Getting Started with Technology in Your Classroom

Written by: Laura Girard & Stacy McKibben

As we begin the school year, you are probably thinking about ways to make the use of technology in the classroom smoothly, easily, and stress-free. You already know the importance of teaching students the rules and routines in the first few weeks of school. Why not incorporate the rules, routines, and procedures associated with technology use into the other classroom routines you are teaching?

Here you will find tips on how to organize yourself and prepare your students to be independent with technology throughout the day. We start our tips on Day 1, but your Day 1 doesn’t have to be the first day of school! However, we do encourage you to start these routines as soon as possible. Making sure your students have a solid understanding of the procedures is essential to transforming your classroom throughout the school year.

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Helpful Tips for Teachers:

  • Place login information for students on a laminated index card and keep it near the computers on a ring for students to easily find and use as needed.
  • Print directions for assignments that students should complete and place them in a designated spot (near the laptops or in another chosen spot) so students can always easily find their assignment without disturbing the class. A frame or page protector on the wall or table is great for this!
  • Establish a plan for storing, charging, and connecting to the Ethernet.
  • Designate an area for laptops, power cords, headphones, etc., and teach your students where they are and how to put things away.
  • Consider designating a student job for organizing and assisting with technology.
  • Establish and post procedures as you see fit for your class. Review procedures often!
  • Model, model, model!!! If you expect your students to do something, especially with technology, you must model it yourself so they can see what it should look like.

H5P

Being able to repeatedly engage content can positively affect student achievement.  There is now a tool that assists with this: H5P.  Teachers across the county have been exploring this free tool, which can be used to create and share various interactive activities, such as remediation and enrichment opportunities.  These activities can then be embedded onto their eCLASS course pages.

Explore the popular features below to see examples of ways teachers are using H5P.*

 H5P elevates teaching to the next level by enabling teachers to create media-rich content that previously would have been inaccessible without coding knowledge.  The program is user-friendly, easily accessible, and worth it to use with your students.  Wendy McDonald, a Local School Technology Coordinator (LSTC) at Jordan Middle School, agrees wholeheartedly: “At first, it is a little cumbersome to use. When you figure it out, you unlock a magical program!”  

 Which H5P features will you begin exploring with your students?    

 * “Examples & Downloads.” H5p.org. N. p., 2017. Web. 1 Aug. 2017.

Flipping My Classroom in Social Studies

This article was written by Erika Livingston, a 5th Grade Teacher from Anderson Livsey Elementary School.

Sometimes as a teacher, I get stuck in a routine.  Looking for reading passages and searching for the next best thing to present to my class can be really overwhelming at times. I think that every teacher goes through this at some point in time during the school year.  If I’m feeling this way, I can only imagine how my students are feeling!

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I decided to do something about it for the third nine weeks.  I decided to flip my classroom and let the students take control of their own learning.

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My Local School Technology Coordinator (LSTC), Lorna Baldwin, had a significant impact on making this transition possible.  I started by letting my students create their own questions about World War I.  They created a Google slide presentation with their questions, and they had to use different resources to research and find answers to their questions.

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The next step was actually engaging in conversations with them and having them make connections to their research.  In addition, I created a checklist in eCLASS where the students participated in collaborative learning by reading and analyzing non-fiction texts, viewing media on Safari Montage,  creating their own documents using Google, and taking assessments via eCLASS.  We have even used webquests to conduct our research as well.  On a daily basis, I found myself as a facilitator of the content and not just an instructor.

My LSTC  was there for me every step of the way.  Sometimes we would co-teach, and sometimes she would help my class in the computer lab.  As a result, the students took ownership and really enjoyed working in collaborative groups.

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In reflecting on my experience so far, I realize that flipping my instruction will be the norm for my classroom going forward.  It was important for me to have the support of my LSTC in order to understand the process and to walk me through step by step.  Once the foundation of classroom procedures and routines have been established, the students will know exactly what to do.  My students are excited to grab a device and start working right away.  I have students in the hallway working, spread out in the classroom, and even helping each other. In a Padlet I created for my students to rate their experiences so far, my students gave me their approval for the strategy–we will continue pushing forward using our flipping techniques.  It has been a great, eye-opening experience for my students and me!

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Nearpod in your Classroom

What is Nearpod?

Laura Girard and Becky Mathews,  GCPS eCLASS Instructional Specialists, wrote this introduction to Nearpod

Nearpod is a cool free tool that can be used for for presenting content, checking for understanding, and increasing student engagement.  Teachers can search for already created lessons or create their own lessons that include content slides, videos, links to websites, quizzes, polls, images, drawing, and so much more. Students can join a Nearpod session on a device to learn, interact, and show understanding. Teachers can control Nearpod for class presentations or assign the Nearpod so that students can move through the presentation and interact at their own pace. After presentations are completed, teachers are able to access detailed reports about student progress.  

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Why should I use Nearpod?

Today’s children are digital learners. They have grown up with more access to devices than ever before. Technology is naturally engaging for them. Why not harness that power and use it to your advantage? Students who participate in Nearpod lessons see and interact with presentations on a device that is right in front of them. No more trying to see the screen from the back of the room or complaining because someone is in the way! With Nearpod, every student can not only easily see what is being taught, but they can also interact with lessons to maintain engagement.

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How does it work?

There are two main ways to present information with Nearpod.

2 main ways

What can my interactive Nearpod lesson include?

what can my nearpod lesson include

How can I use Nearpod with my students?

ways you could use nearpod with your students

What kind of data will Nearpod give me?

In Progress Data

As students respond during teacher directed lessons, teachers can see and share anonymous student responses. This allows teachers to check for understanding as the lesson progresses. Teachers can also use this information to identify when they need to clarify topics further  or stretch students to a deeper level of understanding.

End of Lesson Data

At the end of each Nearpod lesson, teachers can get a report that shows student progress. Here are a some things that you can find in reports.

  • Percent of student participation
  • Percent of correct correct/incorrect/no answer in quizzes
  • Student answers to open ended questions
  • Student answers to quizzes, indicating correct/incorrect answers
  • Pictures of student drawings
  • Link to Collaborate Board so the Nearpod lesson can be shared with other teachers

Nearpod in Action

K Student using Nearpod

Middle schooler using nearpod

Click here to get started with Nearpod.


References

10 Ways to use Nearpod in the Classroom. Nearpod Blog, 4 August 2015, https://blog.nearpod.com/10-ways-to-use-nearpod-in-the-classroom/ Accessed 20 April 2017.

5 Ways Nearpod Transformed My Teaching by Monica Burns. Nearpod Blog, 23 March 2017, https://blog.nearpod.com/5-ways-nearpod-transformed-my-teaching-by-monica-burns/, Accessed 20 April 2017.

Augmented Reality Icon made by Freepik Flaticon, www.flaticon.com Accessed 20 April 2017

Computer Monitor Icon made by Popcorns Arts. Flaticon, www.flaticon.com Accessed 20 April 2017

Field Notes Week 3: Unpacking Ideas: 8 Ways to Use Nearpod Collaborate! TODAY!. Nearpod Blog, 2 March 2017, https://blog.nearpod.com/field-notes-week-3-unpacking-ideas-8-ways-to-use-nearpod-collaborate-today/, Accessed 20 April 2017.

Hand Gesture Icon made by Freepik. Flaticon, www.flaticon.com Accessed 20 April 2017

How it works. Nearpod Blog, https://nearpod.com/how-it-works, Accessed 20 April 2017.

Laptop Icon made by Prosymbols. Flaticon, www.flaticon.com Accessed 20 April 2017

Learner Competencies. Rocky View Schools, 2017, http://www.rockyview.ab.ca/21stC/learning/competencies, Accessed 20 April 2017.

Smartphone Icon made by Vectors Market. Flaticon, www.flaticon.com Accessed 20 April 2017

GCPS World Class Schools