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Posts from the ‘Technology for Education’ Category

4 Ways to Collaborate in the Virtual Classroom

Since its beginning, online education has been criticized for its struggle to facilitate quality collaboration in the virtual classroom. In an effort to combat its critics, pioneers in the industry have tried almost anything – from required learning teams, to the adoption of discussion thread posts and conference calls, and even overhauled learning management systems.

As history tells us, holding students accountable for participation in a collaborative environment has proven to be a difficult task in the online classroom, but thanks to a few recent social trends it’s becoming easier with each click of the mouse. Whether you’re an instructor searching for ways to help engage your virtual students or a student trying to make a group project assignment work, consider trying one of these options to create a more pleasant online collaboration experience!

Document Sharing

If you’ve worked in an online group setting, you know that one of the most difficult tasks you face is combining every document submitted in to one “master” document. Good news! You can get rid of that headache by choosing one of these easy document sharing methods.

Google Docs

Google Docs simplifies the task of updating a running master document by allowing your entire group to access and make changes to the same document. Just log in to your Google Drive, open the desired document, make your changes and save for the group to see. If your students or classmates are concerned about access, rest assured – it’s free when you sign up for a Google account!

Evernote

If you’re looking for something a little more mobile-friendly, try Evernote. You can share documents, download the mobile app for on-the-go viewing, and even make lists of items still needed for project completion. Just share with your group members to ensure you’re all  on the same page. The basic account is free, but you can choose to pay for an upgrade that unleashes a whole list of sharing possibilities!

Face-to-Face Time

Google+ Hangouts

If you’re looking for a little face time with your document sharing, try hosting a Google+ Hangout!  Invite everyone in your group to a video conference call to discuss your changes to documents in Google Docs, talk through questions you have about topics in class, and work together to make your final product the best it can be. The best part is it’s free! If you’re interested, sign up for a Google account (also free) and you’re good to go!

iMeet

Do you take your studies on the go? iMeet can help you stay connected with your classmates or students wherever you may be. You can connect with up to 15 people at once, share documents, take notes and chat with attendees all from your computer, smartphone or tablet. This one’s not free, but the features are well worth the cost!

Trends in K-12 Education: Gamification of the Classroom

Over the last century, the K-12 classroom has evolved into something almost completely unrecognizable to previous generations. From blackboards to SMART boards, quill pens to laptops and tablets, and most recently paper-and-pencil homework assignments to game-based instruction, the classroom is now a whole new world. Teachers be advised – the days of the traditional lecture in the classroom are gone. In the eyes of the K-12 student, gamification is the new standard of excellence.

Take a look at the examples of gamification success below. You just might find yourself running to Toys “R” Us for the latest gaming craze!

The Classic Board Game

Just because you’re using games in the classroom, doesn’t mean they need to incorporate a new-fangled technology tool. Sometimes the most effective games are the classics – in this case, a board game reminiscent of Risk (without the world domination theme, of course!). Become inspired by this 4th grade classroom’s game “World Peace,” and start brainstorming ideas on how you can reuse everything in your game closet! If you get creative, almost any lesson plan can involve a new twist on a classic board game.

 

Gaming Systems with an Education Focus

These days, almost every child has some form of gaming system and teachers are learning to take advantage of the new generation’s skillset in the classroom. Whether it’s the brand new model of the XBOX 360, or the original Nintendo, the level of engagement these games provide cannot be ignored. Parents can even jump on the bandwagon by providing educational games for their kids to enjoy at home, such as these Edutainment games by Nintendo.

Check out this teacher’s innovative take on the use of the Nintendo DS gaming system in the classroom.

 

Positive Reinforcement in the Classroom

Not every game needs to be subject-focused. Complete with a personal avatar for each student, Dojo points for good behavior, and an easy-to-use reporting system for teachers, Class Dojo provides a virtual arena for rewarding behavioral improvement in the classroom.

Take a look at this Class Dojo trailer, or visit www.classdojo.com for more detailed information on how this can improve behavior in your classroom.

Trends in K-12 Education: Tech Tools to Give Your Lesson Plans a New Look

The most successful teachers have the ability to take information and transform it in to an engaging lesson plan for students of all skill levels. A simple history lesson becomes a trip back in time to the days of George Washington that students not only enjoy, but also remember. Lesson planning is clearly an art form, but the introduction of technology to the classroom has brought its own set of challenges when it comes to utilizing new technology and engaging a generation of students who use it on a daily basis.

With this in mind, we took to the internet to search for useful tools for educators looking to bridge the gap between the tech-savvy teenager and veteran teacher. We found useful sites for lesson plans, creative projects, videos and even note taking.  Use these resources to supplement your lesson plan portfolio, infuse a bit of technology in to your next class, or simply take mental notes. The resources available are almost endless, but here are a few favorites.

Networking for Teachers

If you’re having trouble thinking of a new and creative way to present required material, try using ShareMyLesson to connect with teachers across the country. The site serves as a catalog of lesson plans for nearly every subject and grade level – search to find the one you need, or share your own tried-and-true lessons with others. What’s the best thing about it?  It’s free!

Creative Homework

Looking for new creative outlets for your classroom? Give students the opportunity to catch the acting bug with WeVideo. Students collaborate to bring their assignments to life through the creation and editing of video. Teachers can monitor progress, make notes and assign group work via the video platform. There’s even a way to use those darn cell phones to your advantage – it works via mobile app, too!

Innovative Note Taking

If you’re lucky enough to have computers in the classroom, take advantage of TodaysMeet. Create a room for your lesson, invite your students, and encourage them to interact (appropriately!) while recording their notes for your review later. You’ll uncover questions you didn’t know they had, weaknesses in your lesson plan, and you might even learn a thing or two about your students!

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