Today I want to talk about a few of my favorite techy things that I use in my classroom all the time.
I'm super lucky to have 24 iPads in my classroom, but I started out with just one little iPad 5 years ago that was funded by a Donorschoose.org project. I got a 2nd (same way) and then I wanted MORE! I wrote 5 grants and was about to give up when I finally won a grant and got 14 iPad minis for my students. Just recently, I convinced my principal to use some of our technology funds to get me 10 more so I can pilot a 1:1 classroom program in my school. I'm still learning about how to best implement technology in my classroom, and as quickly as things change, I'll always have to keep learning. Over the years, our iPads have become tools for learning and augmenting instruction.
Screenchomp is my favorite screencasting app so far and it's FREE! It's very kid friendly and easy to use too. Screencasting is just a video record of what you write or put on the screen and the audio in one nice little package. Two of my favorite uses are as an assessment tool and a reteaching tool. I love to use it as an assessment because I get to hear AND see what kids are thinking when they solve a problem in math, for example. I give the students different problems to solve, they write theirs down on the screen, hit record and start solving it as they talk through it. You can use this in any curriculum area! Some kids like to share their videos with the class and some are more shy. I have students copy and paste the link to their video to their notes so I can review them in one easy place. This is also an awesome thing to share with parents at conference time.
I also like to use Screenchomp to record mini lessons for my students to replay. This is awesome for your intervention group or for kids that just need reminders on how to do something. My goal is to have tutorials made for all the major skills I teach and have the links (via QR code) up on a bulletin board for students to access at anytime. You can also record directions for centers or for activities you want students to do independently. When you want to share a recording, just copy the link, paste it into a QR code generator and make a QR code that kids can scan easily so they don't have to type the link. Print out that QR code, stick it with your center materials or post around the room and you don't have to worry about kids not knowing what to do. You can also imbed photos to show kids visually exactly what to do. Click the pic to watch and hear one of my mini tutorials (warning: nothing fancy).
Speaking of QR codes, I'm not sure what I'd do without them! In addition to making websites easily accessible for students, you can create QR codes with text. Mainly I use QR codes this way so students can check their answers for task cards. It provides immediate feedback and is highly motivating. I have also made audio QR codes with students' speeches, stories, and songs. See how I made audio QR codes here. BTW, parents love these! QR codes can also be used for classroom scavenger hunts. The possibilities are mind boggling. If you'd like to know more, download my free QR code info guide:
My grade level is departmentalized so I get to teach math all day to my 2nd graders. Two of my favorite apps (by the same developer) are Pieces Basic and Number Line and they are both FREE! They are super kid friendly and really help students solve addition and subtraction problems. Pieces Basic is an app that has base 10 blocks while Number Line has, you guessed it, number lines. Students can manipulate the blocks or the number line to suit the problem they are solving and even write on the screen. What I love is that the set up and clean up is a breeze! No more hauling out (and storing) sets of manipulatives and then cleaning up after your lesson. No more missing pieces or mess. Also, if you tap the information icon, there is a great How to Use section that you should definitely show students the first time they use it. Both apps are set up very similarly so it is easy for kids to use.
Finally, I'm in love with nearpod. I can't even say enough about it, but I talked about it briefly in another post and I'll do it again! It is a way to push out content to your students' devices and control the pace of the lesson. There are interactive activities for students and their responses get sent to your device in real time. You can use this in the computer lab or with tablets. I tried it out for the first time this year and I'm hooked. There is a really awesome tutorial about it on the iTeach Third blog, which is where I first read about it. Just go. You won't regret it!
Check out my Classroom Tech Pinterest Board for more great ideas from educators all over the place. You can also read about some of the lessons I've learned over the years when using technology with your students.