of it as time invested in trying something that might just work better, faster, and more effectively. With this in mind, what can we do as leaders, coaches, mentors, and colleagues?
Instead of teaching and moving on, let’s present options. Make time during these training for attendees to explore the pre-made units, lessons, and examples that many of these tools have curated. Show them how to download these and tweak them to fit their specific classroom needs. In addition to this, we can also show them how these tools offer something that all teachers want more of, differentiation. By downloading and modifying a pre-made lesson, formative assessment, or unit, we have now showed them how simple it is to meet their students’ unique needs whether they be cognitive or linguistic. Why stop there? Having them get together with their teammates also gives them the ability to collaborate and truly begin to build a library of resources and lessons ready for them to use at a moment’s notice. If the 5th grade team gets together and builds one specific lesson or assessment each, they now have multiple lessons that they can build upon or modify. Instead of saying “Who has time to do that?” teachers will begin saying “How come we didn’t do this before?”
We all know that time is of the essence, especially in education. Keeping that in mind, working smart while working hard will ultimately give us more time to do a little bit more for ourselves. For you, it might be going to the gym, going home a bit earlier, or reading that book you’ve heard so much about. Try it. You and your students deserve it.
Ayo! First blog post as @EdTechBites baby! It’s official! Podcast will be coming soon. All things #Edtech and Food.