“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller
Having students collaborate using different digital tools helps build students communication, critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Here are five ways to promote collaboration in both a physical and/or virtual classroom space.
Video Ask: It was created for business but teachers can turn anything into a learning opportunity with VideoAsk. Teachers and/or students can pose questions and you can reply back different ways such as with video, audio, or text. It works asynchronous so students can reply back with they have had enough time to process and/or when it is convenient for them.
Wakelet: This application allows teachers and students save, organize and share content from across the web. It can be used multiple ways in the classroom such as co-creating a digital newspaper or newsletter. You can provide your students with a topic and theme such as Ecosystems and students can find current events around that topic and have discussions.
StoriumEdu: StoriumEdu is very unique as it gamifies creative writing. Students get different digital “story cards” that represent different aspects of storytelling and character development. The cards serve as writing prompts, helping students figure out what to write next at each step of the game.
Gimkit: Similar style to Kahoot, Gimkit is a game show for the classroom that requires knowledge, collaboration, and strategy to win. It makes it great for remote learning because each student can play on their own devices
Dotstorming: Have students brainstorm together and vote on their favorite ideas. Last week I collaborated with a teacher to help create their virtual classroom rules/norms together with the students using Dotstorming. The students add cards of what they wanted the rules to be for their virtual classroom and then they voted on the top four rules co-creating their rules together.
I would love to hear your favorite digital tools to promote collaboration in the classroom. Share in the comments!
“I dream of a digital India where quality education reaches the most inaccessible corners driven by digital learning.”By Shri Narendra Modi
Over the last week I have been capturing lessons and activities that educators are posting to help other educators. #bettertogether
“A good teacher is like a candle – it consumes itself to light the way for others.’”by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
With COVID-19 causing uncertainty in schools, I started curating resources that I have been seeing that support you and your students. With all the free digital resources, don’t forget about non-technology learning such as books, puzzles, cooking (following a recipe), playing outside, and conversations!
It is also important to recognize that this is an emotional time for everyone and we need to make sure we are thinking about the social and emotional needs for all.
Please share any resources you know of in the comments for all to see!
“Changes call for innovation, and innovation leads to progress.” By Li Keqiang
I had a goal that I wanted teachers to see technology tools as not as a another thing but how it could enhance lessons. Previously, I would tell educators that technology was a tool but I realized that wasn’t working. I decide to change my thinking and SHOW them HOW technology could be a tool. This is where my idea for creating a digital learning playground came from. I wanted to share my experience so that other schools or districts could build one too.
- Find a space where you could house the technology in a “showroom” type of atmosphere.
- We chose to create ours in our Professional Development Center in a classroom.
- Create a list of technology tools that you think teachers would like to utilize in the classroom.
- We started our list with items we knew some schools already had but did not know what to do with; they had purchased them because they “looked” fun such as Spheros.
- Start to contact technology companies to see if they would donate their technology tool to your playground; understanding the return could potentially be that teachers/schools would purchase the technology for their classroom.
- Not many technology companies donated but it was a good place to start
- As donations came in and while you make purchases, learn how the technology tool works and start to build lesson plans that incorporate standards.
- We played with the tools to learn them and then created lesson plans based on NC standards for all different grade levels and subjects.
- When educators visit the room allow them to play with the resources and see the lesson plans that connect to the curriculum.
- We created a schedule to allow teachers to know the times the room would be open. We also created a professional development around the tools and soon had a smaller digital playground “on the go” (via a bin) so we could recreate the room at different schools when giving PD. We also created guidelines to help educators design their own learning experience when they came to the room.
- Tweet out what we you are doing.
- Tweeting allowed us to “shout out” the companies that donated along with helping other educators see how the technology tools were being used in classrooms.
- Example of products in a Digital Learning Playground, but not limited too:
“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.” By E. L. Doctorow
Digital technologies are a great way to enable communication, collaboration and help teachers design authentic tasks for their students. Here are a few of my favorite apps that you can incorporate digital writing into the classroom.
iOs Apps: (Free)
Day One Journal
Paid: MyScript Nebo
“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” By Albert Einstein
Google aims to make their search site as useful as possible including having what is referred to as instant search cards. Instant search cards are when interactive information is the first result which allows you to “experience” what you searched for. Below are the top ten instant search cards you can utilize in your classroom with your students!
- Roll a die: When you type this in a six sided die will appear for you to interact with by rolling it to see what number appears.
- Timer: When you type this in a timer appears that you can use for multiple reasons in the classroom such as for transitions. Student also love using it to help with time management.
- Weather: When you type in weather your local weather will appear.
- Flip a Coin: When you type flip a coin, like the die, a coin appears so you can “flip” it. It is a great way to see who starts first or for probability lessons.
- Definition of: When you type “definition of” and the word you want, the results will bring up a featured definition snippet in Google. No more going to a dictionary website for what you need!
There always fun Google “easter eggs” (an intentional hidden message, joke, or feature in a work such as a computer program, webpage, video game etc) such as pacman and “do a barrel roll”. My favorite is Google in 1998 as it takes you back to what Google looked like when it first launched in 1998!
“Innovation is creativity with a job to do.” by John Emmerling
One of my favorite conferences is #ncties18. This conference always gets my brain thinking in new ways and reenergizes me. There is a lot of great information in just a few short days so it always takes me a few days to process. The one word I could sum up this conference this year would be #inspired.
- Marley Emerson Dias: She is the amazing young lady that started
#1000BlackGirlBooks campaign and wrote the book Marley Dias Gets It Done: And So Can You! She is the youngest to be named Forbes 30 under 30. Check out her resource library here.
- Kevin Carroll: I can’t say enough things about Kevin Carroll as he truely is a game changer and amazing at his job! I often times feel guilty that I don’t have the best work/life a balance but he made me realize that it is okay not to because I LOVE what I do! He had so many great quotes but these three are my favorites
- “The master in the art of living makes little distinction …..blur the lines of work and play and find the joy every single day.” Kevin Carroll
- “It’s not enough to have an idea. You have to advance it. The difference between a dream and a reality is action.” Kevin Carroll
- “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” Plato
- Students at Stedwick Elementary School: I can’t do this video justice with words….just watch, The Lie.
New Tools and Ideas:
- YellKey – cool shorten link site
- Ziteboard: – white board for web browser
- #booksnaps – great way to add in digital literacy into your lessons
“Technology alone is not enough. It is technology married with the liberal arts married with the humanities that makes our hearts sing. When you keep people at the center of what you do, it can have an enormous impact.” Tim Cook