i’ll start by saying that i am my school’s instructional technology facilitator. that being said, i only know a small portion of what i should about education and technology. i just try things. i’m always up for that. i use what i like and disgard what doesn’t work.
why it’s important
the world is VERY different than it was twenty, ten, even five years ago. technology is changing so quickly and the kids adapt to it so easily. we need to be able to adapt too. i’ll be honest and admit that the speed of change and some of the new technologies are intimidating. but you just have to be open to it. try it. just try it to see if it will work for you. and admit when you need to just drop something and move on to something different because some technologies are more easily adapted for certain subjects. for example, the math teachers at my school love using the promethean board software. i don’t. i like prezi, and they hate it. you just have to find what works for you. talk to other teachers and get ideas. talk to your principal or technology coordinator about obtaining and trying out new technologies.
my top five favorite tools (that i actually use every day!)
prezi – i’ve been using this online program since 2010. i love it. at first, i thought it was just a glorified powerpoint. but now i know how to use it effectively. there are a bunch of youtube videos under the “Learn” tab that will teach you how to use all of the parts of prezi. there are a bunch of new templates. here’s the link to my prezi page. i have about 40 of them. you can also search a topic under the “Explore” and look at what other teachers are doing. i used prezi with my social studies team. i would make a prezi for a specific unit, and the other teachers could use them too. in fact, we used them all at the same time. it’s cloud based too so you can work on it anywhere. (make sure your school’s internet connection can handle it!)
smart board/promethean board – my school has promethean boards. i personally love them, but i don’t know how to use all of the software because my school never actually paid for training. and they don’t offer it at my region service center anymore. hmm…that makes sense. but, i’m still learning just by messing around with it. i like writing on it and saving the notes for absent students. also, when you show film clips or youtube videos, the sound comes through the board’s speakers.
Surface tablet – i just recently got one of these. i like it because it connects to our school network so i can get my emails and access my files. my favorite thing with the tablet is something very simple. in word (or any workspace actually), you can use the stylus to write on the document. i will use it to fill in a notes page, save a copy of it and print it for special ed students or absent students. i will also use it to create models of assignments to print off.
iPad – love this thing! i couldn’t live without it now. for one thing, i need music in my classroom (in the background) at all times. my kids need it, and i definitely need it. i can put my entire music collection on it. there are a few apps that i use all the time. (i’ll do a post just on the iPad sometime soon.)
dropbox – this cloud based program is downloadable. i have all of my school files backed up in dropbox. i like it because i can forget about using a flash drive. i would always forget it at school or home anyway. you can pull up a document or picture anywhere. i have it on my school computer, iPad, Surface tablet, home computer and phone. i can literally access my stuff at any time. i enjoy that flexibility. my social studies team and i set up a group folder that we can throw stuff into so that we all have access to it. the only thing i would warn you about is that dropbox owns your documents when you upload them. my IT team specifically told us to be sure and not put anything in dropbox that includes private student or teacher information.
BONUS: i can’t live without a document camera! and for some reason the kids are fascinated by it even though it is really just a glorified overhead projector. 🙂