These are a FEW of my FAVORITE "Techie" Things 2017

The beginning of a brand new school year is upon us.  You know how it goes!  You are filled with anticipation of meeting your new class, no doubt, they are going to be the smartest kids to ever walk through the classroom door.  You need to be on your game!

Of course, your administrative team would really like to see you implement more technology.  That's what your students love about learning, right? 

No, no, no.  Technology has nothing to do with the love a student has for learning.  For the most part, when a student comprehends and retains new information, they actually do really love learning!  Technology is simply a delivery tool.  Teachers need to be really careful to choose relevant technology tools that make delivery easier and don't in fact impede the learning process.  There's nothing worse than having a great lesson planned for the day, only to have your tech tool fail and waste your time and the time of your students.  

Also, classroom technology needs to be relevantly easy to learn to use.   You shouldn't need to spend 2 days teaching your students how to use a new tech tool!  Man, if it takes 2 days to teach a kid to use a tool, it better be fantastic and simply "knock it outta the park!"  

Below I am going to share a few of my NEW favorite Techie Tools.  One more piece of advice before I go there.  Pick two things to implement with students the first half of the school year.  After the holidays, pick one more newbie if you'd like.  No more than that!  And for yourself? You guessed it, 2 new teacher tools.  That's it!  If you go crazy and try to use something new every week or even month, you and your kids will begin to suffer that new "adult onset ADD!"   Who wants that? :)

Okay, here we go!

For use with students for easy formative assessment and just plain, good and fun learning: 

Flipgrid

is easy to get started. Educators create Grids of short, discussion-style Topics to share with their users. Grids are collections of topics around a common theme. Each Grid can hold an unlimited number of Topics, and each Topic can hold an unlimited number of user-recorded video responses. Topics are short text or video prompts that can include basic formatting (e.g., bold, italic) and links to websites or documents for critique and feedback opportunities. Response videos are limited to a maximum of 90 seconds to promote clarity, organization, and engagement. Individual response videos can be liked and shared (e.g., Twitter, Facebook) or embedded on blogs, learner management systems, or websites. For educators, Flipgrid enhances community and social presence in face-to-face, hybrid, and online classrooms. In other words, Flipgrid brings the back row to the front and gives all students a voice. Flipgrid is also a wonderful research tool for collecting qualitative data from individuals or focus groups. 

Wizer

is a free, easy to use website that lets all teachers make and use beautiful, engaging online worksheets. Include video, audio or images. Build questions from a wide variety of types (Open Answers, Multiple Choice, Matching, Fill in the Blank, Fill on an Image, Tables & more!). Worksheets are assigned in just a few clicks. Student answers are automatically graded (not including open questions), saving teachers hours of precious grading time!. Teachers can make their own worksheets form scratch or browse the gallery for inspiration from other teachers. See a gallery worksheet you like? Just click ‘Use’ to duplicate it and put a copy in your account for use with your students

EdPuzzle

Tools that will save you time, headaches and PAPER!

Permission Click

This was my favorite find last school year.  It is so awesome that it is a must for the list this year.  This is a tool that you can share with your admin and they may think you're a genius!

Online permissions and informed consent Bypass the backpack! Create digital permission slips, registration forms, order forms, and more in seconds. Send a link home for parents to click and complete on any connected device or computer — with no apps to download. Permission Click can even collect fees and payments online from parents to save time, hassle, and risk associated with cash and cheques. 

Planboard by Chalk

Planboard makes it easy to create lessons in the intuitive online editor. Add in attachments, photos, and videos to bring your lessons to life. Then build lesson templates to cut prep time even further, and jump right into the classroom.

Find or add your local curriculum sets, then add individual standards to lessons. The Standards Progression tool shows curriculum progress for each class, and which standards have been covered. Planboard keeps your classroom on track. Reuse your schedule or lessons. Loved your lessons from last year? Easily migrate a previous semester to your new year and they are ready for your new classes. It’s like Planboard is your personal classroom assistant. 

Padlet

And last but not least - an OLD favorite is making a return!  Remember Wallwisher turned Padlet? Well... Padlet has always been a go to for me in planning lessons and storing resources for students.  

However, they now have ready to use templates for those KWL charts for one plus many others.  So many great uses for this free tool.  Students and teachers can create pads, post them and share them.  Speaking of sharing, you can embed the pads in your own website or generate a qr code and put them on a google calendar for the corresponding day.   So many great uses for this fantastic FREE tool!

Collaborate. Collaborate. Collaborate!!

Did your favorite tech tool not make my list?  Share it with me.  I'm always looking for a new favorite.  I sincerely hope that the 2017-18 school year is one of the best ones yet!  

By Renda Songer 7/25/2017

Renda Songer is a Career and Technical Education Consultant with F.A.C.T. Education. 


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