Tech Tuesday

Finds and Thoughts about Tech Integration

Can Your Screen Help Manage Your Classroom?

February5

As I walk around different classrooms, I see popular tools or widgets being projected on screens…

  • Timers
  • Noise level meters
  • Text boxes with Work Expectations/Directions
  • Photos/Screenshots of Examples

What if all of these options were from one source, and were easy to set up and break down throughout the day without toggling between different websites and apps?

Maybe, the free ClassroomScreen website is a teacher’s new best friend in managing a classroom…

Check out the short video below:

One thing that also may be of interest, but is not highlighted in the video, is the site’s ExitPoll.

ClassroomScreen – is it something you would use? Leave your comments below.

A Math Station Activity with More than One Answer

January29

“How’s this? Did I get it right?”

Students ask their teachers these two questions quite a bit in the classroom.

If a problem truly is being solved, there very may well be multiple methods, viewpoints and solutions to be considered. There doesn’t have to be only one right answer, and for many students that concept is a difficult thing to understand and even accept.

We all want to be right and assured that we are correct. However, that can be nerve wracking and anxiety ridden, causing people to not take risks, nor that overused expression, “think outside the box.”

Being able to explain and justify one’s thinking can be more important than the one solution that a student believes a teacher seeks. Not to mention, innovation and creativity springing forth, and the influence on other’s approaches and thoughts about a problem.

Where am I going with this?

A few weeks ago, I watched Kara Brem‘s webinar, “Grow Your Math Mindset with Seesaw“, that had a very flexible math activity (15:30 in the webinar link) that I could foresee as an ongoing station: Which One Doesn’t Belong? (Slide 8.)

Essentially, students are given a math puzzle with four numbers or objects in a four-square with the task of explaining which one doesn’t belong. This thinking is captured as writing/labels and/or a recording in Seesaw (or Explain Everything could be used as well) and submitted to the teacher.

These puzzles really encourage and foster 3 out of the 4C’s: Communication, Creativity and Critical Thinking. Have students watch and comment on each other’s submissions, and then collaborate on yet another solution – well, there’s an opportunity for the missing C: Collaboration.

Check out her Seesaw activities, specifically the Which One Doesn’t Belong ones, that you can edit and use with your own students.

Brem’s activity was inspired by this website where you can get even more ideas for the puzzles.

These puzzles could serve as formative assessments for current topics as well as a great way to review concepts while applying to new learning. Possibly, a different puzzle could be offered each month as students rotate stations.

The possibilities could be endless, and that’s exactly what we want to teach our students.

A Parking Lot

January15

The scene: Students have been issued a device off a cart, but they are very busy prepping physical props for their work that they are about to digitize. Materials are everywhere. Floor space is at a premium with students hustling and bustling to gather and refine their plans.

Sometimes you are in spaces where there are no tables, desks or high places to put a device if you need your hands for something else. Placing the iPad on the floor even for a second could be dangerous with the the amount of activity and movement going on in the room.

Hmmm… so where do the iPads go?

The solution: In a make-shift parking lot.

Create a boundary (in our case today, an extension cord not plugged in against a wall in the music room), and have students place devices into the space whenever they feel that they need assistance with their responsibility of keeping their issued device safe.

It’s amazing how many students take advantage of using a parking lot on and off during a work session. Plus, sometimes getting the device out of the way helps with focus on the prepping and planning that needs to happen. It’s great for the students to be regulating that on their own as well.

Maybe, you can try out a parking lot the next time you are in a non-traditional space? It’s those little things… I think I’ve written in a post or two… that may make a difference.

Managing Responsibilities

December4

Taking ownership of shared devices can be tricky. Often, teachers want to keep things flexible and do not assign specific devices from a cart or charging station. That way students can take what is available when the learning objective calls for a digital service. Being in Google or using an online site makes this practice very easy as students can access their accounts and work from any device.

However, there is something to be said for being assigned a device. You clearly are responsible for that device. The school community knows who the exact users are, and when issues arise, it is easier to address them.

Last week, I saw an interesting practice in a grade 3 classroom that kept things flexible, instilled ownership and reminded students about their responsible use promises that they made at the beginning of the school year.

Mrs. Mulholland had her students take their technology licenses (that every student in the school has the opportunity to earn during a responsible use agreement review with an assessment) and used them as placeholders.

In other words, when a student went to use a device, s/he would go to the folder containing the licenses (which is kept on the classroom charging station) and physically put that license into the now empty slot of the classroom station or in a hallway cart.

Here is a photo that I snapped of a cart in the hallway:

I think this action is helpful in several ways:

  • Devices are returned to the correct places. There is no figuring out the slot labels during clean up.
  • Identifying who has a particular device is easy. Students, themselves, can check who has a taken a device.
  • Students constantly are reminded about their agreement to use the digital equipment and Internet responsibly. The symbolism of the license is concrete and applied.

I’m wondering what others think of this management system?

Seesaw Sign In – Follow Up

November20

I documented my findings with logging into Seesaw via Google a couple of weeks ago… here is my update from that post:

After contacting Seesaw, it appears that many of our student accounts had no passwords. Therefore, the students were unable to use the Email option. Normally, a user could have fixed the issue themselves by clicking on the “forgot password” link; however, our student emails are not active and would not receive the necessary reset link. Therefore, we had to use the CSV roster import feature to do a mass updating of the passwords. And it worked!

Now, we are able to use the Email option which does a “clean” sign out of Seesaw… In other words, no more extra steps of having to log out of Google as well on our shared devices.

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