Each month, I invite a different educator to share a few classroom management tips that have worked in his or her classroom. It’s part of a blog post series called Real Teachers, Real Tips. I’m hoping to feature a wide cross-section of teachers from all different parts of the world, at a wide range of grade levels, in a variety of teaching scenarios. Want to share your ideas here? Just fill out the guest blog form!
December’s featured teacher is Kimberly Lane, a Business Education Teacher at Velma Jackson High School in Mississippi. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Educational Technology, a Masters of Art in Teaching (Secondary Education), a Specialist’s degree in Secondary Education specializing in History, and just recently completed her certification to become STEM certified for Secondary Education. She’s been teaching for six years, and her current courses include Desktop Publishing, Multimedia Design, Personal Finance, Graphics Design, and Yearbook. On top of all that, Kimberly is the Technology/Website Facilitator and a technology coordinator at her school, and has had the honor of presenting at numerous technology conferences helping teachers integrate technology in their classrooms. I’m so glad she took the time to share her ideas with us here–thank you, Kimberly!
Since the coining of the phrase web 2.0, the Internet has transformed the way we have communicated with each other on this planet. With this new way of web communication, we are able to connect with people faster and more efficiently without distance or language being a barrier. I remember being in school and thinking that video chatting on a mobile device was extremely far-fetched. I grew up with pagers being the main mobile communication. Yes, there were cellular phones, but the technology was new and the phone and plans were very expensive. The current generation has grown up with technology already in their hands. So many teachers wonder, how can we make technology meaningful in the classroom to this generation?
Many of our school districts allocate funds towards technology but they do not give us a “user guide” on how to implement these devices in the classroom. One may wonder what are Web 2.0 tools and how can I use them in my classroom along with the many other technology devices I have.
There are lots of web 2.0 tools are free for teachers to integrate in their lesson plans. Many of the tools do not require a lot of work to set up. Teachers always ask me how we can manage our web 2.0 tools in the classroom. Well, here are several suggestions that I have found out to work well in my classroom on how to keep web 2.0 tools engaging. I picked my favorite two web 2.0 tools that I have found to work well in my classroom.
Things to consider when integrating technology
Before you begin to integrate any kind of technology into your classroom, you should always introduce internet safety to your students. You can show these internet safety tips to your students before you begin with activities with on the internet. Please check out Connectsafely.org.
You should also check to see if your school district’s has an acceptable use policy in their handbook and follow their guidelines. If your school district does not have an acceptable use policy in place you can retrieve an example of an internet policy from auditnet.org. You should always have an internet usage policy in place and on file. Students and their parents should always sign an internet policy agreement before proceeding to integrate technology in your lesson.
About 90% of our students have cell phones at school with them and have wifi capabilities so we as teachers can use this to our advantage. If your school district does not have an abundance of laptops and ipads available, you can use cell phones to achieve your objectives.
Managing student blogging
One of the web 2.0 tools that are very easy to set up is Blogging. You can create a blog for your classroom discussion and provide meaningful feedback to your students. Classroom discussions can be an exit question that pertains to the objective that was taught during the classroom time. Your students can reply to each other. One of my favorite blog sites is Kid Blog. It is safe and it allows you to create settings where you will have maximum power over it. You can post and access your blog anywhere! And the thing is it FREE!!
You can take a look at my blog for an example. Kid Blog allows you to approve and disapprove your students comments, also. Students can access the blog on their smart phone device as well. Make sure you set private settings on blogs and approve all comments before they can be seen by the public.
Managing Google Docs
Google Docs is another neat web 2.0 tool that is easy to set up. Google Docs can be used for several different reasons such as: surveys, completing classroom assignments, and group collaboration projects. Teachers, you can use this tool to edit your students’ work and email it back to them. The good thing about this tool is that your data is stored on the “cloud” and you don’t have to worry about losing your work.
In Google Docs, you can set up different classrooms and you can assign each student with his or her own username/password. Take a look at this video on how to create your Google docs account and how to use certain features in Google docs. You can also show your students this video to your students so that they can get an understanding of what Google Docs is.
Teachers, these tools are an exciting way to integrate technology in your classroom and flip your classroom into something new. Technology can be used as an assistant to you and help your students blend a new way of learning.
You can find more tips from Kimberly on her blog, Ask a Techno Girl. I love her mission there: empowering teachers to be techno educators themselves! She defines a “Techno Educator” as someone who is excited about technology, who does not fear technology, likes to solve software problems, likes to teach with technology, and is a 21st century learner. What an awesome goal for all of us. Thanks again, Kimberly.